Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pre-Fabricated Construction

Although pre-fabricated construction has been deployed for centuries around the world, only now it is gaining traction tremendously.
In a nutshell pre-fabricated construction is the practice of manufacturing the components of a structure (such as walls, floors and roofs) at a factory, and the transporting them to the construction site where they are assembled to create a couple structure after the foundation has been built onsite.

In this way pre-fabricated construction distinguishes itself from the more conventional practice of transporting raw materials (such as cement and steel bars) to the construction site where they are mixed with other materials and / or modified.

Pre-fabricated construction is ideal for sites where storage area is limited, due to size of the plot or because of a lack of open space around the construction site , and can be utilized for building houses, hospitals, offices and factories.

The Advantages of pre-fabricated construction include:

  • ·       For the most part it is cheaper than traditional construction, as labor costs and construction time are substantially lower.
  • ·       Components are manufactured at a factory, so the need for form work shuttering and scaffolding is greatly reduced onsite. This ensures strict quality control and easier manageability.
  • ·       Wastage of material is reduced due to better quality of control; pilferage is also reduced as it is more likely to occur at an open construction site.

The disadvantages of pre-fabricated construction include:
  • ·       Greater expertise is required to make sure that the components are fixed perfectly; otherwise air leaks can occur inside the structure which can result in a host of issues such as water seepage and increased heat. Similarly heavy duty cranes are required to handle and assemble the components require expertise.
  • ·       If building components are manufactured far away from the construction site, transportation costs can sometimes be higher.

Ultimately, pre-fabricated construction is quicker and more cost effective compared to traditional construction. And with rising construction costs, it is something that developer should consider utilizing.

Friday, July 12, 2013

4 Easy Tips for Investing in a Commercial Property

Investing in commercial property is an option that many investors considers from time to time as a way to expand their asset portfolio. Commercial property options for investors usually includes office spaces, retail spaces, stand alone shops and vacant plots.

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a commercial property:

Location. Owning a retail space in certain commercial areas can net in higher rentals and their value also increases at a higher rate. Choose a commercial area where the value and demand of shop is high; shops located among main roads have more visibility, accessibility and are therefore better options. If possible, purchase a commercial property that is located in a specialized pocket such as tailoring hub, computer market or a food street; demand for property there is usually higher.

Weigh your options carefully. Buying a retail space in a mall is a better option than a standalone shop, since retail spaces in malls offer facilities such as security, utilities and a higher number of customers. Similarly, the resale value and the rental yield of an office space are higher when compared to those of a retail space.

Renovating and Reselling. Retail spaces and standalone shops that are sold as many empty spaces (without any renovation work or fittings) are slightly cheaper than those which have been customized according to the kind of business they were being used for.
Therefore, a good option to consider is purchasing an empty space, renovating it, and then selling it for a higher price or renting it out at higher rate.

Vacant Plots. Purchasing a vacant commercial plot in an area that is being developed usually proves to be a lucrative option in the long run because its value and demand increases faster than that of a built-up property.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Latest Five Star Hotel Room Designs

For 15 years the European hotel design awards have promoted architectural excellence in hotel design by inviting entries from the world's leading hotels and designers for 13 categories which includes best lobby and public areas, cafe's and restaurants and bathrooms and bedrooms.

This year the Award introduced a new category called the Sleep Hotel Best Room Design. Teams were required to create a five star model guest room in a undisclosed European hotel near the coast, where the mountains served as a backdrop; designers were evaluated on the basis of how in tune they were regard to meeting the needs of a typical hotel guest.

At a glittering ceremony in London last month, "Shaded White Room" by Scott Browning and Wilmort Dixon Interiors, a UK based design agency was the unanimous choice for best design in the category
The room exhibited a minimalist theme and featured a restrained colour palette; the dominant white contrasted with shades of grey and black. Technology was incorporated in the form of mounted and freestanding IPads with which guests could not only communicate with the reception, but also control lighting levels, blinds and the entertainment system from any part of the room. (These features could also be accessed with a conventional control pad mounted near the bed).

The scenic mountains were made the primary focal point of the room by ensuring that the bed faced them. The minimalist theme was also evident in the bathroom where straight lines and textured tiles accomplished raised glass panels that allowed natural daylight to sleep in. That even the bathroom featured a surround placed on both luxury and technology.

By winning the award for the Sleep Hotel Best Room Design, "Shaded White Room" showed how hotels and guests prefer the comforts of a minimalist room armed sparingly with technology to more opulently furnished living room styled suites. It might just be a star, but it would not be a surprise to find hotel rooms designed in a similar fashion in the future.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Opening up to the Courtyards: An Essential Part of a House

Have you noticed how many functions these days are hosted in spaces that are enclosed on almost all sides but open to the sky? From Bollywood scenes of Haveli Weddings, to book space the courtyard is one architectural space that is certainly in fashion.
The Sharjah Biennial, one of the region's premiere cultural events (being held this year from March 13), is also using the courtyard as its theme. According to the curator, Yuko Hasegawa, the courtyard is where public and private life come together and new ideas can be discussed and pondered over; the choice of the courtyard as the theme for the event established the idea that the Biennial is the place were eastern and western ideas of art, culture, architecture and society can come together to initial a dialogue on learning.
The view reflects how the courtyard has spanned all cultures for as long as people have lived in constructed buildings. In ancient Rome  they were called 'atriums', although the term is now used exclusively to refer  to courtyards with glass ceilings; in the Subcontinent, most houses were (and many still are) built with a Sehan in the center where family members , especially women, could gather in peace and privacy away from the outside world ; in China the 'siheyuan' refers to a similar space, surrounded by a conglomerate of houses, often featuring gardens or fountains to inspire thoughts of peace and tranquility. And across the Islamic world, the courtyard is an essential component of almost every mosque - the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore features the largest courtyard of any mosque in the world.
These days, courtyards are used in many other ways as well; in 'Marina' style houses across California where a community of households share a private outdoor space; in college dorms as recreational areas where temporary residents can meet; or as a place where experience and experimentation can converge, like at the Sharjah Biennial

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Remarkable Traditionalist: World's Pioneer in Skyscraper Architecture

A few years ago after it was completed, Cass Gilbert wrote to a friend about how he wished he had never built the Woolworth building. In his words, "Whatever it may be in dimension and in certain lines, it is after all, only a skyscraper."
Born on November 29, 1859, Cass is now considered a pioneer in Skyscraper architecture and was one of the world's first celebrity architects, counting among his peers Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van Der Rohe and Robert Venturi.
Unlike his peers, however, Gilbert stayed away from the modernist and post-modernist debate that would grip architecture in the mid 20th century. Instead, Gilbert believed that architecture's purpose was grander than the intended use of a structure; that a structure must bestow on its occupants, surroundings and even the city it resided in, a purposeful dignity and identity.
Thus when Gilbert envisioned the US Supreme Court Building, he imagined a place which would resoundingly echo the importance of the American Constitution, a document that claims inspiration from Plato's The Republic.
Built in an imposing beaux-arts meets neo-classical style, the pantheon shaped building with its tall columns echoes the tone of the inspiration on its pediment, 'Justice The Guardian of Liberty'. In effect, the building embodies the American sentiment that their republic is the ideological heir of Greek democracy and Roman organization.
The Supreme Court building was Gilbert's last major project, completed a year after his death in 1934. However, the intentions and style of the man who saw "early Romanesque cathedrals" in Beethoven's symphonies and "old Gothic windows" in Mozart's works, is evident in all his buildings.
Unfortunately, by the mid 20th century, modernism had gripped the world; Gilbert's designs were described as simply "classically competent" and his name disappeared into obscurity for a half century. But as a new generation of architects in training is looking back at how cultural identity has evolved in architecture, the words of The Times of London on his death continue to ring true, that Cass Gilbert was "the most remarkable architect of his generation in America."

England's Greatest Gardener

To Lancelot Brown, the value of an estate rested in its 'capability' for landscape improvement, hence why today he is better known as 'Capability' Brown. He was also probably England's greatest Gardner and is credited with fashioning over 170 of the 18th century's most remarkable gardens. In doing so he demonstrated how far landscape architecture could boost the appeal and value of a traditional estate.
Brown initially trained under William Kent who pioneered the English Landscape Garden as distinct from the French Formal Garden which was in fashion at the time. Where the French Gardens exhibited order over nature thanks to stairways that led to carefully sculpted hedges surrounding a central fountain, Kent's gardens were inspired by nature and featured lawns surrounded by droves of trees usually in front of a pond or lake.
Brown took the idea further by removing all unnatural structures that preceded the gardens and replacing them will rolling lawns punctuated by clumps of trees opening up carefully to reveal gazebos, temples or bridges, before spreading out towards invisibly dammed streams and lakes.
Brown envisioned the layout of his gardens to echo the sprawling English countryside and in many ways, considered dotting a landscape to be similar to using grammar in language.
As he said, "Now there I make a comma, and where a more decided turn is proper, I make a colon; at another part, where an interruption is desirable to break the view, a parenthesis; now a full stop, and then I begin another subject."
One of the Brown's most famous works includes Longleat, an estate that is currently home to the Marquesses of Bath. Originally planned in grids featuring foliage and mazes fashioned out of the hedges, Brown replaced the majority of the plan with vast undulating spreads of grass and roads that weaved through the landscape, making the estate appear much larger than it actually is.
The same technique was employed in the redesign of the grounds of Higher Castle, the venue of the critically acclaimed TV show Downtown Abbey. Those grounds, dotted with beech, oak and cedar trees were once complimented by British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli who said, "How scenical, how scenical"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Commercial Property in Eastern Karachi For Five to 10 million Rupees

There are several popular commercial hubs n the east side of Karachi, Pakistan that provide a variety of commercial property options such as office space, retail outlets, showrooms and standalone shops. The demad for, and value of, commercial property that has increased by nearly 15 to 20% in the last three years.

Here are three areas where commercial property is in high demad and is available within a price tange of five to 10 million rupees:

1. Gulshan-e-Iqbal comprises several blocks and has numerous commercial pockets. Shops, offices and showrooms are located in malls and low-rise beauty salons, eateries, home stores, retail outlets and wedding halls.
popular commercial areas include those located on: Rashid minhas Road and University Road.
Outlet sizes range between: 100 and 600 square feet.
2. mohammad Ali Society is located a few minutes away from Sharah-e- Faisal. Most retail and office spaces there can be found in low-rise buildings; over the years several eateries have been established there.
Popular commercial areas include: Dhoraji Market and those located on Karsaz Road and Tipu Sultan Road.
Outlet size range between: 100 and 600 square feet.
Price range: Rs. 15,000-100,000 per square foot.
3. Tariq Road and its adjucent areas are popular shopping destinations; the area comprises traditional bazaars, shopping centres and malls. Fabric stores, tailors, jewlers, shoe shops and automobile workshops dominate. There are also plenty of eateries ranging from restaurants to raodside dhaabas.
popular commercial areas include: Bahadurabad, Sharfabad, Sindhi Muslim Socienty and those located on Khalid Bin Waleed Road, Shaheed-e-Millat Road and Tariq Road.
Outlet Sizes range between: 100 and 600 square feet.
Price Range: Rs. 15,000-100,000 per square foot.