Build to Rent – lifestyle or for life? 


i2C|Ryder Architects explore the benefits of the boom in build to rent (BTR) and why perceptions are changing.

It’s no secret lifestyles have changed slowly but surely over the past 10 years as a result of many factors, but not least in these recent months thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only accelerated a generational switch from reluctance to acceptance of renting.

No longer something to be ashamed about, the psychology behind owning and renting has morphed in sync as new developments pop up – and it’s not hard to see why.

A variety in price means tenants can choose their physical space – flexibility.

A place driven approach which invests in the surrounding community, as well as enabling access to some of the best on site amenities – service.

A base to call home that’s within reach of work, retail, leisure and green space – location.

Already a major draw in the UK, Ryder has worked alongside developers such as Quintain on South West Lands, Wembley, and Moda on schemes including Angel Gardens in Manchester, Great Charles Street in Birmingham, and Holland Park in Glasgow, as well as developing brand apartment layouts to be adopted for all its developments.

Angel Gardens, Manchester, UK

South West Lands, BTR Wembley, UK

Now, the BTR sector is emerging as one of the biggest assets in the Australian and New Zealand property markets, and i2C|Ryder has placed itself as leaders of the evolving design and surrounding culture, utilising the lessons already learned by the Ryder team in response to the local landscape.

i2C|Ryder are collaborating on Sylvia Park in New Zealand, which sees the creation of a vibrant and healthy community with a deep connection to place and strong promotion of neighbourhood values. The project is unique in that it will be one of the first true BTR developments in the country and carries with it an exciting future for multi residential dwellings.

Key to it all is community.

After a year of isolation, it’s only natural that we, as humans, would crave the social lives we once lived carefree and the advantages of a BTR lifestyle have never been more enticing.

The Build to Rent schemes that i2C|Ryder have worked on to date have several shared spaces with lounges and co-working areas for home workers who don’t want to spend their day in their apartments. There are also cinema rooms, outside seating and barbecue terraces, some even have dining rooms that can be rented for dinner parties.

Local authorities like Better Department Design Standards (BADS) in Victoria highlight principal apartment areas. They are often a prerequisite of the planning process and these governing bodies are hardening their stance on compliance with the standards.

Areas for typical apartments.

*37sqm where a 1 bed/ 1 person has a shower room instead of a bathroom

Understanding the local authority’s approach to apartment design standards at the outset is critical, as is working through the most commercial structural design outcome for the New Zealand market early on. The modular approach is predicated on one, two and three bed apartments as a proportion of each other. So, within the same volume, the mix of one, two and three bed apartments can alter dependent on authority standards or client preferences.

By offering flexibility in the way renters live, in turn we offer a better quality of life.

As the demand for BTR grows, it is becoming a sector in its own right.

This emerging sector has its own specific set of design nuances and criteria that need to be fine tuned and adapted to the local context, local community, and local demographics. This then ensures a tailored product specific to the location that will have extended longevity.

Sylvia Park, BTR, Auckland NZ

Focus on adaptability of amenity space, community and wellbeing, especially in a post COVID-19 landscape, is exploding.

Net zero carbon and placemaking is rocketing up the agenda for customers, and the desire for climate change action has never been stronger. This must be balanced with the longevity of design, built outcome and ongoing maintenance management (minimising outgoings) and return on investment, given this is a major focus for the developer.  The opportunity to achieve operational excellence to the benefit of both customers and investors is hugely exciting and demands critical review throughout the design and development process.

The pace at which BTR is evolving is rapid and it’s important that we continue to understand the importance of brand power and unlock it – ultimately it’s the customer, the people, that will make BTR a success.

Read more about i2C|Ryder Build to Rent projects Sylvia Park, Lynn Mall, South West Lands and Angel Gardens

Jonathan Seebacher, Director, Ryder

Joe Wright, i2C Associate Architect, National Design Lead

i2C Architects

i2C Architects