As the local and international real estate market goes through some turbulent times, one category of real estate seems to be relatively downturn proof – luxury (or super-prime). And when local developers seek to bring this product to our shores, they look to the world’s great cities for inspiration.
When local developers strive for the super prime market, it is inevitable that they look abroad for inspiring references in order to appeal to the 1%-ers.
Common themes that tend to define the ‘super prime’ project are a big name ‘starchitect’, usually an in-vogue and avant-garde interior designer (or several), a design that draws on some historically significant inspiration, and hotel like amenities carefully curated as the showpieces of the project.
New York has long been a bastion of luxury residential projects, each decade adding to its long list of iconic structures. Two recent projects that will occupy a place in New York’s history are 130 William by Lightstone and 15 Hudson Yards by Related Companies. Much has been written of 130 William in the design press – firstly as this is the first residential tower in New York by the world acclaimed Sir David Adjaye.
Adjaye is renowned for his designs of museum such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, as well as other iconic public buildings, and his foray into the world of residential towers has brought with it a unique timeless sensibility and dramatic grandeur.
130 William has racked up a series of PR inducing accolades – the Fastest Selling Project in NYC 2018, Designboom’s top 10 Towers and Skyscrapers of 2018, StreetEasy’s best sales and marketing campaign of the year, and Curbed NYC’s “best rendering-to-reality” in best new architecture of 2018.
Its most striking design features are the hand cast – larva rock like – façade material (no mean feat for a tower of 66 stories) and the arches design featured in every part of the building – evoking both a futuristic and at once classical aesthetic.
The project’s interiors, also designed by Adjaye Associates feature some breathtaking amenities, such as the ethereal pool and unique gym space and basketball court. The private interiors look more like hotel rooms and feature gold highlights, warm material tones and a hand-crafted quality – rare in a high rise and germane to the Adjaye design ethos.
On the west coast of the US the booming San Francisco Bay area is adding another icon to its skyline. The OMA – Rem Koolhaas designed ‘The Avery’ is a soaring tower that acts as a gateway to the city.
Developed by Related, the country’s largest privately-owned real estate developer the project brings together the responsive urban architecture of OMA – famous for buildings such as the CCCN Tower in Beijing and interiors firm Clodagh Design boasting an “award-winning portfolio centred on an eco-conscious aesthetic that overcomes the senses with a blissful serenity.” As in their landmark Hudson Yards project in New York, Related think of their projects as vertical lifestyle precincts and the amenities on offer are more than hotel like.
Like many luxury residential projects in the US the materiality of the building is not simply glass and glossy metal. A strong stone theme is present throughout the building. The arrival experience, again evoking a luxury destination. Triple height entries inspire a sense of awe and timeless cache.
As the super prime ‘belt’ of New York spreads beyond Manhattan – Brooklyn is making some noise by attracting superstar architects and 1%er hipsters to its fast gentrifying suburbs. One such project – 11 Hoyt – is designed by Chicago firm Studio Gang.
Studio Gang are known for their award-winning Aqua Tower and the studio’s work has been widely honoured and exhibited, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Modern Art. True to their signature style 11 Hoyt will be a head turning twisting tower reflecting the sky and the skyline in unexpected perspectives.
Being on the ‘outside looking into’ Manhattan provides postcard views from many of 11 Hoyt residences and the soaring form takes advantage of its high ground location to provide uninterrupted views bring the classic New York skyline into the interior.
Every window on the facade will be individually framed within precast concrete. When reading the profile of the building as a whole, multiple sections consist of laterally extruded bay windows. Each section is two to three stories tall, and creates a consistent diagonal wave pattern that breaks apart the rigid grid of square windows across the height of the tower from the street to the flat roof parapet.
As ever, amenities are exquisite – in this case they are created by London-based Michaelis Boyd – an award-winning firm with a reputation for sophisticated architecture and interiors emphasising sustainable materials and building techniques. Unique spaces such as the gym, dining space and residence lounge are bold and overtly hip, without trying to please everyone.
Rounding out the all-star team are landscape architects, Hollander Design, and legendary creative agency Pentagram – the world’s leading independent advertising agency.
It is common for the super star teams from each respective discipline to celebrate each other’s involvement and contribution to the project – the combined glow each contributor attains reflects on the entire project – it begins like a project that will have a legacy far beyond the marketing launch – to become an enduring brand and destination.
Unlike in Australia where finance approvals based on presales drive an often dizzying pace of site acquisition, design, sales and marketing and then delivery – in the US projects at the top end of the market have a much longer evolution.
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