Luxury Real Estate of The Future

Our sister blog, Immo-Luxus, Germany picked up on an interesting proposed building in Paris, which prompted me to take a look at some planned luxury real estate around the world. Some of these, thank goodness, will never end up being built, but some of them are already under construction.

Le Projet Triangle by Hertzog & de Meuron

Oh deary me, I am not liking this one little bit. After the amount of negative reaction to the pyramid outside the Louvre, I am rather surprised H&M are proposing another glass triangle in the center of Paris. According to their proposal:

“Le Projet Triangle” is primarily perceived on the metropolitan scale of the city of Paris. Its elevated stature will lend major visibility to the Porte de Versailles and the Parc des Expositions site within the overall conurbation. It will also permit its integration in the system of axes and perspectives that constitute the urban fabric of Paris.

Le Projet Triangle, Paris

Le Projet Triangle, Paris

Major visibility about sums it up. They are also suggesting that the triangular shape will prevent it from casting shadows over the surrounding areas. Quite how they are proposing to bend the laws of physics to make this happen is beyond me. My favorite comment on this so far is, “As a Parisian I’m sick and tired of living in a city that looks like Disneyland.”

Unobtrusive - Not

Unobtrusive – Not

Crystal Island, by Foster & Partners, Moscow

Crystal Island Moscow

Crystal Island Moscow

Glass Pyramids seem to be the way many forward looking designers see the luxury real estate of the future. This design by Foster and Partners was presented to the people of Moscow and the Architectural council back in 2007. Preliminary planning approval has already been given, although I do wonder if there will be any cash left in the kitty after the Russian government has finished bailing out the state-owned banks. And one of the main reasons I can see for permission being given, is that it is bigger than anything else. Although, at a paltry 450 meters in height, Dubai will have them beat for a long time. Many more after the jump.

Can we out-Dubai, Dubai?

Gentlemen – can we out-Dubai, Dubai?

According to the architect, Norman Foster,

Crystal Island is one of the world’s most ambitious building projects and it represents a milestone in the 40 year history of the practice. It is the largest single building in the world, creating a year-round destination for Moscow and a sustainable, dynamic new urban quarter. It is a paradigm of compact, mixed-use, sustainable city planning, with an innovative energy strategy and ‘smart’ skin which buffers against climate extremes.

I have yet to ascertain the meaning of the word “sustainable,” and am immediately suspicious of any developer using the word. My best guess as to the meaning is – “It won’t fall over.” :-D

Many of these latest visions of the future are also mixed-use, which I rather think they have no choice but to do. Let’s face it – if you are on the 600th floor of the Burj Dubai, it is a long way down to the street for a tube of toothpaste. This one in Moscow has plans for 3,000 hotel rooms and 900 serviced apartments along with retail and entertainment spaces.

Russia Tower

Foster & Partners, “Russia Tower” is already under construction in Moscow, and according to the architects, “will be the tallest naturally ventilated tower in the world and one of the greenest new buildings in Europe.”

At 600 meters, it will be, for a short while at least, the second tallest building in the world, and the tallest in Europe. Although, I am beginning to wonder if Mr. Foster has some sort of monopoly arranged in Eastern Europe. 8-)

Russia Tower

Russia Tower

The Burj Dubai, by Skidmore, Owings & Merril, Dubai

Computer rendition of Burj Dubai

Computer rendition of Burj Dubai

One cannot really look at the future of luxury real estate without including the mega-projects in Dubai. Whilst I am not certain my definition of luxury real estate includes living in a glass box 800 meters off the ground with 50,000 other people, there is no denying this is an impressive engineering feat. Unlike the triangle and crystal island, this one is actually under construction and has already overtaken the record for the tallest building in the world. Other records surpassed along the way are the building with the most floors and the vertical concrete pumping record at 452 meters, and at over 688 meters, is also the tallest man-made structure ever built. Except perhaps for the tower of Babel – depending who you ask. Unlike many computer renditions, the Burj Dubai actually looks like it was intended to, and already dominates the Dubai skyline.

Burj Dubai at dawn

Burj Dubai at dawn

Although the Burj Dubai is getting all the press attention, there are a number of other mega-tower projects such as the Dubai towers at The lagoons, a four tower project designed to emulate candlelight – construction has already begun.

Dubai Towers, The Lagoons

Dubai Towers, The Lagoons

Plus a number of “unusual” designs – This is the ep-07 tower by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill. Whether it gets off the ground or not is as yet undecided.

ep-07 Tower

ep-07 Tower

Speaking of getting off the ground, it seems that building the tallest building in the world is not enough for the Dubai government. Plans are now afoot for a kilometer-high tower.Or at least it will be “more than a kilometer” tall – the proposed height is still a secret.

More than a kilometer tall tower

More than a kilometer tall tower in Dubai

Not to be outdone, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia also announced a “more than kilometer high” tower to be built in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia just one week later, although his little model seems a little on the short side. The plans for a mile-high tower in Jeddah were announced back in March, so this one seems a bit redundant.

Mile High Tower in Jeddah

Mile High Tower in Jeddah

Kilometer Tall Tower in Jeddah

Kilometer Tall Tower in Jeddah

Of course, these pathetic attempts at building a tall building pale in comparison to the Dubai City Tower. 2.4 kilometers tall!

Dubai City Tower

Dubai City Tower

Apparently, three designs have been drawn up for the Jumeirah City project, one of which is the Dubai City Tower. Six separate buildings twisting themselves into a one and a half mile high skyscraper. Now, I am no engineer but I would have thought there are some practical difficulties to overcome, and according to Alastair Collins, of the International Council on Tall Buildings, building to that height is the “easy” part – “The hardest part is the servicing of the height: the transportation, power, water and waste disposal.”

Transportation issues will apparently be solved by a vertical bullet train. I have trouble making myself enter a standard elevator sometimes. Imagine a one-and-a-half mile tall,  125 mph elevator. I can feel the panic attack starting already…………..

One of the discussion themes for this year’s World Architecture Festival in Barcelona is “possibility and responsibility,” with regard to tall buildings. Certainly some of these stretch the boundaries of both. Rather surprisingly, only one of these mega-talls is on the list for discussion. I am certainly looking forward to reading their conclusions. The festival takes place 22-24 October.

“Down to Earth,” Luxury Real Estate

Not all luxury real estate developers and architects see mile high glass edifices as their vision of the future and my feelings are that we will start to see a shift in styles away from enormous, wasteful spaces towards more environmentally-friendly building styles that attempt to blend the natural with the artificial. Whether the current financial situation is resolved or not,I am reasonably sure the McMansion has had its heyday.

Symbiotic Villa by Zaha Hadid

These images are taken of a house designed by Zaha Hadid for the up-coming Next-Gene 20 project in Taiwan.

Symbiotic Villa

Symbiotic Villa

This is a small development in Switzerland, created by Peter Vetsch. And you don’t get more down to earth than these – nine houses on a 4,000 square meter plot all partially underground. Mr. Vetsch certainly has some interesting ideas and uses innovative building materials.

Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse

Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse

Mr. Vetsch has been building homes with these designs for some time now, an this is a selection of some of his other works. He has a large selection of “Earth Houses” on his website. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but interesting nonetheless.

Another continuing trend is the conversion of non-residential buildings into living spaces. Much of London’s and other city’s docklands were once warehouses and have now been converted to trendy apartments. If the credit squeeze continues we will se more of this type of building converted. An interesting renovation recently was the “Church of living,” by ZECC architects in Holland. A Dutch chapel was converted to a house, and the architects chose to retain may of the original features, including, bizarrely, the organ. A little too stark for my tastes, but the conversion is a finalist for a Dutch Design Award.

Church of the Living

Church of the Living

It is certainly refreshing to know that not all future luxury real estate will be in an enormous glass tower :)

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