Archives For October 2013

Construction, or assembly rather, has begun on the new ‘N’Habit: Belltown apartments. Whereas building a traditional apartment complex can take years, the new 49-unit building is expected to be complete in just 7 months thanks to modular development.

Before being craned into place, each unit was pre-assembled in a factory (a process that only takes 10-11 days per unit) and arrived complete with plumbing, wiring, fixtures, cabinets, appliances, and floor coverings.

“Similar to how manufacturing-based efficiencies advanced the aerospace and automotive industries, modular construction is setting a new standard in the development industry as the better way to build,” the ‘N’Habit website explains.

Sources: Curbed, SeattlePI

Photos: Charter Construction. 

Screen shot 2013-10-15 at 12.26.37 PM

Who rules your “Internet Empire”?

Mark Graham and Stefano De Stabbata, researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute, have created a map to help you answer this very question. By resizing each nation to reflect the number of Internet users and displaying their most popular website, the map provides a geographical look at the global internet sovereigns.

While Facebook comes in second, it is clear that Google reigns supreme as the most popular site in North America, Europe, and parts of south Asia.

“The power of Google on the Internet becomes starkly evident if we also look at the second most visited website in every country,” Graham and De Stabbata write. “Among the 50 countries that have Facebook listed as the most visited visited website, 36 of them have Google as the second most visited, and the remaining 14 countries list YouTube (currently owned by Google).”

In order of popularity, the most visited websites per country are as listed:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. Baidu
  4. Yahoo!
  5. AlWatan Voice
  6. Mail.ru
  7. VK
  8. Yandex

But why does this matter?

According to Graham and Stabbata, this data may be more significant than we realize:

We are likely still in the very beginning of the Age of Internet Empires. But, it may well be that the territories carved out now will have important implications for which companies end up controlling how we communicate and access information for many years to come.

This article can be found in its original form at The Atlantic

Rendering of the Citadel, via Newstudio

In 2014 Dutch developers ONW/BNG GO will begin construction on the world’s very first floating apartment complex. The Citadel will consist of 60 luxury units in a high density arrangement (30 units per acre of water). It is the first project in the area dubbed ‘New Water’, designed by Netherlands based firm Waterstudio.

According to their site, Waterstudio is “confronting the challenge of developing solutions to the problems posed by urbanization and climate change”:

The prognoses is that by 2050 approximately 70% of the world’s population will live in urbanized areas. Given the fact that about 90% of the world’s largest cities are situated on the waterfront, we have arrived to a situation where we are forced to rethink the way we live with water in the built environment. Considering the unpredictability of future developments and unanticipated needs, we should come up with flexible strategies––planning for change. Our vision is that large-scale floating projects in an urban environment provide a tangible solution to these problems that is both flexible as well as sustainable.

The Citadel will be built on a polder, a recessed area below sea level where flood waters settle from heavy rains. There are approximately 3,500 polders in the Netherlands which are continually pumped dry to keep flood waters from destroying nearby homes and buildings. The New Water project will be constructed in dry dock and is designed to float after the area is re-flooded.

The complex was also designed with an emphasis on sustainability. With greenhouses, water cooling techniques, and aluminum facade, the Citadel is estimated to use 25% less energy than a conventional land-locked building.

For design renderings of the Citadel, check out the gallery below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sources: Gizmag, Inhabitat, and Waterstudio.NL.

A Bathtub With a View

Househappy —  October 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

medium_af1f940e-d432-46a0-866e-d3df179ea637If we were to purchase a property based solely on the bathrooms––it would definitely be this Mediterranean Malibu home.

Can you blame us? Who wouldn’t want to soak in tub surrounded by floor to ceiling windows on 3 sides? Is there any better way to enjoy a panoramic view of the Pacific ocean?

And, of course, coming in close second is the guest bathroom, complete with whimsical “under the sea” mosaic.

Bathrooms aside, however, this 3,000 square foot home also boasts video monitored security, surround sound, and a variety of green features including a photo-voltaic solar system.

On the market for $2,450,000, the 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home is listed by Eytan Levin with The Levin Group.

This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below. 

stock-footage-turning-on-faucet-slow-motionThere is much to be said for the wisdom of experience. Fortunately for first time homebuyers, Apartment Therapy has gathered the knowledge of seasoned pros to create a list of 10 Things To Check Before You Buy a Home. Though some of these may sounds like simple suggestions, you might be surprised at the money it can save you in the long run!

1. Check the drains: It is not uncommon to find a backup somewhere between the house and the sewer line. Whether from a tree branch or a collapsed pipe, these issues are hard to spot until you run a load of laundry, fill the tub and sinks, and let them attempt to drain simultaneously.

2. Open all the windows: Replacing windows isn’t fun or cheap. Open them all to find out if they stick, are stuck, or simply won’t open.

3. Turn on the faucets: Changing faucets isn’t necessarily difficult, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to check before buying.

4. Light a fire in the fireplace: Know the state of the chimney. Do they need to be cleaned? Do they draft correctly?

5. Taste the water: Even if your city has great water, the age of a home’s pipes can certainly affect the quality. Know ahead of time whether you will want to install a whole house filter.

6. Flush the toilets: Knowing that all the toilets in the home can handle toilet paper is a bonus. Although they’re easy enough to replace or fix, finding ones that flush well are a bonus. If you’re dissatisfied they could issue you money back to make the replacement in order to complete the deal.

7. Open the electrical panel: Look for loose wires or ones that simply don’t connect to anything. It could signal that there’s live wires inside the walls.

8. Turn on the heat/air: Knowing that both of these things work prior to actually needing them can be a serious bonus. Check to make sure they blow their respective temperatures in addition to just turning on.

9. Pull the carpet back: Find out what’s underneath. You’ll want to know if there is any mold or mildew under the carpets; Or, on the flip side, you might just find some beautiful hardwood floors. Most homeowners will have a section of carpet removed in a closet to allow you to see the condition of the floors below.

10. Check for basement moisture: Although most home inspectors will sniff this one out for you, it’s smart to look for signs of dampness. Even if the walls aren’t apparently wet, telltale signs include dehumidifiers, bucks of silica, or other things that grab moisture from the air and keep it at bay.

This post can be found in its original form on Apartment Therapy

GM Building

General Motors Building, Manhattan (Mario Tama/Getty Images via NPR)

Manhattan’s General Motors Building is a 50-story marble wonder, occupying a full city block at 5th Avenue and 59th Street. Considered one of the most valuable office towers in the United States, a large piece of the GM Building was purchased by a Chinese developer in May 2013––the latest example of how the U.S. real estate market is heating up for Asian investors.

From Park Avenue Plaza to the U.S. Bank Building, Asian investors are purchasing premier properties from New York to Los Angeles including office towers, luxury hotels, and high-street retail. According to Dan Fasulo, the managing director of Real Capital Analytics, foreign investment from Asian countries has totaled about $7 billion in 2013 so far, already almost doubling last year’s total of $4.3 billion.

For many, this surge is reminiscent of the late ’80’s, when Japanese investors made a succession of high-profile, inflated purchases from Rockefeller Center to Pebble Beach Golf Course, and were subsequently hit with big losses as the market crumbled soon after. But this new wave of investors have done their homework, says Christopher Ludeman, head of Global Capital Markets at CBRE Group.

The Chinese in particular do a tremendous amount of research and are careful investors, he says. This new wave is mindful of the Japanese experience but ultimately they are investors flush with cash who are ready to diversify––and the U.S. market is looking pretty good.

This article can be found in its original form at NPR.org

medium_07e0ce41-ae42-47f0-b321-4c5a82448c09

79095 Tom Fazio Lane North, La Quinta, CA

Noted architect Guy Dreier is not known for his conventional designs (the L.A. Times once described a Dreier house as resembling “a wayward space station”), and this Coachella Valley home is no exception.

From the moment you enter––on the glass bridge, mind you––it is clear that Dreier has a flair for the dramatic. Measuring 8,346 square feet, this 5 bedroom, 5.5 bathroom home features a custom contemporary fireplace, wet bar and formal dining complete with suspended buffet, and a towering breakfast room that shares a fireplace with the gourmet kitchen. Oh, and let’s not forget the custom pool, waterways, waterfall, and lagoon… Because I think we can all agree that a house is not a home unless it comes equipped with a lagoon.

For golf enthusiasts, however, I imagine this home’s best attribute is its proximity to Tom Fazio designed golf course the Quarry, ranked by Golf Digest as one of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. With an outdoor fireplace, custom fire pit, and grilling station, this home is perfect for outdoor entertaining while enjoying views from the 16th hole.

79095 Tom Fazio Lane North is listed by Valerie Neuman of HOM Sotheby’s International and is on the market for $3,995,000.

This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below.