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The Inside-Out Approach

Updated: May 29, 2023

Prioritizing Interiors for Multi-Residential Building Design

The inside-out approach to designing multi-residential buildings is gaining popularity among architects and developers. In this approach, the focus is first placed on developing the interiors, taking into account the floor plan, and optimal use of space before focusing on the exterior architecture of the building. For today's blog, we will discuss the importance of prioritizing the interiors, the main benefits of this approach, and critical factors that should be taken into consideration while drafting a floor plan.

The Berkshire Residences- Drake Khan Design.

Why Prioritize the Interiors?

Prioritizing the interiors plays a critical role in designing a multi-residential building and its ethos. It allows the designer to create a space that responds to the needs of the residents, such as bringing in natural light, ensuring proper ventilation, and designing smart storage solutions. By considering the interplay between different elements like lighting, furniture, and materials, developers and designers can partner together to create environments that are not only aesthetically pleasing but fully functional.

Benefits of the Inside-Out Approach

The inside-out approach involves designing the interiors of the building first, then working one's way out (to the exterior architecture and beyond). This approach has several advantages; including improved quality of living for the residents. By designing the interiors toward the needs of the tenants, the building becomes more serviceable and desirable to live in. Taking the inside-out approach allows for a more comprehensive and pragmatic design process. The functional aspect of the building is addressed first before focusing on external aesthetics, leading to more mindful and efficient creations. Working in such a way can also lead to cost savings, as focusing on the interiors can help conserve resources and prevent expensive changes down the road.

Key Factors for Designing Multi-Residential Units

When designing multi-residential units, several key factors must be considered to ensure a successful outcome. These factors include the optimal use of space, open-plan living, multi-purpose rooms, a connection to nature, and green spaces.

Optimal use of space is crucial when considering the interiors of a multi-residential building. It is paramount for architects to create a floor plan allowing residents to move freely within a space, unimpeded by furniture or poor layout. Open-plan living can create an illusion of a larger space, improving inhabitants' mood and livability within the building.

Multi-purpose rooms like common areas, co-working spaces, or indoor gyms, are attractive to residents, as they provide convenience and add to the living experience. The importance of green spaces, and connection to nature, cannot be overstated. Incorporating plants or nature into the design can help reduce stress levels, promoting better health and well-being; ultimately creating a more appealing environment for everyone living on the property.

Successful Examples:

Several multi-residential buildings have successfully applied the inside-out approach.

  • One57, New York - The One57 residential tower in New York City was also designed with the interior in mind. The overall building design was driven by the need to provide residents with breathtaking views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. The facade of the building features large glass panels that capture the beauty of the city and blur the lines between outdoor and indoor living spaces.

4,603 SQFT (Interior) Residence- NestSeekers
  • The Shard, London - The interior design of The Shard, a 95-story skyscraper in London, was planned first and the exterior design was dictated by the interior. The building was designed to accommodate residential, hospitality and commercial units whilst maximizing natural light and offering panoramic views of the city. The unique pyramid-like shape was chosen to provide optimal floor space and views for residents and visitors.

Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard- Condé Nast Traveler

Overall, the inside-out approach to designing multi-residential buildings prioritizes the interiors, leading to a more efficient, functional, and cost-effective design process. By focusing on the end-users needs, developers can build multi-residential properties with a sense of community that fosters a happier and healthier lifestyle for their potential residents.


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