Rooftop amenities that don’t stand out are usually missing an element of fun. They fail to use space for a wide variety of activities and never become a part of an individual resident’s routine. Because they lack liveliness and social interaction, they simply aren’t fun enough to be compelling.
But, your next rooftop amenity can easily avoid these pitfalls with an immersive experience design approach. Make your rooftop amenity fun and people will have a hard time staying away from it, yourself included.
What’s Keeping Your Rooftop Amenities from Being Fun?
Tables and chairs, sofa lounge seating, and ample greenery. These are all things that make a rooftop amenity space more usable and comfortable. But while they’re all expected, functional components, they won’t make a rooftop amenity space stand out.
As we’ve visited countless rooftops for observation, content creation, and tours we have come to a striking realization. Many rooftop spaces just aren’t fun enough. Not fun in a cheesy cruise ship sort of way, but entertaining and engaging enough to keep people using the space for an extended period of time.
Too often outdoor spaces don’t have a reason for residents to spend time in them — apart from getting some fresh air and scenic views. But, outdoor spaces (especially rooftop amenities) have huge potential to be the most used amenity on your entire property.
Consider these three questions when evaluating the fun level of your rooftop amenity design:
1. How are you optimizing the rooftop space?
Generally speaking, rooftop amenities are small spaces. Building occupancy limits, unit configurations, and even cost all place limits on the square footage. With such a premium on the actual space you have to work with, it becomes even more important not to waste space or miss opportunities to derive more value.
Single-use program elements or a large amount of the same detract from the sense of activity and liveliness on a rooftop. Imagine dozens of lounge areas with sofa seating and that’s it. For a lot of activity on your rooftop, you need a lot of activities. For example, design a poolside cabana to function as a lounge area for weekend swimmers and as a work pod for early morning remote meetings. Make it viable as a lunch spot for friends and an evening hangout for drinks and catching up on sports highlights on the TV.
2. How do you make the space available for a more diverse range of activities?
Don’t leave your rooftop amenity to live or die by whether or not it has a space to play cornhole, or whatever you deem to be the latest, most popular trend. Instead, make the space inviting and compelling enough that many people will find something that they would like to do. Then residents will be willing to engage with any amenity or feature.
Let’s go back to cornhole. Very few people would consider themselves a cornhole enthusiast. And even if they were, they’re already likely to have a place and group of people to play with. Likewise, your avid swimmers are more likely to go to the aquatic center for a lap swim than they are to use the pool on your property.
But, what outdoor games offer — from ping pong to life size chess — is novelty and encouraging more interaction. They provide a casual and fun way for residents to interact and get to know their neighbors. While it can be awkward to approach someone sitting alone and reading in a cabana, it’s a lot more natural to invite a passerby to join in a game of spike ball.
The more diverse the activities at your rooftop, the less it feels like you have to be a pro to take part in them. In other words, if the only activity you offer is cornhole, residents who don’t find the game appealing are unlikely to spend a lot of time using your rooftop amenity. People will engage with the activities and each other for fun, because it is there. Don’t make it feel like your rooftop is dedicated to one thing, be it grilling, swimming, or bocce.
3. How much of a person’s day-to-day life can you capture on a rooftop space?
Fight the perception of people who don’t want to live in your apartment building because they think there’s no way to meet people. You know that spending more time in the common areas with other people increases the ability to make friends — much more than staying holed up in their apartment.
Hosting community events on the rooftop is an excellent way to provide opportunities for residents to meet each other. But, these only happen occasionally. You can leverage your rooftop as a social gathering space every day if residents are visiting it that often. Think of your residents’ typical day. What does it look like? What are the things they have to do? What are the things that they want to do every day?
At 4th West, for example, the rooftop gym is located in such a way that residents have to walk through the outdoor rooftop amenities to get there. For anyone who uses the gym regularly it’s a constant reminder that the rooftop amenities are there. It makes it increasingly likely for them to casually run into friends and neighbors on their way to and from the gym.
Designing Fun Rooftop Amenities
You shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more to make your rooftop amenities more exciting. Often, it’s just a matter of getting the theme and program right in the early stages of design.