More from: real estate

Modern and bizarre: Architectural marvels to see in your lifetime

Architecture is a major field of design that is also a massive and constantly evolving industry. A crucial aspect of real estate and urban planning, it is a major factor to determining a properties’ value and investment potential. Hence, many cities around the world are investing heavily in good design to attract not only property buyers but also tourists.

Man-made architectures have long reigned the list of wonders both in the ancient and modern world. To think that humanity can create something majestic by combining skills and imagination is a source of pride, a brilliant gift that can have the ability to nearly rival the beauty of nature.

If you’ve travelled enough places, you’d observe how modern architectural wonders have impressively attracted millions of people to countries and how these seemingly passive structures have actively interacted and conversed with their perceiving audience. If you are still yet to check them off your bucket list, here’s a glimpse of some of the modern world’s greatest architectural achievements that you should see in your lifetime.

 

Image source: ideasgn.com

The Shard in London, England

As one of the marvels of modern engineering and architectural design, ‘The Shard’ (also referred to as ‘the Shard of Glass’) stands 310 m to tip tall, with 95 stories that allow anyone to see the finest 360-degree city views of for up to 40 miles. What’s impressive is its exterior, which is covered by 11,000 glass panels.

 

Image source: oddcities.com

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

Branded as the ‘greatest building of our time’ by the iconic architect Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry’s the Guggenheim Museum was inspired by different architectural styles: deconstructivism, expressionist, and contemporary architecture.

 

Image source: arup.com

CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, China

This building is known for its bizarre and seemingly physically impossible form, but thanks to modern engineering and the brilliance of its creators, Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, it has become one of the greatest architectural marvels that the world has ever seen.

The engineers described it as a ‘three dimensional cranked loop’ because of its unusual shape. What’s amazing is that, the building is also designed to withstand earthquakes and stand strong in frequent seismic activities.

 


REPOST: Algae-producing architecture a “future energy” highlight at Astana Expo 2017

Nowadays, ‘beautiful’ design is no longer just the sole basis of defining what good architecture is. At the Astana Expo, architects are finding new ways to integrate green energy and non-artificial elements (such as plants and natural lighting) in building quality structures. Here is an interesting feature from Daily Planet:

The BIOtechHUT exhibit at Expo2017 in Kazakhstan. Image ©NAARO

An urban “algae farm” producing low-carbon protein and bio-fuel is one of the highlights on show this week at the future energy-themed Astana Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan.

London-based EcoLogicStudio’s BIO.tech HUT is a three-part pavilion at the biennial world fair event, exploring the boundaries of biologically based architecture. The prototype aims to “probe the future, test scenarios and promote the emergence of a new narrative in future energy”.

Bio.light room

The first part of the exhibit, the Bio.light Room, is a dark space in which the only visible light emitted is from bioluminescent bacteria. The organisms absorb energy through photosynthesis in tubes that encircle the outside of the pavilion, lighting up the dark part of the exhibit when shaken and oxygenated.

Bio.light Room. Image ©NAARO

 

H.O.R.T.U.S. (Hydro Organisms Responsive to Urban Stimuli) room

Another room (H.O.R.T.U.S.) flooded with natural light, hosts an art installation containing photosynthetic micro algae. Visitors are encouraged to engage with the micro algae using carbon dioxide to produce oxygen bubbles in 700 meters of glass tubing (see image below).

H.O.R.T.U.S. (Hydro Organisms Responsive to Urban Stimuli) room. Image ©NAARO

 

Garden hut

A third area, Garden Hut, uses a high-speed air flow to lift algae into glass tubes, generating a stirring effect that allows the desired oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange to occur, before falling back with gravity. A pump isn’t needed, a method that the team thinks hasn’t been used in algae production previously.

Garden Hut. Image ©NAARO

 

Climate benefits

Five tubes containing different types of algae loop the exhibit, collecting in tanks for harvest as super-food or bio-fuel.

EcoLogicStudio estimates the hut can produce enough algae-based protein for 12 adults, the protein equivalent of eight cows. By switching to an algae protein diet, the overall net contribution to carbon sequestration of the BIO.tech HUT would be around 90kg per day — the same carbon sequestration potential of 500 square meters of forest.

The BIO.tech HUT can also produce about 1kg of bio-fuel a day, comprising either dry algae or oil produced by green algae — enough to power a north European home.

According to Marco Poletto, Director at ecoLogicStudio, it makes more sense for to produce food from the algae produced. To realise the ambition of bringing microorganisms into architecture, “in an urban environment you are looking to grow strains that have higher market value”, he said.


Neo-futurism: A response to modern architecture’s skeptical designs

Since the Industrial Revolution and the boom of 20th century technology, mankind has witnessed changes that our ancestors would and could have never imagined to ever exist neither in their lifetime nor in the millennia to come. What was once impossible has now become a reality, thanks to the continued quest to simply see beyond and outside the box.

 

Image source: fsmedia.imgix.net

 

Truly, many sectors and industries have benefited from the modern world’s innovative ideas as well as the ever developing technology, and the same story is true in the field of architecture—probably the single most important reason for the success (or failure) of many real estate and property development projects. Therefore, it plays a critical role in shaping up the business and the economy as a whole.

 

As a form of art that highlights a respect for structural and geometrical balance, it has expressed its own appreciation and genuine acceptance of what the modern world has to offer in the form of a “new” architectural style, neo-futurism.  Essentially, it is a late 20th century architectural style derived from high-tech architecture.  It combines concepts of urban design that utilize new materials and technologies. However, unlike its other modern counterparts, the style is more in touch with human emotions, promoting ethical values, and eco-sustainability.

 

Image source: londontopia.net

 

This is why neo-futurism is described as an idealistic and more optimistic take on the future. As a form of an avant-garde movement, it is as a departure from post-modernist’s skeptical and referential style in design. One of its goals is to rethink functionality and aesthetic in response to the rapidly developing urban areas.

 

Buckminster Fuller and other designers introduced this concept in the late 1960s and early 70s but rise of this art movement in modern architecture can be credited to prominent figures such as Zaha Hadid, Iraqi-British Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect, and the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

 

Other famous neo-futurist figures are French architects Denis Laming, British artist Olivia Peake, urban-noise artist Joseph Young, and many more.


REPOST: Why are houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright a tough sell?

Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpieces, while culturally important and aesthetically impressive, require serious upkeep and diligent maintenance. In the article below, The Financial Times explains why it is often very difficult to sell any of the famed architect’s famous projects:

 

Coonley House (1908) in Riverside, Illinois, $1.7m

 

One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most distinctive homes was collapsing in 2000, when Dean and Ella Mae Eastman bought the property in the Chicago suburb of Riverside for about $1m. Known as the Coonley House, it had a roof that was falling down, thousands of handmade tiles designed by the famed architect had disappeared and the façade had been damaged by a fire years earlier. “You couldn’t open any of the doors,” says Dean Eastman, a retired physicist. “They were all warped.”

For a more than a decade, the Eastmans worked meticulously to restore the century-old building, tracking down Wright’s original plans and hiring craft companies to repair the woodwork and art glass that were signatures of Wright’s Prairie style. Now the Eastmans, who are both in their seventies, are ready to sell the home.

“We’re of an age that we don’t want to be taking care of the house all the time,” Ella Mae says. “We enjoyed it and had fun, and now somebody else can have fun with it.”

Yet it hasn’t been easy to find a buyer, even after the Eastmans’ painstaking restoration. The property has its quirks: it is part of an estate that was carved into four separate properties and any buyer must agree to preserve the exterior of the historic landmark and more than 270 art glass windows and doors. A year after the 6,000 sq ft house was listed for $1.79m, it is still available and the price has dropped to $1.7m.

The property has prompted “many inquiries but no real interest”, says Catherine Simon-Vobornik, an agent with Baird & Warner, the agency that is listing the house.

 

FB Henderson House (1901) in Elmhurst, Illinois, $1.1m

 

Wright is one of America’s greatest architects, but the homes he designed are often a tough sell. They are old and often require meticulous maintenance, and typical vendors are looking for a premium to other homes in the area.

“It’s going to take a particular type of buyer,” says Marilyn Fisher of LW Reely, the agent marketing a Wright-designed home in Elmhurst, a city outside Chicago. Built in 1901, the six-bedroom, 5,500 sq ft home is another example of Wright’s Prairie style and includes 80 feet of original stained-glass windows, three fireplaces and large formal rooms.

However, the house can seem dark and dated to modern buyers and the bathrooms are smaller than in most new homes. Fisher acknowledges this. The house has been on and off the market since 2013; once priced at $1.29m it is now listed for $1.1m.

“It’s just an old house,” Fisher says. A few years ago a Frank Lloyd Wright home “would have been a feather in the cap, something you could show off”, she says. “I think nowadays people are not into that as much.”

 

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Famous people and their gorgeous homes

For celebrities and well-known personalities, fame and fortune can be the keys to happiness—especially if one’s definition of being ‘happy’ is going home to an outrageously stunning million-dollar mansion. Just imagine having all the money in the world to buy almost anything under the sun. What would your dream home look like?

Before you answer, take some design inspiration from these famous sports and Hollywood personalities and their gorgeous homes.

 

  1. The Kardashian Sisters’ California Homes

Image source: architecturaldigest.com

Both of Kourtney and Khloe’s Calabasas properties in California used to be owned by two famous stars, NFL celebrity Keyshawn Johnson and superstar Justin Bieber, respectively.

Although the sisters hired the same decorator, each of their homes reveals very different designs: Kourtney focused on a sophisticated but family-friendly style while Khloe’s vibrant and contemporary combination of Middle Eastern, Moroccan and Turkish sense embrace an elegant vibe.

 

  1. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Majorcan Villa

Image source: mirror.co.uk

This stunning luxury home was a recent additional to the couple’s portfolio in 2016 and was acquired before their rumored separation. It is located in the sunny town of Andratx, the same area where Pitt’s WWII drama Allied was filmed.

According to report, this coastal property is an eight-bedroom home and is estimated to be 900 square meters. The property also covers a double living room, a large garden and swimming pool.

 

  1. Stephen Curry’s Alamo Mansion

Image source: bizjournals.com

Curry’s latest East Bay property is a five-bedroom, 10,290 square feet mansion that houses a Finnish-style sauna, five fireplaces, chef’s kitchen, billiard room, and a library. In addition, it has a 1.5-acre footprint that includes an outdoor pavilion with kitchen and a remarkable infinity edge pool. The property also has enthralling formal gardens with a fountain.

 

Wealthy individuals, including celebrities and business tycoons, are responsible for some of the biggest real estate deals in the world. Each property costs millions of dollars, and that translates to substantial profits to both realtors and property developers. Real estate as a whole is a major economic driver of any city, and thus, an important component in many investment portfolios. Know more how you can diversify into real estate by consulting with a financial advisor at LOM Financial.


Super-cities: Skyscrapers of the future

The last two decades were perhaps history’s most ambitious period for architecture. Multi-billion development projects across the globe fuel massive construction booms, pushing design boundaries as well as boosting local or national economies. While the financial crisis of 2008 seemed to have discouraged many developers, building mega-projects—such as skyscrapers—did not stop companies from making history. In Dubai alone, dozens of innovative and groundbreaking structures rose above empty deserts like mushrooms and forever changed the emirate’s cityscape. In the next couple of years, several more revolutionary skyscrapers will hit news headlines. Some of them are as follows:

 

Jeddah Tower

When completed by the end of the decade, this Saudi super-structure will be the tallest skyscraper in the world. It will be more one kilometer tall and will be the centerpiece of a US$20 billion proposed development known as Jeddah Economic City. The project was designed by multi-awarded American architect Adrian Smith, who is also the genius behind the world’s current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Aesthetically, the structure will resemble desert plant shooting upwards, symbolizing Saudi Arabia’s growth and future.

 

Image source: stuff.co.nz

 

KL118

Consisting of 400,000 square meters (4,300,000 square feet) of residential and commercial space, KL118 will overtake the iconic Petronas Towers as Malaysia’s tallest structure when it opens in 2019. It is currently being constructed within the vicinity of a number of historic landmarks with little modern development.

 

Image source: skyrisecities.com

 

Hydropolis

An aquatic city found right next to a cosmopolitan desert boomtown, this mega-project will be a magnificent underwater hotel that will once again put Dubai on the map. When completed, the hotel will cover an area of 260 hectares, which is roughly the size of Hyde Park in London. The central structure of the Hydropolis is the Lemniscate, a symbol of wisdom. A unique aspect of the underwater building is that it will comprise of different structures that represent various parts of the human body.

 

Image source: charismaticplanet.com

 

Baoneng Shenyang Global Financial Center

Currently under construction in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, this supertall skyscraper is notable for its design emphasis on both simplicity and iconicity. It has conical extrusions at its base, resembling canopies or nomadic tent entrances common during the Qing Dynasty. At the top is a “pearl” that would symbolize the Chinese wisdom, luxury, and purity. Located on a high seismic zone, the tower was designed to withstand strong ground shaking.

 

Image source: allday.com

 

These structures are highly impressive in their own right and will go down in historic as architectural marvels. However, regardless of how ambitious a building plan looks, its economic, cultural, and environmental value must be of the greatest importance.  Man’s ingenuity must always be used for the greater good.


Sleek and simple but a bit more personal: Interior design trends for 2017

The first few months of the year is often the start of an entirely different ball game in the world of interior design. The things which might have looked fantastic six months ago may no longer be as chic as it would be today. Design truly is a fickle creature. That’s why leading experts in the field try their best to stay in the know by keenly observing what kind of trends will follow the industry as a whole. For the most prolific, they can create and start a new trend themselves.

Image source: diningandlivingroom.com

 

Generational fault lines

One interior design prediction by a luxury rental developer is that the favorability of designs created this year will lie partly on the generational fault lines. This is driven by the growing number of millennials and baby boomers who are now shying away from home ownership. Generation Y is also following the dogma “less is more.” They want their space to be uncluttered and less fussy than traditional designs.

 

Geometric minimalism

Chanel Korby, the director of business development at a brokerage firm, also confirmed the appeal of clutter-resistant areas to young adults. The world outside is only becoming more hectic, that’s why people are now opting for tranquil environments in their homes. Even in the midst of a bustling cosmopolitan city, homes can achieve Zen-inspired interiors.

 

Emphasis on personalization

Millennials might be shying away from quite a number of knick-knacks, but that doesn’t mean that furniture are only applicable to the older generation. They just want a specific set of demands which will highlight who they are as a person. Young adults want to mix design styles and create a one-of-a-kind simple look, and they are more than willing to dish out more money to get what they want.

Image source: modern-homedesign.com

 

Return to gold

The world’s most popular precious metal will once again make its way to interior design this 2017. This design trend has always been a classic, but it can now be used in conjunction with modern styles, especially when used as a finish for kitchen light fixtures and hardware. Gold tends to look great in every room, and pairs perfectly with a wide range of palettes and patterns.

 

Mixing furniture pieces properly

Scandinavian design will dominate this year, thanks to its clean lines and refreshing balance. This particular trend embodies the idea of simplicity, which many modern homeowners are continuing to gravitate to and enjoy. How to achieve the look? Neat and proper combination of furniture piece. Simple but sleek designs always translate to comfort and positive ambiance.

Image source: onthewebrealestate.com

 

Poor housing market propelled by the last major economic crisis adversely affected the interior design industry. However, things seem to be turning the tides as the business managed to grow fairly well over the last five years and is expected to do better up to the end of the decade or even beyond. The housing market is expected to improve dramatically, yielding growth for residential interior designers as home sales skyrocket. For investors with the heart for the arts, the interior design market could be a good venture to tap into.


The Advantages Of Investing In Real Estate

There are many things one can invest in and among them is in the industry of real estate. A lot of people find it more lucrative now to put their money in this department because they have seen great results for those who did it. I would like to say that investing in properties is ideal more than doing it in other venues. Today, you will learn about the many advantages on investing in real estate.real estate investment 2

 

  1. The fact that this could actually generate money once you started investing in it is a huge green light. Whether you want to resell it upon acquisition or you would want to have it rented, either way you would see that one is able to generate income out of it. Of course just like in any other businesses, you would experience some down time. But the beauty about investing here is that you can be sure that you would profit from it eventually.
  2. Another thing that you will love from it is the fact about depreciation. It means that when an asset or property depreciates, you could still use that for your tax benefit. This also means that once your investment real estate depreciates, the taxman in your country would have to reduce that amount on annual basis from your taxes. The total value of the real estate you invested in would be based on its structure, the materials it was made of and the amount of time since it was built. Usually, the taxman would separate the value of your property based on its structure and the length of time since it was last built. As the year goes by, the property depreciates and that would work well with your tax payment.
  3. The next advantage you have from it is the fact that all the expenses spent related to your investment in real estate are actually deductible. Having a property manager inspecting your investment or when you have it repaired, you must know that all those are deductible. This is once again another thing that would help you with your tax papers. It is not just the value of the property itself, but pretty much everything related to it that made you spend for it would not be counted on your property tax fees.
  4. Now, aside from the benefit you could get from “depreciation,” you would also reap the benefits from its “appreciation.” As the years go by, the chances of a property to grow when it comes to its net worth is high, which would eventually affect its value. This is when a real estate would experience appreciation. For example, some of the houses built in Bel-Air, Beverly Hills were priced for less back in the 30s. But of course since time is involved in real estate and the other things that would affect its value like its ambiance, neighborhood, etc.; houses there now are worth around millions of dollars.


These are just among the things to consider as an advantage in investing in real estate.