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Mixed Use Architecture
14 March 2022
Nitesh Panchal

Modern Architectural Design for Mixed-use Buildings

Architecture is so much more than just a good-looking building. Like a person, it has layers. It is an art requiring adaptation, mathematical precision and functionality. As the needs of society and individuals change, architecture must adapt. The same space or different floors in the same building may serve a variety of functions. Architectural design for such mixed-use buildings considers the latest styles, manages resources, incorporates green principles and is conscious of the needs of its neighbours. It is therefore an amalgamation of both form and function on a complex scale. Reliable architectural design services, such as architectural design drafting, architectural BIM modelling and other architectural drawing services, must be precise, practical, catering to future expansion and have a certain sense of flair.

When we speak of mixed-use buildings, what do we mean?

Well, there may be different definitions, but typically, a mixed-use building will have 2 or more different functions or uses. One building may host retail, commercial and residential spaces, and as such, each of those spaces will have different requirements. For instance, consider a tower building which has a mall on its lowest floors, offices somewhere in the middle and a hotel on the upper floors. A few of the requirements such a building would have are:

  • 3 separate entrances – one each for the mall, the offices and the hotel
  • 2 or more service floors – dedicated only for building services for the mall or the offices or the hotel and separating these spaces vertically
  • Several different layouts for each section, as per their different needs
  • Separate elevators for each section
  • Car parking, garbage disposal, emergency exits for each section
  • Well-researched traffic flow design – the traffic flow in each section needs to be separate so that people from the mall should not ‘accidentally’ wander into an office or the hotel

It may be possible for mixed-use building design to be limited by budgets, time schedules or material constraints, but architects will still find a way to marry imagination and innovation. To provide a competent architectural design for these requirements, it is vital to employ the services of a reliable source to provide high-quality architectural drafting, Revit modelling, visualisation, working drawings and more, all in adherence to the regulations and standards of the country or zone of the project. It is equally important for those service providers to understand the focus of modern mixed-use building design.

  • Increasingly, architectural design for mixed-use structures is concentrating on ecological considerations, energy conservation and value-added management of resources.
  • Trends include attractive structures with glass facades, embellished work, enhancement, modular design and ecological balance.
  • Further trends involve variations in colour patterns and upgraded commercial workspaces.
  • The challenges of global warming, ozone layer depletion, shrinking rainforests, acid rains, exhaustion of critical resources and the ever-growing energy demand will colour design green.

Strategies for the modern architectural design of mixed-use buildings involve the following:

Contortion Design
  • The use of 3D designs to showcase appealing interiors and slightly contorted exteriors
  • Designs include complex lines and patterns.
  • Intricate designs and patterns on building exteriors make mixed-use buildings seem unusual, attracting viewer interest.
Modular Design
  • Prefabrication results in green and effective production techniques, helping reduce building and operational costs.
  • Modular construction enables the artistic arrangement of units and productive design, conveying an eco-sensitive approach.
  • Modular design looks contemporary, with clean lines, energy-efficient glass and aluminium panelling.
Building Green
  • Traditionally an outdoor feature, vegetation, vertical gardens and green foliage is now appearing more often as part of home and office interiors.
  • Mixed-use buildings are increasingly using vertical gardens in the reception areas.
  • Green vegetation on the exterior façade of mixed-use buildings can break up the building zones.
  • Commercial spaces in mixed-use buildings can be constructed with sustainable and recycled materials, such as plastic, sustainable wood, green furniture and eco-friendly floors.
  • Design for energy efficiency attempts to have maximum sunlight penetrate the building, helping maintain open parks and pedestrian space.
Glass Works
  • Utilise glass with various safely features.
  • Glass facades make inside spaces seem larger.
  • Glass is sturdy, corrosion-free and requires low maintenance.
Lighting Up Façades
  • Creative lighting and LED light fixtures make façades attractive.
  • LED lighting saves energy.
Small Spaces
  • Big profits come in small packages. Today, developers utilise space more effectively.
  • Opaque glass makes smaller spaces seem bigger.
  • Small spaces can exploit the minimal look, with minimalist furniture and full-length mirrors.
Shaping Things Up
  • Modern architecture favours shapes from the natural world.
  • Using straight lines, open spaces and shapes that bend perspectives is transforming the architectural landscape.
  • Mixing traditional elements, such as architectural metal grilles, with circular windows
  • Unexpected shapes that complement each other are eye-catching.
Light and Glass

Open concept walls that let in natural light and how it will hit the building are important considerations for mixed-use buildings.

Unconventional Materials
  • Sustainable mixed-use building design involves eco-friendly materials.
  • 3D printing and other unconventional materials are used to create shapes once thought impossible.

Branding for commercials spaces can use outdoor decorative panels or match brand colours, materials and motifs for a 360-degree level of design fluidity.

Digital Signage

Digital signage helps update branding in real-time and looks modern and high tech.

  • Increasing relevance of wide, open spaces and feng shui in architectural design
  • Commercial spaces are eliminating cubicles, monochromatic décor and boxes.
  • Separate spaces and open spaces are blended seamlessly.
  • Carefully placed glass partition walls are increasingly used.
  • Rather than fixed interior spaces, modern architecture focuses on interiors that can quickly be adapted to fit different needs.

Architects must showcase innovation, imagination, add colours, mix materials and design mixed-use buildings with unusual shapes within budget, material and time constraints.

There’s an extensive list of considerations for modernising the architectural design of mixed-use buildings. With the capabilities and advantages of Building Information Modelling (BIM) that are very much a part of modern design, architectural design services may need to include architectural BIM modelling and other architectural BIM services in addition to architectural drafting. Reliable architectural design drafting partners will save time and costs while delivering precise architectural drawing services, ultimately helping to modernise architectural mixed-use building design.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing architectural design services and architectural design drafting services for commercial, mixed-use and healthcare industry. Our range of services for building design firms across the world include architectural BIM modelling and other architectural BIM services and we offer retained teams when required. We create these models, drawings and renderings by using Revit, AutoCAD, Illustrator and BIM 360 Design for cloud collaboration.