Designing affordable housing is an art form. From creatively securing funding from multiple entities to designing a building that is high-quality and cost-efficient. These “10 Affordable Housing Design Considerations” have been crafted from Pinnacle’s 25+ years of experience and lessons learned.
#1 Creative Use of Building Material
New and inventive ways using concrete and fiber cement gives this affordable housing project in Bend a unique look within budget. Affordable should never look cheap!
#2 Adaptive Reuse
Reinventing a decrepit building can revitalize a community and is the pinnacle of sustainability. If the structure is in good condition, it can offer a cost-effective solution. This was once a primary school.
#3 Durable, Quality Materials
Creating a finishes and fixtures cheat sheet (paint color, cabinet type, etc.) at the end of a project allows owners to maintain their units with ease.
As many units as possible should have visual access to open spaces, especially play areas, to increase security. Site lighting also important an important factor.
#5 Weather Appropriate Design
Designing to your climate saves money in the long-term. A project in an area with large amounts of snow needs to incorporate appropriate overhangs and minimize outdoor mechanical equipment and pipe placement. A project with extreme summers needs to consider building placement and heat gain from windows. Every climate has special considerations…one size does not fit all.
#6 Ease of Maintenance
Using locally available and easy to repair equipment, fixtures, and finishes saves money in long-term maintenance. A light fixture requiring special order bulbs doesn’t pay off.
#7 Space Efficiency Tricks
Wall extensions (see floorplan) can provide more functional rooms, L and U shaped kitchens are more efficient, and placing laundry in bathrooms can reduce square footage and meet ADA requirements.
#8 Importance of Stacking
Stacking similar unit layouts reduces design and construction costs. Using wood beams and unique roof lines in this project adds architectural interest to a box-like, efficient design.
#9 Team Collaboration
The earlier the design and construction team are able to work together the more successful the project – from cost savings to innovative ideas.
#10 Creating Community
Don’t underestimate the power of creating community by simple additions such as park benches, open green space, and planned resident intersections.
Affordable housing is more than just a housing complex. It’s a place that creates community and enhances lives. Costs are always going to be a driving factor so using thoughtful design to find big and small ways to increase quality and decrease costs is a challenge we enjoy facing every day.