How does architecture take part in creating investment profit?
Construction in Serbia is at an all-time high, which all the participants agree with. Architecture inevitable takes part in the creation of profit. However, in these market circumstances, the influence of architecture on the profit is not that visible. That is why the wider public and the clients often see architecture as a decorative instrument, and not as an all-encompassing articulating factor of all the aspects of the investment, which it is by definition, Lela Alempijevic, a partner and the Chief Executive at the Zabriskie design studio, says for eKapija.
The Zabriskie design studio primarily does commercial architecture, designing residential and office complexes, and the projects they have been involved with are the subject of the client`s investment cycle. As our interviewee points out, the clients therefore often have two ultimate requirements.
– The first is for the design to feature a maximum number of sold square meters in line with the urban planning regulations, and the second is for the set ratio of typologies, arising from the market demands, to be achieved – she says.
It often happens, she adds, that an architectural analysis of a location shows that, if the design does not feature the maximum number of square meters that can be sold, better functional solutions can be achieved.
– However, so far it has not happened that the client agrees to lower the number of square meters up for sale in order to emphasize other qualities. The market is the reason, as the price of land has the biggest impact on the price of a square meter, while the quality of space has a far lower impact. The other reason is that the demand exceeds the supply, so everything that`s built is usually sold – Alempijevic said.
– All these circumstances result in the fact that there`s plenty of generic architecture in this design sector at the moment, the kind of architecture that is the result of simple market calculations. Us architects eagerly await the changing of the market circumstances in the future, when investors will compete for a sold square meter, which will make the quality of spatial organization and materialization, the implementation of new technologies and the language of modern architecture and trends recognized as crucial moment for the creation of profit, as is the case in economically more developed areas. That moment is certainly coming to Belgrade too, and our studio is working on being ready when it comes – Alempijevic says.
Lela Alempijevic (Photo: Stefan Kršanin)
There`s a growing trend of building tall facilities in Belgrade, and as Alempijevic says, it is largely a consequence of a lack of free locations and an increase in the price of land, making the construction of tall buildings inevitable in large cities.
– The biggest advantage of living or working in tall buildings is that people`s activities are raised above the zone of noise and pollution, making the view more attractive as well, but also removing people`s activities from the ground. Removing oneself from the ground and the nature, the relation toward open spaces and the question of the possibility of social integration while maintaining personal distance between the users will certainly be the new topics in the light of the Covid epidemic. Investors and architects alike should recognize this and provide answers to users` demands brought about by Covid, concerning housing, business operations, public and all other urban functions.
When and to what extent Belgrade will be exposed to the new global trends remains to be seen, but many topics, including these, concern urban plans. We have witnessed the cases when plans are changed to meet the demands of the capital. Such efforts are valid, because a city is an economic entity as well, Alempijevic points out.
However, it is very important for this not to exclude the questions of context, that is, a healthy premise for the facility which will enable various activities, animating an entire neighborhood with new architecture, features and functions which raise the use value and with that, indirectly, the value of the capital invested, in the long term, Alempijevic says.
It is well known that there are buildings in Belgrade which are successfully articulated themselves, but do not fit the surroundings and are not accepted by the community.
– It could be said that each new building in the city enters a dialogue with its surroundings. It can take the form of a conflict which stimulates changes, a conflict which closes new possibilities, or unconditional acceptance by the environment. Architects and architecture play a big role here, especially since the clients are not immediately aware of this aspect through the economic input factors, as it becomes relevant only when the exploitation of the facility in its environment starts, but it certainly has an influence on the profit – Alempijevic says.
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