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Co-living spaces, wellness-minded designs among innovations in multifamily housing

Multifamily Housing

Co-living spaces, wellness-minded designs among innovations in multifamily housing

BD+C surveyed the nation's largest multifamily sector design and construction firms—the Giants 400about their top innovations in multifamily work. Here are six innovations mentioned.


By BD+C Staff | October 5, 2022
Co-living spaces, wellness-minded designs among top innovations in multifamily housing

Clayco and FitzGerald Associates recently completed the 20-story, 330-unit X Phoenix development, a mixed-use residential high-rise in downtown Phoenix that contains, among other rental units, dedicated space for co-living. Photo courtesy Clayco

The booming multifamily sector shows no signs of a significant slowdown heading into 2023. Here is a round up of Giants 400 firms that are driving innovation in this sector:

Clayco and architecture firm FitzGerald completed the 20-story, 330-unit X Phoenix development, a mixed-use residential high-rise in downtown Phoenix that contains, among other rental units, dedicated space for co-living. This shared apartment model is designed to cater to working professionals seeking convenience, community, and modern shared amenity space at more attainable prices in expensive rental markets. The development also includes an indoor bike mezzanine, 105,500-gallon pool, five-story parking garage, and 50,000 sf of shell space that will include a commercial restaurant.

Dahlin Group developed a tiny home prototype, Mod Hive, to help address the affordable housing shortage in Salt Lake City. The prototype works as a small cluster on one lot or a small, planned development consisting of multiple lots. The concept involves an inward-looking site plan that creates a tiny village with space for a community garden, outdoor gathering space, and barbecue/firepit. It replicates the feel of a traditional neighborhood of two-story, single-family detached homes by employing a lower-density configuration at the front of the lot, with higher densities at the rear.

Dahlin Group Mod Hive prototype
The MOD HIVE prototype exemplifies flexible design by maximizing adaptability to a variety of sites and contexts to create cost-efficient tiny home villages that never sacrifice a sense of community, whether it is a small cluster on one lot or a small, planned development consisting of multiple lots. Rendering Dahlin Group

For another tiny house project, Dahlin collaborated with HomeAid Northern California and Firm Foundation Community Housing to design cost-effective tiny home villages sited on church properties, targeted at individuals facing homelessness. This partnership completed its pilot project in February 2020 with additional projects under development in 2021. In the San Francisco Bay Area, affordable multifamily developers expect to spend $700,000 to $1 million per single one-bedroom unit; the pilot village came in at $150,000-$170,000 per unit, with an entitlement process of just 12-18 months.

Dattner Architects had four Passive House projects progress through construction stages in 2021, with Santaella Gardens completed in late 2021 and receiving Passive House Certification in early 2022. These projects provide replicable models for Passive House applications to multifamily affordable housing. Santaella Gardens provides much needed workforce and affordable housing in the Bronx. Its super-insulated, airtight building envelope includes thermally broken, high-performance windows and advanced air sealing details to eliminate condensation and air exfiltration. Rooftop solar photovoltaic panels generate onsite renewable energy, with a capacity of 162.7 kW. The building has a projected energy use intensity of 20.40 kBTU/sqft/yr.

The Hall Arts Residences in the Dallas Arts District joins HKS’s growing portfolio of projects focused on creating superior spaces for the health and well-being of building occupants. The project is the first residential project in Texas to register for WELL Multifamily Certification.

Morrison Hershfield contributed to the launch of the Embodied Carbon Pathfinder, a free app for quickly estimating cradle-to-grave whole-building life cycle assessment results for multifamily buildings. The tool uses thousands of data points that allow users to find “pathways” through design choices to land on a target embodied carbon result. The project is a collaboration with OPEN Technologies and the Athena Institute.

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