REPOST: Sustainable by design: the cutting edge of commercial real estate

Booming economies also mean great business for the real estate industry. But unlike in the past decades, today’s architects and designers are much more meticulous than ever, with building design projects mostly aiming to respond to the evolving needs of both the workforce and the environment. More on this from The New Economy:

Italian architect Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) in Milan is cloaked by 2,500 hanging plants and incorporates 1,100 trees from 23 different local species

The gradual global economic upturn of recent years has aided a construction boom. In the US alone, new developments contributed over $647bn to the economy in the third quarter of 2017, after several bullish years.

This trend shows no sign of abating: in 2018, we will see a series of innovative and expensive commercial real estate projects set new records. For instance, the world’s tallest building will be erected in Dubai, and their are plans to construct a skyscraper town around it.

Among such developments, striking new builds demonstrate how design is adapting to changing commercial and environmental demands.

Raising the roof
For Daniel Safarik, Editor at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the enduring interest in skyscrapers goes beyond the simple economic advantage of using less land and results from the buildings’ intrinsic appeal. Safarik told The New Economy: “[A marketable, iconic skyline is about] monetising the emotional resonance of building towards the sky that has occupied the human imagination since the Tower of Babylon.”

Radical new projects are seeking to capitalise on this effect: New York’s emerging Steinway Tower is set to become the world’s thinnest skyscraper, while St Petersburg’s 462m-high Lakhta Centre will make a prominent stand for the enduring status of these ambitious builds and their allure for investors.

But increased infrastructure budgets seem to be paying dividends in innovation too, as bold designs replace traditional models. Portland, for example, will house the world’s first timber skyscraper when Lever Studio’s $29m construction, Framework, is completed this year.

Then there’s the Vessel, a honeycomb-shaped tower of interlocking stairs in New York’s Hudson Bay, which features in the largest private real estate project in US history and is tipped to become the city’s Eiffel Tower.

Although Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel is no skyscraper – standing at just 150ft, it’s relatively modest when compared with Steinway Tower’s 1,428ft drop – the creative design at the centre of this $20bn development reinforces the centrality of monumental design to new commercial projects.

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