Architectural Masterpiece Versus Just Another Building: Unlocking Real Estate Value Through Design

An architectural masterpiece is a building that has been carefully designed by the architect to bring out a particular uniqueness.

Buildings such as the Sydney Opera House constructed between 1957 and 1973 and designed by Architect Jorn Utzon from Denmark are masterpieces that will forever become major landmarks due to their unique designs.

An example in Kenya is the Kenyatta International Conference Centre which has graced the covers of postcards for years since it was constructed.

From Rahimtulla natural stone finishes

The KICC building was designed by Norwegian Architect Karl Henric Nostoric in 1967. The architect was inspired by the traditional African architecture, mainly the hut. The late president Jomo Kenyatta was also instrumental in guiding the architect regarding the African concept.

This brought out a unique Architectural masterpiece which has unanimously won the hearts and eyes of many Kenyans to be the best designed high-rise building in Nairobi.

The use of just one colour and rough texture on the exterior that looks close to the traditional African adobe house increases the aesthetic appeal in that its comfortable to look at-it does not look too ‘busy’ like other high rise buildings that have multi colours and textures on the exterior.

The perfect balance achieved through the shape of the tall structure versus the pyramid also helps in creating the aesthetic appeal.

No other building in Nairobi CDB can hold a candle to KICC.

UNLOCKING VALUE

Buildings that have been designed to be unique usually give better returns to their owners in terms of rents.

Since the buildings are attractive, they will always have a higher demand for rent hence the rent shoots up. Most well-to-do institutions require such buildings which are landmarks in themselves. This helps in their marketing since their customers can easily relate their location hence more business. It in turn works out as a win-win situation between the land lord and the tenants in that the land lord charges a higher rent while the tenants have more customers due to their prestigious and conspicuous physical address.

ENHANCING PROPERTY VALUE

Developers who acquire land in an area that is generally viewed as undesirable can use architectural design to enhance the value of their real estate.

A good example is the Motor World Centre at the Jogoo road/Landhies road roundabout. The area has several unkempt buildings that would not fetch competitive rents in the market place. The Motor World Centre has been uniquely designed to be very attractive therefore its true potential is realized even though its surrounded by the un-maintained buildings.

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE

Residential buildings designed uniquely always attract more tenants than the ordinary ones. In Kenya, unfortunately, the housing deficit is approximately 100,000 units per year.This means that even poorly designed buildings will attract tenants. In other countries such as South Africa where the housing deficit is not high, its design that sells. The well-designed houses will sell faster than the badly designed ones. Therefore, most developers in these countries usually put a lot of emphasis on design to be able to attract buyers and tenants.

Since buildings last for tens of years, its advisable for a developer to request their architect to come up with a unique design since as time passes by, the housing deficit keeps reducing so there will come a time where the design will be the single most important factor in attracting good rents.

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