Pushing the Boundaries for Guest Experience
By Eric Rahe Principal, BLT Architects | June 08, 2014
Co-Authored by Donna D. Lisle, AIA, LEED A and Kevin Aires, AIA, LEED AP, BLT Architects
We are introduced to the concept of sharing in childhood, and we are taught to incorporate this into our daily lives both personally and professionally. Sharing is not a new notion, but over the last few years the simple idea of sharing has become a major international economic trend that is having an impact on how hotels are designed and run.
“The Sharing Economy” is built around the sharing of human and physical assets. But the ways it has been realized recently can be surprising. People in every income bracket are sharing everything from homes to cars to umbrellas to nannies. Ask the people at Zipcar about sharing and they will tell you a story of growth and profit. According to Forbes, the revenue flowing through the sharing economy directly into people’s wallets will surpass $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25 percent. It is a major opportunity for businesses, including hotels that are willing and able to take advantage of it.
The sharing economy is not only transforming how we live, it is also informing our built environment
Space sharing, as we know it now, started in workplaces with the concept of “co-working,” which emerged in San Francisco in 2005. This idea was employed by places like Citizen Space and its precursor, The Hat Factory. Both housed technology workers who left their homes, cafes, and corporate offices in favor of rented desks in open offices shared with other independent workers. The recent recession reinforced the trend. In many cases, the economy forced smaller businesses and one-person owned companies to embrace this option as a way to save money while creating their own jobs. Open offices have also been seen in a variety of corporations with innovators like Herman Miller and other Silicon Valley technology companies leading the way.
In the past few years, our firm has been helping multi-family residences adapt to the changing demands of renters. A higher value has been put on amenities and, in turn, these shared spaces have become community staples. One recent luxury residential property we designed in Philadelphia features a shared living room with a fireplace and piano, shared wine storage, and a shared outdoor area. “These shared spaces are designed to promote social interaction and have become the norm when renovating or building new residences,” said Kevin Aires, a BLTa senior associate. All were priorities of the building, with less of these features available in the individual apartments.
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