Staying Creative – Design Lab, continued
DESIGN BRIEF | July 2020
Staying Creative – Design Lab, continued …
D.C. has moved into Phase Two of re-opening the city, and it has officially been over three months since MV+A started working remotely. As we continue to work from home, our virtual in-house Design Lab has proven to be a great addition to our creative thinking and team building processes over video chat. In last month’s Design Brief introducing Design Lab, MV+A’s discussion focused on the re-imagination of the mid-rise “residential donut”. We see package delivery systems, building circulation, amenities, and unit design as being impacted as COVID-19 forces a possible evolution in apartment living. Below are a few discussion points that developers, architects, and designers may consider in unit and building design.
This pandemic has forced employers to adopt widespread “work from home” strategies – blurring the line between our decompression spaces and focused attention. We believe this will have a lasting impact on the way we relate to our living spaces. As a result, it is essential that unit designs make full use of its available volume, understanding that multiple occupants may be sharing the apartment for individual work zones. Creating cross-functionality, adding usable built-ins, or constructing niches in found spaces can give residents the flexibility to tailor their home to meet their work and relaxation needs. For example, a simple peninsula kitchen counter doubling as a work space, a Murphy bed allowing for more convertibility and cross-functionality, or even a spacious walk-in closet that can be reconfigured allowing for a private office space with the use of built-in components.
Just as unit design could evolve to conscientiously consider work space, so could amenities evolve to consider social distancing and lifestyle changes. We may be saying good-bye to the singular, large common space shared by all of the building’s occupants and instead welcome a more evenly dispersed amenity program throughout the building. The growing popularity of interactive, web-based work outs might result in smaller, but more dispersed fitness rooms, allowing for much smaller groups to exercise while still allowing a mental separation from their living unit. We also foresee the popularity of usable space on rooftops and courtyards will only grow in importance as this allows for more social distancing opportunities while maintaining a connection to nature. The benefit of small gardens, outdoor open spaces, or the enjoyment of a communal landscape will become key elements for individuals and families in helping maintain mental health while working from home.
While we continue to focus our efforts to stay at the forefront of mixed-use residential planning for post-COVID-19, we have expanded our discussions to include housing typologies beyond the more dense mid and high-rise buildings in our portfolio. MV+A’s Design Lab will next examine “Missing Middle Housing”. Stay tuned for a coming Design Brief that examines what is “Missing Middle Housing”, why it has occurred, and how planning can be changed to include this needed type of housing.