No longer satisfied with commercial projects, world-class architects are ensuring luxury properties are sought after and leave a lasting artistic legacy as well.
While the world’s leading architects regularly design single houses, commercial buildings, museums and restaurants, it is rare to see residential complexes on their list. Yet with a growing appetite particularly among Asian investors, the trend is gathering pace.
Rare and under the radar
Not only are large-scale residential developments taking their place in the venerated world of architecture, but partnerships with visionary developers to secure prestigious CBD locations, often with breathtaking views within unique landscapes, are providing value to homebuyers and investors as well. These projects become high-profile after release, but are often kept under the wraps in development and remain under the radar even of those wealthy individuals in the know. Securing a spot in these rare commodities is a fortune that only the wealth and fortuitous can afford.
Frank Gehry: Luxury and the Hong Kong landscape
In Hong Kong, Frank Gehry brought a measure of difference to the market with OPUS Hong Kong, a building with twisted curves, glass facades and stunning views of Victoria Harbour perched off Stubbs Road on the Peak. Typical of residential developments designed by leading architects, is a sense that something special is being created. “I designed the building for Hong Kong, to respond to the unique conditions of the city. You wouldn’t build this anywhere else,” said Frank Gehry.
With 12 units including two double-level garden apartments, along with 10 apartments each occupying its entire floor, it is not only unique in look, but size and layout as well. The development is marked by structural columns on exterior which offer maximum interior design flexibility and wraparound windows, providing open plan apartments with floor to ceiling views. No wonder all units sold out in three years, and prices have been completed for the total sum of approximately HKD$5.5b.
Robert Stern: New York never sleeps without luxury
In the Big Apple, Robert Stern’s 15 Central Park West delivered another touch of glamour to city that barely needed it in the first place, but certainly welcomed even more architectural flair. Stern, designer of famous large-scale condominium and apartment building projects in the city, put in the likes of individual wine cellars, large penthouse apartments and terraces, along with a sky-lit pool, private cinema and private in-house chef.
Aside from the architectural qualities, the residence is renowned for attracting a host of celebrities including baseball player Alex Rodriguez, actor Denzel Washington and former chief executive and chairman of Citigroup Sandy Weill. The prices are reciprocal for such a high-class environment, with the media indicating that an eye-watering US$88-million penthouse was sold to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Of course it has been dubbed “the world’s most powerful address”.
Central Park, New York City
Richard Rogers: classic location, residential London innovation
One Hyde Park is a Richard Rogers-designed Knightsbridge complex, consisting of four 13-storey residential blocks. For this project, Rogers brought all his experience from high-profile projects including the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Millennium Dome in London, and the European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg. If you are into living the high life, the building features a private cinema, private exercise rooms, squash courts, golf simulator and virtual games room, and a wine cellar to name a few. There is also a dedicated team of 60 Mandarin Oriental staff onsite 24 hours a day to ensure residents enjoy the exceptional services, amenities and sophisticated security infrastructure that are provided as part of the development.
One Hyde Park, London
The future of luxury residential in Asia
In AD100, Architectural Digest names the world's best architects and designers every year. This is an exciting time for residential design as these architects are making their mark by creating one-of-kind properties. Amongst investors, the properties are sought after with promising investment prospect because of their unique design, strategic location and the fact that they are rarely on the market.
The trend of celebrated architects working on residential projects looks set to continue, particularly in the Asian market, where new collaborative projects with architects in the AD100 are happening all the time. Keep an eye out for the next part of our series, where we take a closer look at this exciting movement.