Considerations for Multi-Family Architecture
Multi-family units are an incredibly popular housing option for single people as well as families in Nashville. They are scalable so the occupant can usually find an appropriate amount of space for their living and economic situation.
Multi-family architecture has many specific traits that require special attention in the architecture design phase. But before we get into that, let’s discuss multi-family properties in more detail.
Examples of Multi-Family Architecture
There are a wide variety of multi-family properties. By definition, it refers to a building that includes multiple housing units that are separated from each other. A duplex is on the smaller end of the spectrum of this. Condominiums and apartment complexes are on the larger side.
The cohabitating units can either be in a row or stacked on top of each other. It is very common for larger communities like apartment complexes to include common areas for the inhabitants to share, while also providing each tenant their own private space.
Let’s look a little deeper into the considerations to keep in mind when designing multi-family architecture here in Nashville, TN.
Driving around Nashville will show you many single-family homes without a driveway. While this can at times be inconvenient, it’s not a deal-breaker for many home buyers. We can usually find street parking in these instances. However, this is not a realistic scenario for an apartment complex or condo building that has a large number of units.
The ability to find parking within a reasonable distance of the building is essential. Tenants aren’t going to want to walk blocks every day to get to their home. The initial site planning needs to take this into account.
As we said earlier, many of these larger complexes will provide community spaces for the tenants. An shared outdoor space can be a great asset to everyone in the building. It’s an opportunity for socialization. It also provides a safe area in which you can feel the sun on your skin and the wind on your face.
Older complexes didn’t take this into account and resulted in dark buildings. Newer complexes are factoring this into their overall design because it is a huge draw to new tenants. A beautiful unit is one thing, but access to shared outdoor space is greatly appreciated.
Private Outdoor Access
Many new complexes are taking this a step further to provide private outdoor access to their tenants as well. A patio, porch, or balcony that belongs strictly to the tenant and is inaccessible by others gives them a space they can call their own. This provides the ability to relax while feeling the restorative effects of sitting in the outdoors.
Shared outdoor areas provide their own set of benefits. Private areas allow a resident the ability to personalize the area so it provides exactly what they are looking for from an outdoor space.
Tailor the Structure to the Site
Multi-family architecture needs to take the physical traits of the site into account. Not every location will be the same. Larger complexes can be more akin to small communities. Collections of buildings joined by parking areas and access roads need to be specialized in accordance with the physical traits of the site.
This provides a unique experience for the visitors and residents. It also doesn’t mean you are forcing a design into an area that doesn’t support it. Multi-family architecture needs to fit into the area to make the design feel natural for residents.
Align it With Nearby Buildings
Incorporating multi-family architecture into an existing neighborhood needs to be done with care. You don’t want the structure to become an eyesore and stand out on the street. Keep the general size of the building within reason—align the height with surrounding buildings as much as possible.
Think about the street level aesthetics. Try to make the entrance to the complex similar in style to other entrances on the street. Are there comparable local buildings? Try to make your design fit with theirs while avoiding making it the same.
Use Building Materials to Complement the Surrounding Area
The general facade of your multi-family complex is going to be the first thing most people will notice about it. Consider the colors prevalent throughout the neighborhood. This includes the type of building materials used by surrounding buildings. The incorporation of as many recycled materials as possible is always a plus when constructing new complexes.
The details of multi-family architecture are where a complex can really set itself apart. Considerations such as including multiple windows, raising the first level slightly off ground-level to afford added privacy to these units, and enhancing the exterior character with railings, stairs, and porches will make a huge difference.
These properties need to comfortably support a large number of people. Make sure the infrastructure to do so is there, without sacrificing aesthetic considerations. People like to be proud to point out where they live.