By  Francesc Domingo, Associate Director (Architecture)

What on earth is the value of space? Well, in architecture, almost everything we do is committed to maximize the value of every square meter. In today’s economies, escalating land prices perpetually squeeze “space makers” to maximize and rationalize the use of physical space. But it’s not just about the square meterage and function; it’s about creating spaces that are more beautiful, livable, sustainable and desirable. In our post-pandemic society, there is a strong demand for quality outdoor, healthy, naturally ventilated space. Space value can be dramatically boosted by designing healthy places to connect people, embrace culture, inspire emotional responses and create enjoyable human experiences. These “intangibles” are higher than ever on the aspiration list of commercial architects.

…pumping up the value proposition with healthy, socially vibrant, culturally relevant design

One exciting example is a new retail/entertainment development we are designing in Jeddah, KSA (Saudi Arabia). Initially, the 23,000 sq.m. project took the form of a simple 3 story indoor retail building comprising luxury shops, cinema, food & beverage outlets. Although viable and efficient, all parties felt a more vibrant, indoor /outdoor retail environment would bring more value to this competitive market.  New planning formats were explored with the client, increasing the emphasis on food and leisure enjoyment. It was as an opportunity to re-envisage the project and “pump up” the value proposition with healthy, socially vibrant, and culturally relevant design.

The original scheme was re-imagined and re-massed into a contemporary village streetscape evocative of the vernacular Hijazi and Albalat architectural heritage of the region. The project transitioned into a human scale collection of indoor/outdoor spaces, streetscapes, courts, and terraces, all enhanced with natural water and landscape accents. Double-layered facades inspired by traditional Arabic Mashrabiyas were composed to cool the inner passages and celebrate Jeddah’s iconic “wind balcony” heritage facades in a very contemporary way. The new urban form enhances pedestrian visibility and flow, and offers many more opportunities for relaxed social engagement,  brand activation, seasonal events and celebrations.

Although the overall GFA (gross floor area) and FAR (floor area ratio) of the project decreased, the new scheme increased the total amount of leasable area, and leasing efficiency. By skillfully arranging horizontal and vertical spaces while maintaining functionality and user comfort, approx. 1,100 sq. m. or nearly 8% of the site coverage area, was added to the program. The net leasing space efficiency increased from 66% to 71%, by adding 600m sq. m. of tenant space. In response to high demand for outdoor terraces, these external tenant areas were doubled in quantity from 1,720 to 3,450 sq. m.  Exterior air-cooling technologies, retractable shade structures and enhanced natural ventilation systems are all being designed to optimize the comfort, useability, and value of exterior spaces.

We are very excited by the result of this re-design. It is more sustainable and user-friendly and provides many more engaging pedestrian environments. Efficient space planning and human scale architectural massing activates vibrant & useable outdoor spaces, incorporating ample green space and enhancing the overall user experience. The relaxed streetscape evokes a rich sense of contemporary culture inspired by the past, whilst the façade materiality, textures and use of light & shade are more visually exciting. With this new thinking, the project’s value proposition is greatly improved and will help to maximize financial returns for investors.

Link : https://mailchi.mp/concepti.com/the-value-of-space