Gauri Gore, Project Head – Developer Spaces, Edifice Consultants
Any major world event will leave its impact on architecture and design. The pandemic is one such event that has completely transformed our perception of personal and collective spaces by giving rise to a new technology. Multifunctional flexibility is key to creating an office or study space within a home without disrupting its functionality.
The drastic transformation in the way we design, the spaces we create, and the values we incorporate in our work is evident as we strive towards sustaining ourselves and our communities. Community health and spatial flexibility have now become immovable components of these value systems
Another important change is the functional transformation of open spaces in built environments. Open spaces are valuable luxuries in cities where, with people spending more time indoors, a new perspective of appreciating the beauty and need for small courtyards, balconies or gardens in homes and workplaces has evolved. Both architects and users are keen to integrate biophilia in their projects as it brings a strong connect to the outdoors.
During the pandemic, the key challenges faced were lack of space and privacy, with stop gap arrangements being made for people to address their immediate concerns. We now live with the uncertainty of another wave hitting us and keeping us home bound, so people are now investing in buying or renting larger homes.
Taking cognisance of the multi-functional role that a home will play, going forward, it is important to create home typologies that allow for flexibility in the layout, to transform and accommodate possible amenities that cater to the needs of a small office space, a grocery, a laundry, a day care, etc. The mixed-use typology may also take centre stage (rather than standalone residences) to allow for the different typologies to function independently yet ensure proximity to the end-users.
More homes are being bought in Tier II cities because of the migration from metro cities and changing work styles. Lasting hours at home and the new hybrid work strategies employed at offices demands comfortable homes over simple functional ones. Flexibility is the approach to the reformation.
Multifunctional homes / apartments provide flexibility to the inhabitants. The design revolves around enabling flexibility of multiple furniture layouts or transforming furniture pieces to allow for diverse functions within the same space. For instance, movable partition walls that allow one or two rooms to be accessed separately to function as an office/studio/study, etc. and be further merged with the house or rented separately. Another trend seen is the merging of two adjacent apartments to become one large apartment. Here, the duplicated spaces such as kitchens are further transformed into multifunctional rooms.
Biophilia and access to open/semi-open spaces is a default approach in the design of homes and other typologies as well. Today, demand for a balcony, terrace, or a bay window has soared. Balconies and terraces can be transformed into a garden, a breakfast zone, a yoga and meditation space, and even a workspace.
At Edifice Consultants, we observe the developer market maturing and updating over the years with bye laws becoming more stringent. Agencies like RERA have come into implementation, streamlining the project process, and providing incentives to large developers and transparency to home buyers. Today, most of the developers follow standardisations in design, thereby ensuring timely deliveries and quality outputs. But it acts disadvantageous putting the context of the project in the backseat because only the masterplan and landscape designs largely correspond to the climatic and cultural contexts, etc.
Our collaboration with large developers in the country help us set the upcoming trend of multifunctional and flexible homes in the market. We are extensively exploring some of the above-mentioned apartment layout trends in our upcoming projects.