Reimagining Spaces: Concepts for Transforming Multifamily Living

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Before the pandemic, incorporation of amenity spaces and providing a variety of unit types were common considerations in urban multi-family buildings. Among the many economic impacts of today's pandemic, the residential sector will experience long term shifts in how its spaces are used and examined.

According to Preservation Positive, a report released by the LA Conservancy in 2020, approximately 60% of Angelenos rent while the city remains in the middle of an ongoing housing crisis. Rather than build itself out of this crisis, where the average cost to produce one new unit of subsidized affordable housing is at least $400,000, we should seek to find a more cost-effective, creative, and sustainable approach. Through enhancing the city's residential stock in existing buildings, we can help fill the gap toward achieving the City's housing goals.

At Omgivning, we believe that our projects exist on a “macro to micro” continuum, a spectrum that incorporates all scales of impact, from policy and large-scale site planning issues down to the finished details of an interior space. To understand the future of residential spaces, we give significant consideration to the urban and human scales together in our housing projects by developing four concepts that highlight additional opportunities to create interconnected communities and adaptable living arrangements. Our vision incorporates further examination of these spaces within residential buildings along with recommendations for their application to existing buildings.

Concept 1: Humanizing the Urban Experience
Densification in cities should continue, but not at the expense of residents’ quality of life. Today’s design teams must find ways to ensure greater connections to the outdoors, expand options for use, and restore affordability to urban living. How can we provide humanizing features for existing urban apartment buildings that contribute to a greener, more porous city?

Concept 2: Expanding Unit Types
As family living continues to evolve beyond the nuclear family structure, we must accommodate the expansion of scenarios in which people inhabit their units. Our design responses must integrate diversity and flexibility into our spaces for the inhabitants' various needs. How can we augment living scenarios to meet the needs of the family and individual for privacy, personalization, and family support?

Concept 3: Interconnectivity of Common Spaces
Working from home during a pandemic means being in one space for much more time than previously expected, in turn, affecting our wellness. There are profound opportunities to emphasize a connection to nature, expand private work options in communal environments, and introduce on-site commerce. While richly programmed amenity spaces are now practically a given for urban multi-family buildings, how should these spaces enter their next phase to positively impact our socialization and wellbeing?

Concept 4: Transforming Interiors
The need for versatility in our spaces has never been more apparent in contemporary life. Components must be designed to be "both/and" solutions to meet multiple needs, as opposed to "either/or" that only allow for a single use. How can the principles of human-centered design create new and impactful solutions that allow for this adaptability and flexibility?

Read the details of the concepts in our full report Reimagining Spaces: Multifamily Design

Amid the upheaval from today's pandemic, we see one clear implication for our industry: space design is entering a whole new era, and there's no going back. Since Early 2020, Omgivning has been exploring the potential of this design evolution creating Reimagining Spaces, a post-pandemic design report reimagining the Workplace, Commercial, and Multifamily spaces.

Download parts one and two of this three-part series
Reimagining Spaces: Urban Reprogramming Commercial Design

Reimagining Spaces: Workplace Design

Design, Architecture