Efficient Productology: Principles of Ideal Yards
The developer’s effective productology, which Parametrica is working on, includes several sections: an effective master plan, functional apartments, and comfortable courtyards. Ivan Sukhikh, the founder of the bureau, often talks about master plans at seminars and conferences, and his book about effective planning will soon be published.
In this article, Daria Muromskaya, head of the master planning group, shares her best practices on how Parametrica approaches the design of courtyard spaces in residential microdistricts.
— Daria, how does the development of the yard begin in your work?
The development of courtyard spaces is the third stage of the consistent creation of the project. The organization of the future comfortable courtyard, which is a semi-private space, does not exist on its own, but is based on the main principles of master planning:
Maintaining a balance in the types of territories that ensures the harmonious functioning of the microdistrict (private, semi-private, public, sports, play areas, pet walking areas).
Thoughtful interaction with the surrounding streets and buildings, natural objects, public spaces, which make the development organic.
A verified hierarchy of all zones: Plazas, parks, boulevards, streets, Play hub, Sport hub, Dogs Park should be built in such a way that there are no zones without a hierarchy and “without an owner” in the area. For certain sites, special places are selected, taking into account their noise and functioning (this is especially true for sites for noisy sports, such as basketball or football, which should not be located inside the courtyard space of houses).
The versatility of landscaping implies, in addition to the main square of the district (Plaza), the presence of a network of boulevards that connect recreational areas for various purposes: workouts, playgrounds, recreation areas for different ages, etc. So that residents can find something to do throughout the district based on their current interest.
Thus, the territory of the yard is freed from cars, noisy or overly active sites, which, in a certain logic, are distributed over the territory of the future development. Quiet recreation areas for adults and playgrounds for the smallest tenants, preschoolers, remain in the private courtyard. As our experience shows, a well-planned yard becomes a territory especially protected by residents, an extension of their private space.
At the same time, the “Parametrica” methodology is being implemented in the development of courtyard spaces, the values of which imply the embodiment of ergonomic scenarios for residents in design solutions. Here we take into account how one functional area flows organically into another. For example, near the children’s town there is a playground for a comfortable rest for parents, from where it is convenient to watch the kids and make new acquaintances with neighbors. And such a study is carried out for all types of spaces.
— Is your methodology a response to the modern demands of developers?
Understanding the importance of this approach has been developed by our product architects in the course of numerous quantitative and qualitative studies. Interaction with developers from Moscow to Yakutsk, from St. Petersburg to Bishkek helps the Parametrica team accumulate best practices and develop the product from project to project. What is important is that the work is carried out according to the Design by cost principle, when control and optimization of the cost price is carried out at each design stage!
— The word comfort has already been widely disseminated and therefore does not clearly convey what this or that developer means. What do you mean by this concept?
The emphasis on the economic efficiency of the projects under development led Parametrica specialists to study in detail the experience of European architects. The famous Plazas of Western cities are compact and very functional! It is these characteristics that leave an unforgettable impression of visiting such authentic places. We are working to ensure that the courtyard spaces of the blocks and microdistricts being developed also become self-sufficient and authentic, and at the same time harmoniously communicate with all other residential development spaces.
The operationalization of comfort and efficiency has led to the following indicators:
for a quarter of 9–17 floors, a yard of 30–40 m in size will be effective and psychologically comfortable. For 17–25 storey quarters, a width of 40–55 m is suitable. These indicators have been verified taking into account socially significant distances and the size of development that is commensurate with a person. Efficiency lies in the cost of improvement per sq. meter of selling area. Compact yards drive a profitable landscaping ratio. The optimal size of the territory, without unnecessary, ownerless “squares”, the developer can equip with more high-quality, modern and durable materials.
— That is, with this approach, both the developer and the future tenants win?
Oh sure. By laying down detailed solutions at the design stage, the developer simultaneously optimizes costs and increases the value of the product. Literally – the cost is lower, and the quality is better. The formation of a community of residents by interests occurs much faster when the playgrounds are convenient and “tuned” to their user (as an alternative to situations where a basketball court, for example, is adjacent to a sandbox for preschoolers; or the constant knock of a ball on the asphalt in the courtyard annoys all residents of the house) . In addition, closed yards in block buildings are transformed from a transit zone into a place of rest from the bustle of the city for all groups of residents of the house. Such territory is protected and guarded by the residents themselves, taking care of the comfort of their families.
The “European” comfortable courtyard now succinctly fits into the realities of Russian cities. The enclosed courtyard free from cars offers its guests safety, privacy, noise protection, good view characteristics and attractive views from the upper floors.
According to NOZA, RSPP and ERZ.RF*, by the fall of 2019, among the residential complexes under construction and completed with a pool of apartments offered for sale, in every third Russian new building there is no longer a place for cars in the yard: 35.3% of residential complexes offer the concept of “yard without machines.” The predicted volume of supply from developers for yards deprived of parking space will grow by 10-15% in the next 2 years. Over the past five years, developers and buyers have already “tasted” the benefits of such a concept. At the same time, in 2014, only 22.3% of LCDs had such an opportunity.
* Commission of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) on construction and housing policy with the assistance of the National Association of Housing Developers (NOZA) and in cooperation with the Construction Industry Development Institute LLC (ERZ.RF portal).