Social Distance and Social Space

Social Distance and Social Space

Will Covid-19 Redefine Multi Family Outdoor Space as We Know it?

The need to connect with nature and with each other are two fundamental drivers that lie at the core of our values as designers of the urban environment. But the Covid-19 crisis has many of us wondering if some basic tenets used to program, design and build urban open- space will be challenged by the anticipated “new normal” of urban life. How will gardens best be experienced from both the indoors, and the outdoors? How far apart – or close together – will be the new standard as people sit around a pool, gather on a roof deck, or walk down the sidewalk. Perhaps most importantly, will designers be faced with new criteria or societal expectations when they set about creating outdoor amenities and open space?

It is clear now that the impacts from Covid-19 will remain a part of living in cities and suburbs for a long time to come. We have seen that recent trends in multi-family home design have been towards smaller living units and greater emphasis on common areas and a diversity of outdoor amenities that create a sense of community. Now, careful design consideration must be given to the spatial layout of these spaces and the expectations of people using them. Natural light and fresh air circulation will prove even more important to interior spaces. But, what you see when you look out your windows will be equally critical. Views of plants, sky and open space are a time-tested axiom of hospital design when considering patient healing and length of stay factors. We have also heard from our clients that units facing onto planting areas and well-designed open space have greater value to prospective tenants and may result in longer retention. As residents will likely be spending more time at home, the healing qualities of these views and access to courtyard gardens and outdoor workspace where they feel a greater sense of control will also prove critical to their sense of well-being. Given that space is always a premium when it comes to designing amenities, designing smaller outdoor rooms for individual and small group gatherings and work activities with wifi connection and power outlets, will have greater value.

15 square feet is a design standard used to calculate unconcentrated occupancy loads for common open space. This translates to approximately 4’ x 4’ per person. The current six-foot social distancing requirement doubles this area to 36 square feet. If this becomes a standard it will have significant impacts on projects from the total number of units to the size and number of people using common open space. Some of this may be managed by limiting the number of occupants, the amount of furnishings provided, their size and configuration. Smaller fixed furnishings may also become more common.

Recent images on the news of people crowding beaches and parks is evidence of the innate need to experience nature and interact with each other, even at the potential risk to our health. But designers, policy makers, and developers will find themselves rethinking how to enhance and support these needs within a framework of new rules and expectations. How we experience urban living, how we work, relax and recreate, and how designers keep cities and suburbs exciting and vibrant places may depend on it. In our next publication, we will further explore the design implications introduced above, and other relevant themes.

Photo: An intimate social space as part of the community open space designed by JETT for Tabora Gardens in Antioch. Client: SAHA. Architect: PYATOK. Photography: David Wakely.

 

 

 

 

JETT Project a Finalist for Prestigious Affordable Housing Award

JETT Project a Finalist for Prestigious Affordable Housing Award

Working closely with Standard Communities and Chee Salette Architecture, JETT Landscape Architecture + Design designed and renovated landscapes throughout the 854-unit,32 acre affordable apartment conversion project. Announced at the ULI Fall Meeting, the project was a Finalist for the 2018 Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable Housing Awards. Our designs converted existing high-water use artificial lakes into rain gardens and play areas and included a full package of upgraded site amenities, including a promenade, pool areas, outdoor daycare facilities and low water use planting and irrigation. At the time of completion, the project was the largest market-rate-to affordable housing conversion in California.

Photography credit: Urban Land Institute

Read more about it here.

Golden State Lumber Design

Golden State Lumber Design

New Commercial Landscape Design by JETT. We are proud to share our recently-constructed designs for the new Golden State Lumber sales yard in Concord, CA. Our designs called for exquisitely detailed iconic lumber industry references using sluiceways to channel stormwater, large river cobble in wire mesh cages and a laser-cut metal fence inspired by a cross-cut log section. Final detailing and implementation of our designs was completed by Camp & Camp Associates. Architecture by MBH Architects.

 

El Camino

El Camino

JETT LA + D designed this podium garden with bicycle pavilion, kitchen and lounging area to complement the contemporary architecture for 62 high end condominiums in San Mateo. Completed early this year the gardens provide a serene outdoor social space for residents to gather with

their friends and a space for dogs to socialize as well

Alameda Point Project

Alameda Point Project

JETT LA + DESIGN is excited to be part of the long-anticipated Site. A development at Alameda Point in Alameda CA. After 20 years of planning, Phase I of Site A will produce 637 housing units, which includes the 200-unit Block 9 project for moderate-income households designed by Pyatok Architects and JETT LA + Design. The plan for Block 9 also includes 10k SF of retail commercial development as part of this phase of development. The streetscape is designed to reference the surrounding neighborhood and provides residents with meadow-garden front yards which also function as stormwater treatment planters for the site. The residential courtyard design for Block 9 was inspired by the naval air history of Alameda Point and a private roof deck terrace offers residents an outdoor gathering space with views. Jett has been faced with some unique design challenges on this project, such as having to account for an anticipated site settlement of 2-5 inches over the next few decades, soil salinity challenges, and on-site stormwater treatment challenges.

Vegetated Roofing

Vegetated Roofing

Vegetated roofs are a valuable amenity in urban living. Providing a bit of nature, be it a small extensive garden roof or an intensive roof deck with trees and amenities for entertaining, can offer significant and quantifiable benefits to quality of our daily lives, contribute to reducing stormwater and utility costs, mitigate urban heat island effect, and raise real estate values. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/26/realestate/the-living-roof-takes-root.html

photography credit: NY Times