July 6, 2022


Anything but ordinary

How COVID-19 has altered apartment design, construction

When the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the planet very last yr, Gary McLuskey, managing director of worldwide design and style at Charleston, South Carolina-dependent Greystar, sent a memo to his group with notes about how he imagined the world wide pandemic would improve apartment daily life.

Eighteen months later on, McLuskey seems proper about a great deal of points. His observe to his team at Greystar, an global company that is also the most significant apartment manager and developer in the U.S., pointed to additional people working from home into the foreseeable future and an boost in package and food stuff deliveries, among other items.

These COVID-19-spawned life style alterations existing a dilemma for apartment developers. Residences aren’t created right away. Normally, it requires a several many years to make a venture. So what could possibly be preferred currently may not be en vogue 3 many years from now when residents start off streaming into a new constructing. That forces multifamily builders to make a guess that could be highly-priced: Is it worthy of the danger to build flats and features that cater to alter introduced on by the pandemic?

Lots of in the apartment business say the answer to this concern is certainly. Some providers, like Austin, Texas-dependent student housing company American Campus Communities, are completely installing touchless soap dispensers, foot pulls and hand dryers to cut down touchpoints, and disinfectant wipe stands and touchless hand-sanitizing stations.

But several of the structure and enhancement changes are even even larger than that.

“It feels like soon after acquiring long gone through this year-and-a-half course of action [with COVID-19], factors could in no way go back again,” McLuskey informed Development Dive.

Here are four ways COVID-19 is leading to main alterations in what an condominium home could seem like in the potential:

Far more overall flexibility

AMLI Residential furnished house for its inhabitants to work at AMLI Addison.

Authorization granted by AMLI Residential


As COVID-19 spread in March 2020, places of work in towns across the earth shut. That forced condominium dwellers to carve out a room for telework.

Even following workplaces open up again up, developers assume that trend to continue. “That idea of becoming able to get the job done from house has turn out to be a lot far more pronounced,” said Joan Sizemore, the inside design and style director for Texas at Minneapolis-based mostly architectural business BKV Team.

To meet up with the desire for more place to operate, condominium developers are generating changes like incorporating designed-in desks. To obtain place for these workspaces, builders may slice into other parts of the apartment. For occasion, as a substitute of possessing a 6- or 7-foot closet, Sizemore thinks builders may perhaps take out a pair of ft and insert a 30-inch workstation. Or they could reduced portion of the countertop in the kitchen area and make it a operate region.

The require to carve out functional, useful places is also bringing again an previous area-saving favourite — Murphy beds. Now, suppliers, like Boston-based Ori, are giving beds that do additional than just pull down from the wall. They can transform into other makes use of.

“With Murphy beds, you can flip up the mattress and it provides you a desk,” McLuskey explained. “But you can also flip up the desk, which could then turn into an work out place.”

Shared perform spaces

1 Paseo in San Diego offers loads of place for operating.

Authorization granted by TCA Architects


Often, apartment dwellers want to depart even the nicest units when they are operating from property all day. 

Even ahead of the pandemic, apartment developers recognized that people needed to get out and work between their neighbors. With extra telework now, the level of popularity of those people spaces really should only enhance. 

Chicago-dependent condominium operator, manager and developer AMLI Household just lately purchased a property that has 12 personal places of work that are completely leased with a waitlist, according to McCormick. 

“Some of the workplaces have superb sights with plenty of pure sunlight though other people are on an inside corridor – even the 6-by-6 places of work without the need of views are in superior demand from customers as some residents are eager to have a focused workspace that is cost-free from interruptions,” said James McCormick, head of acquisitions and tendencies at AMLI. “The coworking areas and private offices are now a Top 3 amenity at the time you get previous the pool and health and fitness center. Some of the non-public places of work are becoming used as ‘Zoom Rooms.'”

Condominium operators have watched how residents utilized these coworking spaces during the pandemic and have made changes. For occasion, Greystar built-in a lot of a single-man or woman booths inside its workspaces as it pointed out the have to have for privateness in communal operating spaces for telephone calls or video clip conferences. 

Builders and architects are also developing a number of spots the place inhabitants can do their jobs.

“As a substitute of possessing just one co-working home that we used to the simply call the business middle, we are now providing these alternatives in multiple various spots, whether or not it is close to the pool location or in cabanas, the mailroom, booths or lounge areas,” said Aram Chahbazian, president and CEO of Irvine, California-based TCA Architects.

Having outdoor

At the Marina del Rey Flats, renters can love clean air even though functioning inside. 

Authorization granted by TCA Architects


When people are doing the job at property working all working day, at times they just will need some refreshing air. If they can obtain it without the need of leaving their device, even greater.

“I think outside room in the device, the balconies, is at a top quality,” McLuskey mentioned. 

But apartment builders and architects are not just constrained to accessing outdoor regions in individual models. Whether or not on a roof deck, a podium deck or the ground ground, Chahbazian claimed firms are also discovering techniques of opening amenity spaces to the outside by turning windows into sliding doorway devices. 

“So in its place of that 3-foot-large doorway or even a 4-foot-wide door, you get a 30-foot-broad opening,” Chahbazian stated. “You open up up the complete wall, actually, by sliding panels.”

Of training course, enjoying new air is even superior when citizens can provide their pets. During the first phases of the pandemic, a ton of inhabitants adopted animals to combat emotions of worry and isolation. Whilst condominium proprietors experienced started to progressively cater to pet proprietors right before the pandemic, McCormick thinks that the previous 18 months have accelerated the evolution. He mentioned these pet parks are “no for a longer period throwaway space with an Astroturf rectangle adjacent to the parking deck.”

“Some of them [pet parks] are positioned in the most scenic and woodsy regions of the residence and in some cases are located on rooftops with panoramic views and pet obstacle programs,” McCormick reported. 

Space for deliveries

People can choose up deliveries from deal lockers at AMLI Residential’s AMLI 808 in Chicago.

Authorization granted by AMLI Residential


Even ahead of the pandemic, condominium operators were making use of deal rooms and lockers to accommodate an raise in deliveries. But in 2020, working with this avalanche of packages turned an even bigger problem as residents started off buying from their telephones and computer systems instead of heading to retailers. AMLI has added package deal rooms to deal with bigger things and chilly storage for foodstuff deliveries.

“A property’s method for dealing with package deliveries is only as fantastic as it performs throughout the holiday getaway season’s tsunami of deliveries,”  McCormick claimed. “The quality of everyday living for the inhabitants is diminished if they can’t get their deal in timely and safe techniques – and it can show up in ratings and critiques. Bundle deliveries and resident pickup can be a massive distraction for an in any other case really occupied onsite employees that is focused on delivering good purchaser assistance on bigger-worth requests.”

Matt Shepard, vice president of design at Chicago-dependent building company Kinzie Authentic Estate Group, claims offer lockers are not even sufficient to keep deliveries for some of his apartment advancement and proprietor clients.

“We had to uncover a way to reconfigure some of the mechanical rooms and make that house a minor additional successful so that we could have an overflow [package] spot,” Shepard states.