In the real estate market

The real estate market

Housing selling price is not only related to construction costs. Land value, financial and marketing costs, and other variables directly or indirectly affect its economy. Location–closeness to services, public transportation, an area’s desirability–is definitely one of the most catalysing factors. Municipal regulations related to land use, and other specific policies such as landmarks, affordable inclusion, first-home subsidies, and regeneration policies also can affect selling prices.

In the last years, real estate has taken an increasingly bigger share of metropolitan economies. In some places, interest rates have been as low as to allow for rents to pay for mortgages, making housing markets boom. Housing has become commodified, home is not only a place to live but also an investment. This process impacts the relationship of inhabitants and their neighbourhoods.

If a house is no longer only a place to live, but also an object of economic transaction, how does this affect its architecture? Real estate has shaped cities since their origins. If current market dynamics remain, can speculative schemes push for housing innovation? Otherwise, could design strategies alter market dynamics?

Design Operations


These projects take location as the defining real-estate factor and reap their value so as to maximize the urban profit. In a central plot of land, the ground is excavated in order to maximise the usable area. In a suburban setting by a canal, the connection through water reconfigures the existing housing type, providing alternative transportation solutions for the city.

Project Descriptions

10- Connectivity / “Villa Archipelago”- Suzhou

The roads of the lakeside villa compound are replaced by canals connecting to the underexploited water transport infrastructure of the city.

Each plot within an archipelago can become an island in its most exclusive form, maximising security. Waterfront living reimagines blocks and units through their proximity to various types of water transport.

Original Project: Waterfront villa compound, Suzhou.

11- Centrality / “Courtyard Drill”- Suzhou

Expanding existing compounds below ground allows the densification of an area while complying with height restrictions.

Connecting to underground infrastructure such as transport increases the value of the estate and diversifies the uses as new urban centres emerge.

Original Project: Typical Villa Compound, Historical City Centre, Suzhou