With global pandemics such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the recent novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), awareness of disease prevention and control is increasing. Concern over the spread of viruses within residential buildings, especially multi-unit apartment and condominium buildings, is growing. The design of residential buildings in China is often focused on comfort, aesthetics, appearance, and lifestyle. This is in contrast to Western countries, where physical and mental health considerations are integrated with the design of residential buildings. Many recent reports and investigations have focused on infection and cross-infection of diseases and viruses occurring in residential buildings, especially in countries with high population density such as China. Due to COVID-19’s rapid community spread almost everywhere on the globe, including Asia, North American, the Middle East, and Europe, many local governments have issued lockdown and curfew restrictions to limit people from traveling or even leaving their residence for anything but essential purposes. Lockdown restrictions have been proven effective as 78% to 85% of COVID-19 infections have occurred within families instead of in the community. Thus, lockdown restrictions lower the chances of the virus being transmitted outside of a family. However, self-isolation can be difficult when living with other family members, and there is a high risk of household transmission. Accordingly, this thesis makes recommendations to minimize the risk of household transmission.

This thesis briefly discusses how diseases and viruses can spread in buildings and what steps can be taken to lower the risk of disease transmission in residential units. The thesis begins by outlining research on residential building floor plans in main cities in China, namely Beijing. It then discusses how these designs are insufficient for the prevention and control of disease transmission. Lastly, the thesis suggests alternative solutions not only to prevent disease transmission but also to improve residents’ daily hygiene regimens. A novel concept for floor plans can help reduce disease transmission and promote a healthy living environment.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Apartment houses--China--Design; Condominiums--China--Design; COVID-19 (Disease)--Social aspects; COVID-19 (Disease)--Transmission--Prevention; Architecture--Health aspects

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Architecture (M.Arch.)

Department, Program, or Center

Architecture (GIS)


Nana-Yaw Andoh

Advisor/Committee Member

Dennis A. Andrejko


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes