We may not have flying cars yet, but a new residential construction project going up in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., may make you think otherwise.
The Porsche Design Tower will feature an elevator to lift owners — and their cars — to their front doors in seconds. A co-production of developer Dezer Properties and Porsche Design Group, the retail-oriented spin-off company of the luxury German carmaker, it will be the first residential project affiliated with the Porsche name. These car-friendly condos will range from $2.9 million to $9 million.
“You will drive into the building, onto the elevator ramp, shut the ignition off and be magically whisked to the front door of your apartment in 45 seconds to a minute and 15 seconds depending on what floor you’re on,” explains Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Properties. The elevator will cover all 57 floors and include technology that automatically identifies the car and the unit owner once both are on board.
It’s just one example of how modern design aesthetics have coupled with technology to birth innovative, cutting-edge homes that not so long ago would have been reserved only for the sets of films like "Minority Report" (or TV shows like "The Jetsons").
We rounded up a selection of futuristic abodes that challenge traditional McMansion layouts. Some are relatively new homes designed with green living in mind while others are the decades-old brick and mortar visions of celebrated artists. Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Coldwell Banker Previews International, Sotheby’s International Realty and others helped us sort through listings to handpick the sleekest, most avant-garde, in some cases zaniest, homes on the market. They conjure images of science fiction lore, and in many cases, have actually been rented out by movie and television studios for that express reason.
Perhaps not surprisingly, many architecturally famous homes fall into this category. For example, the Gantert Residence, also known as “Case Study House #22,” graces our list. Constructed in the early 1980s, it was the last Pierre Koenig house constructed while the architect was still alive. The $2.3 million Los Angeles residence with its boxy upper floors and cantilevered base gives the impression of a residence floating, appearing “as a giant Cubist sculpture from Hollywood Boulevard,” according to its listing.
California has many ultra-modern abodes up for grabs, particularly in Southern California. “The trend in real estate right now is demand for contemporary homes,” says Chad Rogers, a real estate agent with Hilton & Hyland in L.A. (and formerly one of the stars on Bravo’s TV show "Million Dollar Listing"), noting that many of the most modern-looking structures tend to be "smart homes," fitted to be energy efficient, as well. “People want easy living and these properties afford that: clean lines and open space so you can move about your house without having to go through a bunch of rooms.”
Rogers, who has listed a smattering of futuristic properties including a $9.5 million Malibu eco-estate, currently represents a $10 million Hollywood Hills mansion forged of steel, glass and concrete. The 10,000-square foot structure was built originally as an art gallery with live-in space. In addition to the stone display-ready walls, it boasts a home theater, a pool and 12-person spa, a koi pond and a detached guesthouse. The kitchen is comprised almost entirely of stainless steel, designed by Porsche Design Group.
“These concrete and steel properties are the most expensive type of architecture to build,” says Rogers, noting that foreign investors have shown much buying interest in ultra-modern estates. “To duplicate a property like this you’re looking at a minimum of $1,500 per square foot to do it.”
Constructing architecturally outrageous homes can rack up costs. Take the Pottery House in Santa Fe, N.M. Originally the brainchild of Frank Lloyd Wright, the adobe dwelling’s construction was resuscitated in the 1980s by a developer eager to complete the project that had been designed by the famed late architect but never finished (the original owner had passed away). The builder reportedly ran out of money mid-construction and with no buyer in sight, the bank assumed ownership. Eventually the current owners bought the foreclosed estate, which is now listed for $4.75 million, and finished it.
The Pottery House’s design hinges on concentric circles. About 24,000 adobe bricks make up the structure and Scandinavian ship builders were actually brought in to craft the ceiling. “It has a sort of mystique. Prior to listing, this house seemed more like a local rumor,” says David Fries, an associate broker with Santa Fe Properties and the listing agent for the Pottery House. It had remained quietly tucked away behind multiple gates in an anonymous subdivision. “Even if someone could get their hands on the address, it no longer really relates to where it’s located since no one could really find the place without directions and gate codes.”
Fries and Rogers both think their listings will ultimately sell to affluent buyers who collect art or at least appreciate architecture as an art form. Some of the homes on our list will require buyers to appreciate geometry as well. A $19.5 million Vermilion, Ohio, spread called the Waterwood Estate is comprised of a series of triangular and rectangular buildings parsed together along the shore of Lake Erie. In Crystal Bay, Nev., a $43 million Dr. Seuss-esque house touts walls of glass, a glass elevator, a six-story glass stairwell and hidden garden rooms, all suspended off the edge of a promontory.
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