Location Is Everything for Multifamily Design


Location is paramount for the home-building process. Home owners are increasingly interested in not only where a prospective home may be located, but its proximity to other community amenities, such as entertainment, walking paths, shopping and more.

Location can also play an important part in the design of a home — especially the creative ways in which multifamily buildings can take advantage of their locality. Recent award-winning designers have taken a number of different approaches, from crafting brand-new buildings that look like they've been part of the community for years to taking advantage of surrounding panoramas to incorporating elements of the local landscape into the buildings' design.

These awe-inspiring examples highlight the various options developers have to create a building that welcomes, inspires and wows.

Impressive Views

A breathtaking view can be a key benefit for prospective residents to help connect them with the outdoors, especially in the wake of stay-at-home provisions. For example, residents at Laurel Cherry Creek — a 2019 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Award finalist for Best Condominium Community — are able to enjoy awe-inspiring views of Denver's skyline and/or Colorado's mountain range from the comfort of their home.

Not all views have to be from individual units, either. Washington, D.C. metro-based The Haven at National Harbor — a 2019 Best in American Living Award (BALA) winner — maximized its urban waterfront location with ample outdoor spaces, including a resort-style pool, outdoor lounge seating with lawn games and courtyards, for all residents to enjoy. Similarly, Seazen at Rocky Point — a 2019 BALA winner and Pillars finalist — took advantage of its proximity to Tampa Bay with four waterfront courtyards, wrap-around balconies, a 25,000-square-foot boardwalk and a 33-slip marina.

Inspirational Landscape

Sometimes the location is so impressive that the designers can't help but incorporate local elements into a property's design as a nod to the locale. 2019 Pillars and BALA winner Anaha — which means "reflection of light" in Hawaiian — mimicked the nearby waves by featuring a high-performance glass curtain wall to create an undulating form that shimmers in the sun.

The Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay — a 2020 Best of 55+ Housing Award winner — took its cues less from the land itself and more from local history. Residents of this community can experience the influences of the Sarasota School of Architecture, a prominent post-war modern style of the area.

Designed to Fit

A flashy, modern design can attract a lot of attention, but sometimes, something that fits in with the existing community is even more appealing. As the conversation about "missing middle" housing continues to take hold, these types of designs will likely become even more important. Strong examples include:

  • The Copley at Crown, a 2019 BALA winner that opted for texture through brick and mortar to appeal to the area's industrial aesthetic;
  • Town Trelago, a 2019 BALA winner and Pillars finalist that features Spanish Revival architecture to complement its Florida location while also embracing Florida's tropical climate and lush landscape with ample outdoor spaces; and
  • Anthology, a 2019 BALA winner and Pillars winner that preserved the lush public parklands and wetlands of its Washington-based location with Scandinavian-styled buildings crafted from traditional building materials to honor the area's agricultural roots.

Have you developed an inspirational project that embodies these and other top design trends? Showcase your work by submitting an entry to these prestigious NAHB awards programs:

Applications are now open and will close Aug. 31. Apply to today at awards.nahb.org for a chance to highlight your work.

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