Everyone is looking for a better balance between the professional and the personal these days, and no matter what you call it–work-life balance, work-life integration, work-life blend–today's workplaces and homes alike need to cater to this new live-work paradigm. This desire for equilibrium is becoming more pronounced in multifamily and mixed-use communities, in particular. While a pool remains an attractive feature, residents are also looking for a wider range of wellness offerings, which requires architects and designers to think beyond the pool when considering amenities for these types of properties.
Following are five amenities that designers can incorporate into their next multifamily or mixed-use projects to support active lifestyles while serving as market differentiators.
Gyms have long been a staple for apartments and condos. But go beyond the typical bike-treadmill-elliptical combo by paying attention to today’s fitness trends. For example, streaming classes have leaped by bounds in recent years, necessitating more technology in workout areas. But even a small addition of kettle bells is a welcomed choice.
“Fitness is now being viewed more holistically from a wellness perspective,” observed Kelly Naylor, interior design practice leader and senior partner at BKV. “Properties are not only including large class spaces but bringing in fitness programming. More is also being done with saunas, steam rooms and even cold plunge tubs. Some properties also have outdoor gyms, like the kind used in public parks.”
Landscaping is another opportunity to promote movement. Even a small complex could add a dedicated walking path with distance markers for loops. Green space can also be set aside for yoga, meditation or tai chi.
2) Bike Service
Bike commuting can be a way of life. Residents who depend on biking for transportation and recreation alike need storage and service options. These can be as simple as a secured shed and an outdoor repair station. Or go a step beyond with a dedicated bike facility.
“An indoor bike lounge can create connection among cycling enthusiasts. It gives them a space to clean, maintain and store their equipment,” Naylor noted.
Remote work can be a challenge for renters. From square footage and technology limitations to the distraction of home comforts, not everyone works best from a kitchen table or small desk. A coworking space is a smart way to appeal to not only students and young professionals but anyone with an internet-dependent job.
“Look to the design of student housing—dorm lounges and computer labs are really a form of coworking,” stressed Naylor. “Fold these spaces into your club room area, which allows them to transition to social programming in the off-hours. Have a variety of furniture for focus work, video calls and group meetings.”
4) Pet Perks
Pet-friendly rentals remain a significant competitive edge. An on-site dog park, washing stations and designated waste bins will draw animal lovers. Some high-rise complexes even offer a “wooftop” with a real lawn. Naylor is also seeing indoor dog runs, grooming stations and play lounges similar to doggy daycares.
5) Outdoor Living Rooms
Beyond exercise, there are numerous benefits to enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Who doesn’t enjoy a boost in mental health and productivity as well as the opportunity to form connections with others? The great outdoors benefits every walk of life.
For Loft Six Four, there’s no better place to reclaim space than the roof. Often littered with mechanical detritus and nothing else, the roof offers thousands of square feet for potential amenities. An outdoor living room that’s only accessible by tenants is also an attractive security measure.
“Rethinking the roof is becoming more important in urban environments, especially as cities become more dense and outdoor space becomes more scarce. People want to have outdoor experiences,” said Brandon Reed, Loft Six Four’s chief visionary officer.
The Loft Six Four team employs a palette of features that are customizable for each community. It’s a sampler of everything people love about a residential backyard—seating for relaxation, mood lighting, lush landscaping and built-in firepits and grills.
“The goal is to create a compelling set of experiences that are attractive to all resident demographics,” Reed emphasized. “This is a people-drive setting that allows residents to meet their neighbors or commune with family and friends.”
If the roof isn’t an option, existing landscaping can be transformed into a park-like setting. Adding shading over a patio or pool deck is a sensible option. A strong Wi-Fi connection and available outlets are appreciated by anyone working outdoors. If your complex already has ponds, include amphitheater-style seating or picnic tables.
Renters in luxury units and affordable housing alike enjoy the opportunity to balance career, family, leisure and health. None of these amenities have to capsize your construction or capital projects budget. Even one distinct feature can say to residents “welcome home.”