Site Amenities

4 min read

In this ever-changing age of social media, technology, and frugality, the million-dollar question in the world of multi-family housing is: “What do people want today?”

Studies show that young professionals and families who are looking to rent, desire urban-like locations with high-value amenities. Plain old pool patios, business centers, and work-out rooms are amenities of the past. Today’s era of tenants want a lifestyle experience that matches their diverse personal interests as it relates to health, fitness, work, and social interaction.

For years, PEA has offered expert support in crafting intuitive designs that have continually and successfully met the wants and needs of the individual, as well as the financial goals of the owner or developer. This article will focus on outdoor communal living spaces and how they are evolving to compensate for the trending reduction of apartment square footage. These outdoor spaces are now considered an extension of the tenants’ personal living space. As a result, a more diverse selection of uniquely designed spaces is required.

Here is a list of those evolving spaces our team can assist with:

Detroit City Apartments pool.

Resort-Style Pool Terrace

Resort-style pool terraces can contain so much more than the boring rectangular pool with vinyl strap loungers. Today, pool terraces include comfortable seating with wood chaise lounge chairs and cushions, colorful metal sling loungers and daybeds also containing cushions and pillows.

Cabanas and built daybeds are also being added to provide for a high-end, shaded personal experience. Colorful umbrellas, planters and end tables can also be used for additional accent and visual interest. Pools are now more exciting and have more interactive features such as waterfalls, sun shelves, water jets, infinity (negative) edges, and zero entry.

Oakcliff apartments roof terrace.

Outdoor Kitchen and Bar

Outdoor kitchen and bars are so much more than the old park grill and a picnic table. In these social gathering areas, tenants can prepare food, eat, or enjoy a few spirits with their neighbors. These are typically steel-framed-built structures with stone or brick cladding, topped with durable granite countertops. They are equipped with gas-service stainless steel grill units, outdoor refrigerators, ice makers, and sinks with water service. Tenants can enjoy their time in comfortable tables and chairs, bistro units, or on barstools.

Pool house at Oakcliff apartments.

Outdoor Living Room

Outside of a bench or patio swing, outdoor living rooms weren’t very prominent 30 years ago. Today these outdoor rooms consist of cozy club chair seating, made of wood, wicker, or metal that are typically topped with colorful cushions and pillows for accent. Usable coffee, end, or console tables along with attractive accent lighting provides for the additional feel of an indoor living room. The final element which helps create a warm, relaxed, and comfortable setting is a stone or brick-clad fireplace or fire feature.

Naturalized Fire Feature

Naturalized Fire Feature

Council rings and fire pits have been around forever. However, like the outdoor living rooms, these amenities have gone through a revival to gain a refreshed look and feel. These naturalized casual spaces now contain gas service open-air fire pits and more comfortable, trendy Adirondack end tables and chairs.

Outdoor workspace terrace.

Cyber Café and Work Area

Cyber cafes are an excellent replacement for the old business center. They are multi-use spaces that consist of high-top tables and chairs, conference tables, and smaller tables and chairs. Users can have a meeting or quietly sit down with their laptop, enjoy some coffee, and do some work. These spaces are fully equipped with free Wi-Fi and charging stations.

Providing these amenity spaces has become necessary for owners and developers to stand out from their competitors and to attract quality tenants. As competition stiffens and apartment buildings begin to age, it will become mandatory to redesign older spaces with the aforementioned unique components to evolve with the ever-changing tenant needs and to stay vibrant with social trends.

About the Author:

Mike Franklin, PLA, has been in the landscape architectural field for more than 23 years and has wealth of experience in architectural detailing, site analysis, conceptual design, construction documentation, construction administration and facility management.

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