Multifamily dwellings are becoming an increasingly popular choice as the primary residence for varying demographics. As a result, the need for multifunctional design in both new and old buildings is growing, especially as the home office trend and the desire for community-experienced living continues to grow too.
What is motivating people to rent full-service luxury apartments?
One alluring factor is access to amenities. In fact, “innovative, stand-out amenities are rising as a key differentiator — and a key component to the success of individual assets.” In order to stay competitive in the market, developers and building managers should provide state-of-the-art in-unit amenities and flexible communal spaces that meet renters’ daily needs.
A few examples of stand-out amenities are engaging workout rooms that offer modern equipment and classes that can bring people together. Health and wellness spaces such as rooftop gardens, greenhouses, work areas with an abundance of natural lighting, and great acoustics are also attractive options. Hands-on studio space for art and learning, maker spaces to accommodate DIY projects, space for live music and community events, and tech-savvy gaming areas add even more variety and appeal.
Architects and building developers may want to rethink the balance between dwelling space vs. communal amenity areas when developing multifamily housing. Research suggests that builders should emphasize individual units less and focus on cross-functional common environments more. Doing so encourages the community interaction renters want. In fact, “83% of consumers today are willing to trade in unit-square space for custom amenities and communal spaces that offer a built-in community.”
However, it is important for building owners not to assign rooms with labels for each activity but to carefully consider the versatility of these spaces and how they come together to create natural community engagement.
Multifunctional design and innovation
That’s not to say builders can overlook the value of private space, though, as the desire to live in a “work-live-play” community is becoming the preference for the majority of adults in the U.S., according to Hendy, the design and architecture firm. That’s why it’s essential to incorporate multifunctional design within each residence, especially as the need for comfortable, flexible home workspace increases.
The challenge presented by the work from home trend, in particular, is for designers and builders to replicate the workspace within a residential context. To better understand how to meet these challenges, Gensler established a framework presenting four work modes that lead to high employee engagement: focus; collaborate; learn, and socialize. Designers and developers should consider each of these four work modes when designing spaces both inside and outside residential units to create versatile spaces that inspire and support productivity.
In addition to providing high-functionality areas, innovative suggestions for doing so within the unit could include a large walk-in closet with a foldable desk or a room with transformable furniture that can double as a home office or a guest bedroom. The key to successfully catering to every tenant’s needs is to create a variety of purpose-built and multi-purpose areas to optimize the space for renters creatively.
Looking to join the community?
Developers and investors are recognizing the increased demand for high-functionality rental properties and are focused on creating flexible and community-oriented multifamily spaces. By offering an all-in-one work-live-play environment, they are appealing to a broader audience who increasingly see the advantages of and want to enjoy such a lifestyle.
If you’re an investor looking to get involved in a community-focused and high-appeal development project, check out some of our ongoing multifamily developments and reach out to explore similar opportunities we have coming soon.
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 (Rice, CBRE+Streetsense, 2019)
 (Hickok Cole, 2020)
 (Hyde, Hendy, 2019)
 (Stiedl and Howell, Gensler, 2020)