New Insight paper on the increasing importance of co-working space in Build-to-Rent developments

The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown periods have opened the eyes of both workers and businesses to the potential benefits of flexible working, including working from home for part or all of the working week.

As Director Michael Swiszczowski and Senior Architect Richard Daw discuss in this new Insight paper, Build-to-Rent designers, developers and operators must now respond to this phenomenon by considering the incorporation of co-working space within their developments, so that they and the residents can reap the great potential benefits that such spaces offer.

For several years now, Chapman Taylor has been challenging the design and development of large, single-use buildings as people come to appreciate the benefits of having a range of uses and amenities under one roof. Increasingly, designers and developers are recognising the benefits of learning from the trends of other, experiential-focused markets, moving away from operating within siloed sectors to transform the experience for their end-users. In recent years, residential developments have been adopting ideas which were traditionally the preserve of hotels, for example, and many office developments are borrowing heavily from the leisure and hospitality sectors and have perhaps come to emulate the trends and successes of the Build-to-Rent sector.

Build-to-Rent developments have been at the forefront in embracing the potential benefits of providing a mix of amenities under one roof, merging the residential format with ideas taken from the hospitality and leisure sectors and creating what has become a very attractive alternative to simple, residential-only apartment blocks, particularly for people living alone, small families and young professionals.

However, co-working is a sector that has, up until recently, been relatively overlooked by Build-to-Rent developers and operators. Co-working / working from home is something that Build-to-Rent operators must now consider as part of their offer – the COVID-19 pandemic has been something of a paradigm shift in terms of how we view the world of work and the importance of work-life balance. Where once the dominant working pattern resulted in an exodus of people before 9am and an influx after 7pm, there is now more flexibility, with more people at home in the “traditional” working hours and more activity in and around the building throughout the day as a result. This is helping to reinforce the sense of community in BtR developments.

The provision of communal workspace may be vital to the social and commercial success of a Build-to-Rent development, particularly in the aftermath of a prolonged period of people being isolated from each other, causing them to appreciate the value of personal human interaction more than ever. It is being increasingly noted that developers of large city buildings in the UK are finding it more challenging to fully lease them if they do not contain at least some co-working space within them, and this phenomenon may soon extend to the Build-to-Rent sector.

To read Michael’s and Richard’s paper, please click here.

Michael Swiszczowski (BA(Hons), MArch, ADPPA, ARB, RIBA)

Director, 曼彻斯特

Michael joined Chapman Taylor in 2016 to strengthen the practice’s residential expertise. A key member of the Manchester studio’s management team, Michael has a business development remit for the residential sector across the UK business.

He has experience working on award-winning residential projects with a particular focus on build-to-rent, student accommodation and modular construction.

He is a RIBA-elected member of the Regional Council for RIBA North West.

Areas of expertise:

Residential / Build-to-Rent / Student Accommodation / Hotels

Richard Daw ((BA(Hons), DipArch, ARB, RIBA))

Senior Architect, 曼彻斯特

Richard joined Chapman Taylor in 2021 with a particular focus on helping to grow our residential work in the UK and to advise Chapman Taylor on flexible workspace design.

Having managed a flexible working provider business previously, merged with his extensive experience of design, he is well placed to offer a unique view on the growing BtR sector from an architectural and management perspective.

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