Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Plan for the View

Location is everything in the multifamily business.

So doesn't it stand to reason that as many details as possible should take location into consideration, even while the property is being designed?

Let's look at an example of what I mean by this.

Below is a building in design that will be built on the New Jersey waterfront, featuring beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline for the community's residents. The property owner realized very early during the design that they wanted this view to be the focal point of as many units as possible.

While the focal point of each unit changes, there are still only a small number of floorplan layouts. This means that two residents living in the same floorplan on opposite sides of the building (North and South in this case) will likely orient their furniture in different ways to take advantage of the best view afforded by their particular unit's location.

Let me show you what I mean... In the image below, the units along the left side of this building face away from the water, offering only a streetfront view: (Click on any of the images below to enlarge.)

The residents in these units are less likely to orient their furniture in one specific way -- the view isn't a primary consideration when determining where the TV, and TV outlet location, will be positioned in the unit. So, we choose the most likely TV location in the living room and locate the wallplate there (Outlet #3 in the middle of this image.):

Now let's consider the units on the opposite side of the building -- the side that offers the premium views of the waterfront and skyline.

The units with this particular floorplan (on Floors 3-8 in this case) are marked in black in the image below:

As you can see, the units are located on both the North and South sides of the building, so the units will feature varying views based on the specific locations throughout the building.

We still want each resident to enjoy the panoramas, both on the screen and out the window. In the plans below, we have identified where each unit is located in the building, considered where residents would locate their couch and other furniture to be able to see the skyline, then located the TV outlets to fit that view-oriented furniture layout. This prevents the resident from running ugly cables across the floor to connect their TV where they want it. You can see how the wiring diagram changes slightly based on where the unit is located in the building:

It's a subtle difference, but without it, residents might be frustrated by misplaced outlet locations that don't consider the context of the surroundings.

With some new mapping and modeling tools, designers are able to determine the approximate view from any unit in a residential building. The low-powered way to do it yourself is to use the 3D features in tools like Microsoft Virtual Earth or Google Earth.

This specific example obviously may not be a concern in many communities, but small details like this will likely save more than a few residents' headaches, regardless of your property's address. How else are you using your property's technologies to complement the community surroundings?

From this post:
Microsoft Virtual Earth
Google Earth

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