February 8, 2017
MVE + Partners, a leading architecture, planning and design firm based in Irvine, CA, has over 4,000 units in the works in the Bay Area in cities including San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Jose. MVE partners with a range of companies, like The Irvine Co., Essex, and others on mixed-use, transit-oriented developments, and more. Connect Media’s Daniella Soloway spoke with Principal Darin Schoolmeester about the trends driving the sector, and how technology is assisting in the design process.
Q. What trends are driving the design behind amenities in multifamily developments?
A. While many projects amenities are site-specific, there are common threads weaving through the marketplace. With the rental market being so competitive, it’s critical to stay current and use spaces creatively. An important way we are achieving these goals is to create spaces that have multiple uses and have the ability to change over time.
Another important consideration is the site location and context. Santa Clara Square is a good example of how the land plan plays into the design and social interaction for the whole community. Here we have located the amenities into a central “hub” and organized the vehicular circulation, common open spaces, and trails to lead into this central area. A more urban site like MB360 in Mission Bay already has amenities in the form of the surrounding city, so an emphasis on quiet, private spaces was more important.
Q. What are your primary considerations when approaching multifamily design?
A. Obviously, the client’s objectives, and site opportunities and constraints are always the first considerations. Our objective is to create successful communities that complement their surroundings and enhance the neighborhoods around them. We also have a wealth of experience in the technological aspects of these buildings, which is essential to designing a project in the most cost-effective manner. By using design and technological innovation, we have been able to dramatically increase building efficiency and lower costs.
Q. Speaking of technology, how do you incorporate its uses to build more affordable housing?
A. As I mentioned, the physical cost of the building structure is a primary consideration, but the cost of lost time in design, documentation, permitting and construction delays comes into the equation down the line which often what puts projects over budget. After over a decade of experience with Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology, we can quantify, coordinate, and visualize building design more accurately well before breaking ground. These computer models help us identify future problems which in the end lower costs. The use of this technology simply helps the team create better building design.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Daniella Soloway