Building for the future
Symbolic of London's continuing dynamism, traditional areas of the English capital are undergoing major regeneration to create vibrant new residential districts offering 21st century lifestyles.
Reflecting the evolution, the sites involved are often in prime locations - central, riverside and close to famous landmarks and attractions - and are being redeveloped in a way that promotes architectural excellence and respects the best environmental principles.
On the south bank of the Thames, less than a mile from the Houses of Parliament and just across the water from Chelsea, Riverlight will occupy a coveted riverside location as part of the first phase of one of Britain's largest regeneration projects.
At the heart of a brand-new district, about 75 per cent of the development will be dedicated to open space and private gardens to maximise the views and sense of greenery. Each building will have its own signature colour and external lighting features. Taken together, these will give the London skyline another landmark and create an iconic look that represents the latest concepts in urban living.
'This is the first development to start construction work in the Nine Elms Regeneration Area,' says Alex Finch, director of Jones Lang LaSalle, which is marketing one of the buildings, Riverlight Three, in Hong Kong. 'What makes it especially distinctive is the architect, Richard Rogers, the vast river frontage, and the planned range of amenities for residents.'
Finch notes that the ground-breaking ceremony took place early last month, and work duly proceeded for the excavation of the basement car park. In line with the schedule, Riverlight Three will be completed in the summer of 2015 and is guaranteed to catch the eye, with its glass external lifts, landscaped water features and full-height glazing.
The initial release for presales includes a choice of sizes and layouts. There are four duplex units at ground level, about 190 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, and 14 special suites or penthouses.
All the apartments will have private outdoor terraces, creating an integrated living area where it is possible to make full use of inside and outside space. Floor-to-ceiling windows enhance that feeling of openness, filling each main room with natural light.
This principal theme of brightness and modernity continues throughout. The fitted kitchens will be custom-designed with extra wide worktops of composite stone. Integrated appliances, supplied by Siemens, will include a combi oven, microwave, fridge freezer, dishwasher and washer/dryer. As standard fittings, there will also be a larger electric oven, four-ring induction hob, stainless steel sink and Gaggenau wine cooler.
Each bathroom and en suite will be similarly stylish, with white Villeroy & Boch, and Kaldewei sanitary ware plus custom-made moulded basins and countertops. Half-height tiling, mirrored wall panels, back-painted glass and heated walls will all add subtly to the sense of luxury and comfort. As with the kitchens, a choice of colour schemes will be available.
The main living areas and bedrooms will come with natural wood floors and carpets, complementing the sleek look elsewhere, while there are also underfloor heating and cooling systems.
And confirming the architect's environmental credentials, heating and hot water will come from an energy-efficient heat and power centre.
'To guarantee security, first of all there will be a hands-free video door-entry system,' Finch says. 'But the development will also have CCTV coverage, 24-hour concierge services, and a secure fob entrance to each building, as well as the car park.'
Offering a 'third space' other than home and work, an exclusive clubhouse for residents will be the place to relax, exercise, socialise and find entertainment only a few steps away. The designs include a swimming pool, fully equipped gymnasium, spa, private screening room, library and a 'virtual' set-up to work on one's golf.
'The Riverlight development is an architectural classic of the future,' Finch says. 'The surrounding landscape has been designed to create a strong identity and a sense of place, while blending into the wider area. Rental yields of about 5 per cent can be expected based on today's market and prices, but they are forecast to increase ahead of the date of completion.'