How people define spaces is evident in how mixed-use buildings came about and are now eyed by investors and developers as the future of property development. Millennials are at the core of this campaign, and as it addresses the burgeoning urban population, mixed-use buildings are becoming a mainstream solution.
From Skylab Architecture’s Sideyard Mixed-Use Building in Portland to Arquitectonica’s Mixed-Use City Block Porte de L’Europe, the concept of mixed-use is alive and thriving.
What defines a mixed-use building?
Simply put, a mixed-use building is a single building that has three or more businesses such as residential, mercantile, institutional, and office that incur revenue-producing businesses. Unlike office buildings that house several types of businesses, mixed-using buildings are more diverse in use. It includes entertainment, sports and fitness, religious spaces, and hotels. Related terms include compact-use buildings or multi-functional buildings.
The two general forms of building massing for mixed-use designs are vertical and horizontal developments. Vertical mixed-use is a multi-level, single building where typically residential living is at the upper levels, and lower floors are leased for office and retail uses. Parking and transportation, meanwhile, are housed on the basement floors.
What spaces are integrated into mixed-use buildings?
Current trends in mixed-use building design are not simply bringing together different uses in a stand-alone building but instead, designers seek to integrate the whole structure in a neighborhood setting.
Surrounding development such as access to transportation, work, home, and shopping are considerations for the design and planning of mixed-use buildings. Modern sustainable mixed-use buildings aim to be flexible to function as times change and as seen as an urban solution as it reduces pollution and use of transportation.
- Business Offices
- Healthcare Facilities
- Residential and Business. The most common type of occupancy integrated into multi-use buildings are residential spaces where they can operate small businesses on the lower floors from where they live. Commonly advertised as live and work condominium living. Contemporary integrations of mixed-use are hotel and apartment spaces on the upper floors.
- Shopping Malls and Hotels. They may have different functions but attract similar market users with similar needs. The challenge is to create a parking facility that can accommodate both functions and will need to have a transit-oriented design.
- Commercial, Residential, Hotel, and Health Services. This kind of mixed-use building is an opportunity to provide inviting green living spaces.
- Education and Residential. A good example is the 35XV in Manhattan where the residential-academic building houses Xavier High School on the ground floor while housing units are located on the upper floors. A communal courtyard is provided surrounded by other five buildings housing office and residential uses.
- Religious and Residential. Moving away from traditional church courtyards and landscapes, many religions have already had inclusions in newly-built mixed-use properties. An example is the Bethnal Green Mission Church in East London which includes a church, community facilities, a vicarage, and 14 flats for private sale. The design has received awards and recognition and is designed by Thornsett Group.
The versatility of buildings is instrumental in shaping metropolitan spaces to be more efficient by saving resources from the use of sustainable materials. With this construction methodology in mind, buildings can be designed to be diverse for a single building that can serve multiple purposes. And thus, urbanization can be a road to societal progress rather than a hindrance.