August 9, 2016
By Dennis Kaiser
The Residences at Pacific City is quickly progressing towards its opening date in early 2017 in Huntington Beach, CA. UDR, Inc.’s contribution to the overall mixed-use project includes developing 516 residential units and perhaps most noteworthy, creation of a new type of live-workplace environment adjacent to 191,000 square feet of retail space.
New research by the New York Times indicates that the percentage of employers that permit employees to work from home has doubled in the last decade, to more than 60%. Connect Media’s Dennis Kaiser asked MVE + Partners’ Jeff Larsen and Pieter Berger, a life-long surfer, to share insights into how the firm conceived the master plan for the overall project, and approached the architectural design assignment for The Residences in Surf City.
Q. We understand the inspiration for Pacific City is anchored in an authentic surf culture that’s unlike any other in SoCal. What went into achieving that objective?
A. Surf culture is no longer a ‘counter culture.’ It has evolved into a large part of the local lifestyle, and has been adopted by people of all ages, and social and economic classes. As designers, we wanted to deliver a community that catered to the live, work and play styles of Southern Californians, and allowed them to enjoy their passion for the ocean life.
The iconic centerpiece of The Residences at Pacific City is the amenities building, which is a steel-and-glass barreling wave in the center of the community. Key amenities to drive residents’ passions and ability to work from home efficiently can be found there, including storage lockers for beach equipment, an internet café, screening room and business center, clubhouse, and a 5,000-square-foot fitness center complete with a yoga studio.
These additions aren’t necessarily meant to keep people in, but promote the use of the greatest amenity of all: the ocean. It was important that we approached the design for The Residences to authentically incorporate Orange County’s ocean and surf culture. We wanted to honor that lifestyle, and provide a live-work environment that was true to the way in which working surf enthusiasts live their lives. This way, they can live out their passion to the fullest extent and effectively work from home.
Q. What trends are you seeing emerge in different types of work environments? How has MVE’s design of Pacific City responded?
A. The project was designed for the new way in which people work. From a work-life standpoint, professionals that surf want to get in the water to catch a few waves before they head to work. With the layout and amenities at The Residences at Pacific City, and proximity to PCH, they can be in the water early and stay out longer because we’ve provided accessibility of gear and convenience of location. Following a surf session, they can shower off quickly and walk next door to the business center to get the workday started.
With the growing trend of working remotely, The Residences at Pacific City accommodates for this monumental shift in work-life culture by providing business rooms and other meeting facilities onsite to drive productivity.
We believe this is the future of the multifamily living experience. More and more professionals are indicating that the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday is outdated, and we have responded to that shift with a thoughtful and comprehensive design.
Q. Advances in technology are leading to greater productivity in modern work-live environments. What are some of these advancements, both inside or outside of the built environment?
A. Home is no longer a distinct entity from the workplace, and professionals especially, are looking for a place to live that helps them achieve their business goals.
We’ve recognized and identified a new trend we are referring to as ‘alone but together’, where people prefer to work on their laptops in an environment where there are a number of other people working alone as well. However, if there is a need for more formal meetings, it’s important to incorporate conference rooms and Skype calling systems in a business center into the design.
We believe that the line between live and work has been greatly blurred. In today’s age of modern technology and instant gratification, people are always plugged into social media, email and more.
Designers and developers are now implementing strong IT infrastructures and bandwidth with WiFi throughout the communities so that people can work alone, together from anywhere. At Pacific City, residents can be ‘plugged in’ in the park, at the pool, on the treadmill or in the business center.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser