In recent years, layouts have assumed a leading role in prime development: architects and developers are seeking to create unique property, which is still comfortable for living. Unfortunately, they are not always successful in this. A pretty façade can also hide uncomfortable apartments. Analysts of Metrium Group have identified the three principal “plagues” of layout solutions in the Russian property market that prevent from creating ideal space for life. Based on them, the experts have prepared a rating of prime residential developments with the most functional apartment layouts. Experts note that smart layouts are the most sought-after in the capital’s premium segment: these apartments have shorter exposure times and are selling rather well even at earlier construction stages.
One of the most serious issues in architecture is the need to fit the layouts of internal rooms into the building’s “shell”. The more architectural frills there are outside, the more complicated the internal layouts grow. Most often, the desire to produce a masterpiece results in rooms with oblique angles, rounded walls or bay windows of various shapes. “Irregularly shaped rooms prevent the inhabitants from fitting out their home in an optimal way,” explains Mariya Litinetskaya, Metrium Group’s CEO. “Oblique angles will not let you arrange your furniture as you wish. Wall curves also require extra efforts to fit them correctly into the interiors. Even if such shortfalls can be disguised with decorative elements, they will eat your space in any case, and as a result you will be short of a few so expensive square meters.”
All apartments start with a lobby, a hall or a corridor. This is an integral part of an apartment that separates the private living space from the entrance area. In the prime segment, however, it is not rare that walk-through areas occupy more than 20% of the apartment’s overall floor area. Experts of Metrium Group identified examples in the market where the overall area in three-room apartments differed by 20 to 30 square meters in different residential projects, while the rooms themselves measured the same. “In functionally designed premises, the area of walk-through premises must be streamlined even in the prime segment,” says Mariya Litinetskaya. “The main area of the apartment should be taken by living rooms and the kitchen, while halls and corridors are the space that is almost never used. That is, when buying an apartment where the hall, corridor and lobby occupy 20% or more, the customer overpays huge amounts of money for “air”. Today, this is not encouraged even in the prime segment”.
Advanced homebuilding technologies allow designing apartments of absolutely any layout, with a minimized number of carrying structures. But even here developers and architects can mess things up: sometimes, carrying columns or walls or risers may turn out in the most unexpected places and require immense efforts to create a harmonious space. “Developers do not make this mistake as often as before,” clarifies Litinetskaya. “But still, the prime market may offer projects where a carrying column or a riser is sited right in the middle of a hall or a sleeping room.”
Experts of Metrium Group have analyzed layouts of prime residential developments currently offered in the primary market while considering each of the above three parameters. In such categories as Oblique Angles and Roundings and Uncomfortable Carrying Structures / Risers, they evaluated whether the projects have or have no such drawbacks. A project that had no such architectural drawbacks scored one point; otherwise it scored zero. In the “Walk-through Area” category, they calculated the ratio of the area of halls, lobbies and corridors to the apartment’s overall area. The rating included apartments that had the maximum dimensions. Projects with the minimum ratio scored five points, with the score descending as the ratio rose. In case of a tie, they compared the average cost per square meter: the lower the cost, the higher the rating.
As a result ten projects offered in the capital’s primary market made it to the top of prime residential developments with the most functional layouts. They all are located within the Third Transport Ring, while their average cost per square meter ranged from $12,000 to $25,000 (more expensive projects were not considered).
A new residential property built by Barkli Corporation, a leader of the capital’s prime market, held a landslide victory. Barkli Residence is known for being the first Moscow project by Robert Stern, an internationally renowned architect, and his firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects. The residence’s layouts are extremely functional as Robert Stern first designed the interiors of the building to create ideal layouts for life, and only then fitted the façade over the building.
“This approach is unique as most architects proceed the other way round,” commentsYekaterina Fonareva, Barkli Corporation’s Commercial Director. – Besides, Stern tried to get the maximum living space out of the apartments by minimizing the walk-through areas. The same efficient approach was taken when calculating the building’s structural elements. All carrying columns and walls were fitted into partitions between apartments as much as possible.”
Knightsbridge Private Park came second. This is a residential project located in Khamovniki and designed in the English neoclassical style by a team led by Aleksey Kurennoy. The rigorous lines of the property’s facades were reflected in its internal layouts. The lag behind the leader’s score was no more than one point due to a higher ratio of walk-through areas.
The top three also included Barrin House. It is a residential development owned by Don-Stroy, another major player in the premium segment. The project is authored by architect Nikita Biryukov and his firm, ABV Group. Its premises are mostly of regular geometrical shape, except for several apartments in end sections.
|Name||Acute / obtuse angles, roundings||Walk-through area||Inconvenient carrying structures / risers||Score||Average cost per square meter|
|1||Barkli Residence||-||Up to 10%||-||7||$12.3 thousand|
|2||Knightsbridge Private Park||-||10-15%||-||6||$23.5 thousand|
|3||Barrin House||+||15-20%||-||4||$16.3 thousand|
|4||Chetyre Solntsa||+||15-20%||-||4||$16,9 thousand|
|5||Grand DeLuxe na Plyushchikhe||+||15-20%||-||4||$18.6 thousand|
|6||Legenda Tsvetnogo||+||10-15%||-||4||$19 thousand|
|7||Ostozhenka Park Palace||+||15-20%||-||4||$24.4 thousand|
|8||Sadoviye Kvartaly||+||15-20%||+||3||$16.3 thousand|
|9||Literator||-||Over 20%||+||3||$16.9 thousand|
|10||Italyansky Kvartal||+||Over 20%||+||2||$17.1 thousand|
“Functional apartment layout in the prime segment is one of the key drivers behind the buy decision today,” concludes Mariya Litinetskaya. “In correctly planned premises, the customer only pays for those square meters that will actually be used in life rather than stand idle. Given the high cost per square meter in this residential segment, the premium for “air” may reach tens and even hundreds of thousand dollars. Most affluent buyers prefer efficiently investing their money and they thoroughly calculate the payback on their investment. As a proof, 30% of the total number of apartments in Barkli Residence, the leader of our rating, were sold at the very early stage of the project. Other rating participants also record a strong sales performance.”