Development and Design: Boutique Housing

usually grouped together and placed in the front of the buildings similar to a hotel.These are being treated more as public spaces than shared tenant spaces. The design of the connected spaces should be cohesive and unified. That is not to say that the finishes are all the same—or of the same level—but they do […]

usually grouped together and placed in the front of the buildings similar to a hotel.These are being treated more as public spaces than shared tenant spaces. The design of the connected spaces should be cohesive and unified. That is not to say that the finishes are all the same—or of the same level—but they do have a relationship to each other. For example, an aerobics room connected off of the main two-story lobby does not require the same finishes as the lobby, but it may have a paint or wall detail that reflects something seen in the lobby.The spatial connectivity of the shared public spaces also promotes interaction between the tenants much more than in a typical residential condo. Having the public spaces gathered in the front or ground floor also allows pedestrians a view of the lifestyle the building offers. This public interaction can help during initial sales or leasing, and it continues to help through the life of the building. You could say that good design helps sell units. If the desired residents are to be young urban professionals, large lounges are usually provided to facilitate parties and networking opportunities. This would include large prep kitchens; built-in bars; integrated and sophisticated AV systems such as Wi-Fi or plasma screens; light, movable furniture for easy re-configuration; and larger control of the lighting. These buildings can often have business tech centers, game rooms, and a variety of exercise rooms.If the building is targeted for empty nesters, the lounge is usually designed less for parties but more for smaller gatherings and every day use—a communal living room. Catering hutches are usually provided rather than built-in bars. These buildings similarly have exercise rooms, but often the size and arrangements may differ. Libraries are often provided for book share programs, common Internet access, and a place for reading groups to meet. The concept for empty nesters is that the public rooms are an extension of the home, while for young urban professionals these are an extension of the city.(Eric Inman, R.A., is an associate at Hickok Cole Architects in Washington, D.C. To comment on this article, please email [email protected])

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