September 2020 \ BUILDING DIALOGUE \ 31 ELEMENTS Multifamily Design By focusingon lifestyle factors that appeal to a diverse range of people, developers can create a richer experience for residents. Ultimately, this will lead to a more vibrant, marketable com- munity with greater long-term viability. • Redefining community amenities. The initial reaction to the pandemic has been to de-em- phasize communal spaces. This is a mistake for several reasons. Months of little external con- tact have actually reinforced for many how important human contact is. Humans are wired for socialization. These amenity spaces also serve as an exten- sion of residents’ living space, providing experiences they simply wouldn’t get if we eliminated the space in favor of slightly larger units. So, while physical distancing in shared spaces may become a temporary norm, communal spaces that were popular prepandemic will retain their value. What we anticipate changing is the mix of amenities. We could see a shift toward designing more self-con- tained communities with the kinds of services residents prized during quarantine: access to healthy food, health/ wellness and space to work. So, we might see an increase in not just the traditional ground-level coffee shops or retail, but also small community grocery stores or access to a communitywide produce co-op. We may even see an increase in health care-related amenities. The model existed prepandemic, with ultra- high-end communities providing access to on-call physi- cians, but we’re also seeing more traditional multifamily developers moving into the space with resident perks like wellness concierges and nutritional consultants on staff. • Greater focus on measurable wellness. Along that same vein, it will become even more important for de- velopers and designers alike think about supporting res- ident health and wellness at a community level. Wellness previously was a nice-to-have. Now, the builder community is increasingly recognizing that the design of the places we live is a key tool in preserving mental and physical health – and marketing that level of thoughtfulness to potential residents. At a design level, we anticipate an increased focus on spaces that support mental health as much as physical. At Broadstone Low- ry, in addition to the typical fitness center, we designed wellness areas with meditation pods, a serene yoga stu- dio and a juice bar, for example. We’ll also likely see a greater push for certification pro- grams like Fitwel or the WELL Building Standard, which was just piloted at Lakehouse in Denver. These programs take into consideration everything from indoor air qual- ity to access to outdoor spaces to the food that residents have access to. Properties that already have taken steps in the direction of measurable, evidence-based wellness will be at a distinct advantage. • Floor plan changes in a post-COVID world. When it comes to the units themselves, we anticipate a growing desire for flex space. Over the last decade, the industry trended toward smaller units and larger, highly ame- nitized communal spaces. Now, we anticipate the mass work-from-home experiment, combined with the eco- nomic insecurity wrought by the virus, will spur some changes in floor plan design. This may result in larger units to accommodate co-liv- ing – adult children moving in with parents or multiple adult roommates sharing the cost of an apartment. These shifts in lifestyle will necessitate additional flex spac- es – for example, to accommodate multiple roommates working from home or a parent and a child working/ distance-learning. In any scenario, we’ll continue to see technology play an increasingly important role in mul- tifamily community design with ultra-fast internet be- coming a minimum requirement. Given that we are still in the midst of this pandemic, the impact on design largely remains to be seen. What is already clear, however, are the many ways that we, as a design and building community, can work together to ensure multifamily living down the road is better for people and better for our communities. \\ TRIO At Broadstone Lowry, the design prioritizes a healthy lifestyle with amenities ranging from meditation pods and a private yoga studio to a state-of-the-art fitness center.