Report lauds ‘transformational qualities’ of high-end resi towers

Residential skyscrapers have a huge regenerative impact on the neighbourhoods where they are built and can prompt a surge in local property prices of as much as 180%, a new report claims.

The study - endorsed by architect Daniel Libeskind and property firm Savills - looked at recent high-rise developments in London, New York, Dubai and Warsaw in a bid to assess the impact of premium residential schemes of more than 20 storeys. There are currently more than 430 towers of 20-plus storeys planned for London, according to research by New London Architecture.

The report, Sky High Living, argues that in London’s South Bank area, property prices have significantly “out-performed” the capital’s average over the past decade, rising by 120% against 85% as a result of an influx of new high-rise luxury developments.

It said eight towers with a residential element had been constructed in the SE1 postcode area during that period, among them BFLS’s Strata tower at Elephant & Castle.

As well as Strata, the study said that developments including Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners’ Stirling-shortlisted Neo Bankside, KPF’s redevelopment of Richard Seifert’s King’s Reach Tower, Renzo Piano’s Shard and Panter Hudspith’s Signal Building in Newington Causeway had provided more than 12,000sq m of new retail space as well as contributing to improvements in the local area.

The report, published by communications firm Lawrie Cornish, drew a connection between the completion of the Strata tower in 2010 and a 14.1% rise in South Bank property prices during the same year.

Elsewhere, it said that the Daniel Libeskind-designed tower Zlota 44 in Warsaw had contributed to a 180% rise in property prices in its locale during 2015.

The report conceded that New York’s skyscraper pipeline had dwindled in recent years, with developers keener to focus on industrial- and commercial-to-residential conversions. However it pointed to last year’s completion of the 85-storey Rafael Viñoly-designed 432 Park Avenue, which it said had triggered a push for new residential towers in the vicinity of Central Park.

In a foreword to the report, Libeskind said the most iconic and recognisable buildings of any city were typically its skyscrapers, but that the purpose of the skyscraper was “steadily changing” from a show of wealth and decadence to the provision of a high quality of life for residents.

“The design must tell a story and the purpose must serve the wider population,” he wrote. “Constructing tall, well-designed skyscrapers that provide hundreds of homes in a built-up city can have such a positive impact on the local community and its wider surroundings.

“The impact these towers have is not only on the skyline but also on the community at ground level. It is important that such important buildings are designed with the people of their surroundings at heart, to appeal to the community, as well as to those just passing by.”

Charles Weston Baker, head of international residential at Savills, said residential skyscrapers were a source of new global competition in housing and had a “palpable” effect on property values in their surrounding areas.

“Typically, they are some of the most iconic, most modern, most luxurious buildings in their local surroundings, having a profound impact on the local property market,” he said.

“These luxury skyscrapers have entered a league of their own, no longer compared to nearby schemes in the same city or district; they are compared to their equivalents across the globe.”

The full report can be read by clicking on the pdf file above right.

Strata tower by BFLS.

Source: Steve Meddle/Rex Features

2010 Carbuncle Cup winner. BFLS’s 43-storey Strata tower, topped with three wind turbines, dominates the south London skyline.