How COVID-19 has altered apartment design, construction

When the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the world past calendar year, Gary McLuskey, running director of world-wide structure at Charleston, South Carolina-primarily based Greystar, sent a memo to his group with notes about how he believed the worldwide pandemic would modify apartment daily life.

Eighteen months later, McLuskey appears to be like correct about a good deal of points. His observe to his team at Greystar, an intercontinental organization that is also the premier apartment manager and developer in the U.S., pointed to much more people working from residence into the long term and an enhance in deal and food items deliveries, among other things.

These COVID-19-spawned lifestyle variations current a dilemma for apartment builders. Residences aren’t made right away. Ordinarily, it normally takes a couple of decades to establish a challenge. So what could possibly be well-known nowadays may well not be en vogue three years from now when residents start out streaming into a new creating. That forces multifamily developers to make a guess that could be costly: Is it truly worth the threat to make apartments and facilities that cater to change introduced on by the pandemic?

Quite a few in the condominium sector say the solution to this query is of course. Some companies, like Austin, Texas-primarily based scholar housing agency American Campus Communities, are permanently setting up touchless cleaning soap dispensers, foot pulls and hand dryers to minimize touchpoints, and disinfectant wipe stands and touchless hand-sanitizing stations.

But numerous of the style and design and progress adjustments are even even larger than that.

“It feels like soon after owning gone via this yr-and-a-half approach [with COVID-19], things may well never ever go back,” McLuskey informed Design Dive.

Here are four methods COVID-19 is triggering key adjustments in what an apartment house may look like in the upcoming:

More versatility

AMLI Residential presented room for its people to function at AMLI Addison.

Permission granted by AMLI Household


As COVID-19 spread in March 2020, offices in metropolitan areas throughout the planet shut. That pressured apartment dwellers to carve out a space for telework.

Even soon after workplaces open up back again up, developers count on that craze to carry on. “That plan of being equipped to perform from dwelling has turn into a great deal much more pronounced,” said Joan Sizemore, the inside structure director for Texas at Minneapolis-dependent architectural company BKV Group.

To meet the need for much more room to work, condominium builders are building changes like introducing crafted-in desks. To discover area for these workspaces, developers may perhaps slice into other places of the condominium. For occasion, as an alternative of possessing a 6- or 7-foot closet, Sizemore thinks developers might take out a couple of toes and insert a 30-inch workstation. Or they could lower section of the countertop in the kitchen and make it a do the job region.

The need to have to carve out adaptable, purposeful areas is also bringing back an previous place-saving favourite — Murphy beds. Now, suppliers, like Boston-dependent Ori, are providing beds that do extra than just pull down from the wall. They can change into other employs.

“With Murphy beds, you can flip up the mattress and it gives you a desk,” McLuskey stated. “But you can also flip up the desk, which could then change into an exercising location.”

Shared do the job areas

A person Paseo in San Diego presents a lot of place for doing work.

Authorization granted by TCA Architects


From time to time, apartment dwellers want to leave even the nicest models when they’re doing the job from residence all day. 

Even right before the pandemic, apartment builders identified that inhabitants wanted to get out and operate among their neighbors. With additional telework now, the popularity of all those spaces should really only maximize. 

Chicago-centered apartment proprietor, manager and developer AMLI Household recently bought a property that has 12 personal workplaces that are thoroughly leased with a waitlist, in accordance to McCormick. 

“Some of the offices have fantastic views with tons of purely natural sunlight while other individuals are on an inside corridor – even the 6-by-6 places of work without the need of views are in high desire as some inhabitants are keen to have a dedicated workspace that is absolutely free from distractions,” said James McCormick, head of acquisitions and tendencies at AMLI. “The coworking spaces and personal places of work are now a Top rated 3 amenity after you get past the pool and health club. Some of the private places of work are currently being utilized as ‘Zoom Rooms.'”

Apartment operators have viewed how residents used these coworking spaces all through the pandemic and have designed changes. For instance, Greystar built-in a good deal of one-person booths inside of its workspaces as it famous the need to have for privateness in communal doing the job areas for mobile phone calls or online video conferences. 

Builders and architects are also creating multiple areas where inhabitants can do their employment.

“Alternatively of acquiring just one co-doing work room that we employed to the get in touch with the company center, we are now offering all those opportunities in numerous distinct destinations, no matter whether it is about the pool place or in cabanas, the mailroom, booths or lounge spaces,” said Aram Chahbazian, president and CEO of Irvine, California-centered TCA Architects.

Acquiring outdoor

At the Marina del Rey Apartments, renters can delight in contemporary air even though functioning inside. 

Authorization granted by TCA Architects


When citizens are doing work at residence operating all working day, often they just need to have some fresh air. If they can access it with out leaving their unit, even superior.

“I imagine outside place in the device, the balconies, is at a top quality,” McLuskey reported. 

But apartment builders and architects are not just constrained to accessing outdoor places in specific models. No matter if on a roof deck, a podium deck or the floor floor, Chahbazian reported organizations are also discovering approaches of opening amenity spaces to the outside by turning home windows into sliding doorway techniques. 

“So as an alternative of that 3-foot-huge doorway or even a 4-foot-large door, you get a 30-foot-vast opening,” Chahbazian mentioned. “You open up up the full wall, pretty much, by sliding panels.”

Of study course, having fun with new air is even far better when citizens can bring their animals. During the preliminary phases of the pandemic, a lot of citizens adopted animals to battle inner thoughts of stress and isolation. When condominium house owners had begun to progressively cater to pet homeowners just before the pandemic, McCormick thinks that the previous 18 months have accelerated the evolution. He stated these pet parks are “no lengthier throwaway area with an Astroturf rectangle adjacent to the parking deck.”

“Some of them [pet parks] are positioned in the most scenic and woodsy places of the home and in some circumstances are located on rooftops with panoramic views and pet obstacle courses,” McCormick stated. 

Space for deliveries

People can select up deliveries from offer lockers at AMLI Residential’s AMLI 808 in Chicago.

Authorization granted by AMLI Residential


Even prior to the pandemic, condominium operators were utilizing package rooms and lockers to accommodate an enhance in deliveries. But in 2020, working with this avalanche of packages turned an even even larger obstacle as inhabitants commenced ordering from their telephones and computers as a substitute of likely to suppliers. AMLI has included package deal rooms to deal with bigger goods and chilly storage for food stuff deliveries.

“A property’s method for handling package deal deliveries is only as great as it performs during the holiday season’s tsunami of deliveries,”  McCormick stated. “The top quality of daily life for the people is diminished if they cannot get their deal in timely and safe methods – and it can show up in rankings and evaluations. Package deliveries and resident pickup can be a huge distraction for an or else quite busy onsite workers that is targeted on giving wonderful buyer services on bigger-benefit requests.”

Matt Shepard, vice president of design at Chicago-centered development agency Kinzie Authentic Estate Group, claims package deal lockers are not even ample to keep deliveries for some of his apartment progress and operator clientele.

“We had to discover a way to reconfigure some of the mechanical rooms and make that space a little more economical so that we could have an overflow [package] region,” Shepard states.