21 December 2012

Wright House in Phoenix saved; Hadid to design Miami condo building

David Wright House
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy emailed Christmas cheer to their supporters yesterday: it has facilitated the purchase of the David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix, Arizona, through an LLC owned by an anonymous benefactor.

The transaction closed on December 20 for an undisclosed price. The property will be transferred to an Arizona not-for-profit organization responsible for the restoration, maintenance and operation of the David Wright House.


After renowned architect (“starchitect”?) Zaha Hadid joined other notables and made her imprint on Miami Beach with a municipal parking garage in the Collin’s Park area, she has been commissioned to design a residential tower in Miami, her first in the western hemisphere.

The project – no details available yet – will be located on 1000 Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami, west of Bicentennial Park and the Bay and just south of MacArthur Causeway which connects Miami with Miami Beach.

Google street-view  shows currently a BP station at the site, right next to Miami Pawn. But surely the Hadid name will guarantee the developers of 1000 Biscayne Tower adequate pricing of the units.

Hadid, mentioned in this blog in the two-part post “Modern Architecture in the Alps”, is an Iraki living in London. Only recently she had lost an intense competition to design an office on 425 Park Avenue in New York City to Sir Norman Foster. An overview of her work is at arcspace.

07 December 2012

South Florida Housing Market in October

Sorry for being a bit later than usual with the October data; I had to revise the numbers not once but twice.

As you see below, like in previous months the economic oddity of low inventory paired with flat prices continued in October. 

Palm Beach asking prices for single family homes went through the roof, but caused nothing but frustrations – like in previous months, buyers were not impressed and sat on their hands.  

The PB county gap between sellers' expectations and buyers' willingness reached an astonishing 208%, the second highest score since 2008. In Jan-Mar '12 it was even higher at 213% and then it didn't work either. As a result, absolute selling prices and SP per square feet dropped.

Broward county sellers were much more modest – the gap is at 155%, practically the same as in September, and promptly selling prices saw a slight increase. In the meantime, Miami-Dade county wobbled along, sort of a mix between Broward and Palm Beach. 

The table and the chart for single family home sales in Southeast Florida for the month of September:

South Florida housing market data by real estate broker Tobias Kaiser

South Florida housing market data by real estate broker Tobias Kaiser

South Florida home sales October 2011-2012, Source: SEF-MLS, ©tckaiser/modernsouthflorida.com

Slowly I am running out of ways to describe a flat market. And as the Holiday season is here, if past years are an indicator November and December are going to be even flatter (and more difficult to describe?).

Leaves me only to wish you a nice weekend enjoy the Holiday Season, hopefully not in a mall.

Oscar Niemeyer, Brazilian Modernist, 1907-2012

Oscar Niemeyer

"The last Giant of the Architectural Modern Movement", Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, died Wednesday.

Niemeyer – with German ancestry – was not only the last living modernist master, like Le Corbusier and other of his contemporaries he was convinced that the world can be improved through architecture. (A bit similar to Prince Charles' architectural amibitions, but on a different level and without historic aping). 

Jörg Häntzschel in the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung admiringly states that Niemayer seemed to be able to negate gravity. He constructed huge apartment buildings on columns as slender as a woman's legs. Curvy paths lead from one floor to the other like connecting clouds. Railings were superfluous. 

Niemeyers buildings, over 600 commissions in total, were famous for their sensousness and their utopian abundance. He once commented the curves typical for his buildings were inspired by those of his wife. 

Now architect Architekt Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho passed away 10 days shy of his 105th birthday on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro.

A slideshow of his best-known works can be seen at Architectural Record.

Fotos: Reuters