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.

#4 Security

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.