&A Greater Sense of Belonging The size and layout of single-family homes, condos, and rentals are being reconfigured with an eye toward fostering community and adapting to space challenges and changing demographics.
As the built environment evolves, how it looks will reflect a more contemporary sensibility.
“We won’t look to the past. Modern design is the future,” Williamson says. “All this amazing
technology and other changes go part and parcel with much more forward-looking designs.”
Seed to feed.
Don’t call it a garden: Edible landscaping is appearing in
single-family yards and multifamily building rooftops. Lomel
predicts consumer and developer interest will lead to demand
for organic gardening consultants. “They’ll satisfy people’s
food-growing needs rather than [feature] nonedible plant
materials,” he says. Communal space for cooking and dining
are expected to be part of more development projects. “People
want that sense of connection,” Garvin says.
An even bigger trend is the “agrihood,” which makes a farm
a key amenity in a residential development. Developer and
architect Matthew “Quint” Redmond of AgriNetx in Golden,
Colo., conceived the idea back in 2003, but the recession
stalled construction. Ground will be broken this fall for his
newest—Adams Crossing in Brighton, Colo., which will include
438 residential units on 101 acres with about half the land
devoted to farms. Redmond says his two prime buyer targets
are “boomers who would rather work in orchards than play
golf and millennials who don’t want to live in a cubicle as their
parents did.” Many sites are former golf courses, and he
expects more little-used courses to be transformed.
Multiple generations living together isn’t new; cultural
Open plans on a smaller scale.
traditions, economic pressures, and elderly and child care
needs have long made such arrangements desirable for
some. In the past, families had little choice but to o;er up a
spare bedroom when they needed to share their space. But
architects are dreaming up new options for the 21st century
family. Designer Marianne Cusato became an early proponent
for planning ahead with her “New Economy” house; its first-
floor suite with a private entry o;ers independence for older
adults and boomerang children. E YA is designing townhouses
with private quarters on one floor that can be converted to
other uses as needs change.
Open floor plans still dominate, but to di;erentiate smaller
spaces, designer Seth Grizzle of Graypants in Seattle likes
to add whimsy, reflecting the desire for customized spaces.
“People want a fun edge that makes them smile, and they’ll
give up space to get some uniqueness,” he says. Examples can
include a door that becomes a bookshelf, a phone charging
station in a desk, or a softly glowing wall lit from behind.
In multifamily buildings, developers are including larger
shared and mixed-use spaces to make up for smaller-sized
dwelling units. David Baker Architects’ 1178 Folsom Street
building in San Francisco will include units that average just
290 square feet but have access to large common areas such
as a rooftop deck and ground-level retail. Sarah Barnard, a
designer in Santa Monica, Calif., sees the trend mushrooming
as millennials shift from renting to buying. “They’re a
generation that is less materialistic and more concerned about
the environment and that has a debt burden, so they have less
to spend,” she says.
A recent AIA Home Design Trends Survey found respondents
were interested in having greater accessibility inside their
homes including wider hallways and more visible handrails.
Yet, many still resist features, such as grab bars in showers
and bathtubs, that signal that residents are aging. Future
designs are expected to incorporate such adaptations in more
subtle, creative ways.