including low VOC coatings and sealants; cabinetry with no added urea formaldehyde; GREENGUARD®-certified flooring; and Energy Star appliances. Efficient heating and cooling equipment regulate each unit, while solar thermal panels on the building’s exterior preheat water used by the entire community. In addition, photovoltaic panels provide clean energy for all indoor common areas as well as landscape lighting.
The Pandemic’s Impact on Multi-Family Housing
As a result of the pandemic, MBH has begun designing larger units that promote flexibility of use within the private and public spaces. Common areas are becoming more significant, and residents are thinking about doubling their homes as working spaces, especially within those larger units. The firm has been primarily inspired by the versatility in European and Japanese design styles for small, efficient spaces that provide a variety of functionality—pulling in multi-use or versatile furniture solutions such as Murphy beds and modular furniture pieces that provide more than one use. For MBH’s senior care work, it has researched blue zones and where centurions are thriving, and how it can bring elements of those lifestyles into our senior facilities. Although amenities became somewhat obsolete during the pandemic, there is an uptick and demand for workforce-oriented amenities. Private working rooms with more robust Wi-Fi, electric hook-ups, and technology connections have been prioritized as a large population of our nation’s workforce will continue to work remotely. Ultimately, MBH’s goal for solving the senior housing crisis in California is rooted in providing living spaces that accommodate the evolving nature of people’s day-to-day lives—designing apartment units that feel like a much larger home. MH Tom Pflueger is Senior Associate, Director of Housing Studio at MBH Architects.
COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION & RENOVATION — ISSUE 9, 2021