At BDP Quadrangle, we’re always looking for opportunities to design for an improved quality of life in our multi-unit residential projects. An important consideration in this regard is a question that always comes up in discussion with our clients: how should we accommodate balconies? Balconies are often considered critical to our client’s marketing approach, they affect the functional quality of living spaces, the effectiveness of the building envelope, and balconies have major impact on the visual character of the building.
While balconies can be configured in a variety of ways to meet different preferences, their essential quality is their ability to connect us to nature and the world around us through our senses of sight, sound, touch, and smell. Its these connections contribute to our overall sense of health and well-being.
Unfortunately, traditional balcony designs also often present challenges, particularly in tall buildings. These include conditions that significantly reduce the comfort levels and functional qualities of balconies. Their exposed locations can be too windy, their height can make for vertigo inducing moments, short summer seasons limit their usefulness, their narrow width make them hard to furnish and when they are not in use, they just constrict view lines from interior living spaces.
One result of these various challenges is that, despite their promise of connecting us to nature and the world around us, we’ve observed that balconies are rarely actually used.
In thinking about how to create a better way of providing the sensory attributes that we want from balconies; we’ve explored the idea of an ‘outside-in’ balcony. A balcony that provides the connections to nature that we crave without the environmental challenges that discourage typical balconies from being used.
Imagine a generously sized opening with a flexible bi-fold glazed door system, a small ledge for plants, if desired, and a picket railing that allows free air flow. Essentially, it will make your living space the place where you can connect with nature.
We believe that an outside-in balcony will create a more satisfying and engaging sensory experience. A way to fulfill the promise of what a balcony should be, and meaningfully connect our homes to the outside world.