Alexander Labas. City of the future. 1935
So, a multifunctional residential complex is an ensemble of buildings in which, in addition to ordinary residential apartments, there are available areas intended for commercial activities, that is, non-residential premises. However, according to the international classification, an ordinary apartment building with retail space located on the ground floor cannot claim the proud title of a multifunctional complex..
MFC is a more global phenomenon and in Western countries it is customary to call mixed-use complexes only those real estate objects that include retail, entertainment, office, hotel, administrative and residential premises. That is, according to market experts, only those objects where there are all the above types of real estate can apply for the title of a multifunctional residential complex; territory of the complex.
In our country, so far, only single residential complexes can be called truly multifunctional, offering their inhabitants not only residential apartments, but also a developed infrastructure. Typically, such complexes specialize in two areas, so shopping and residential complexes, hotel and business, shopping and entertainment, office and business ensembles have received great development. Combinations of residential and hotel or office direction are much less common.
The construction of such large-scale facilities, combining several functions, requires the developer and designer to be especially attentive to the implementation of all safety rules, sound and noise insulation. There are also special requirements for the layout of the buildings themselves: a clear division of entrances into separate ones for the flows of residents and for visitors of the complex’s facilities, the presence of aboveground and underground parking, as well as the allocation of convenient unloading areas for retail outlets.
According to the construction method, multifunctional residential complexes can be divided into two main types:
- erected in the city center, the so-called vertical multifunctional complex;
- located outside the city limits, horizontal complexes.
Multifunctional complexes being built in the central districts of the megalopolis, where land plots are unusually expensive, tend to place the maximum usable area in a rather small area, that is, they maximize the height.
Christopher St. Leger. Outcrop. 2005
The advantages of such multifunctional residential complexes include:
- benefit for the developer. Typically, residential premises located on the ground floor of an apartment building are not in great demand and are sold out much more slowly than other apartments. In addition, if the first floor is allocated to technical premises, this will reduce the useful area of the building, which could be sold as non-residential premises or apartments;
- reduction of utility bills for residents. In the IFC, most of the payment for consumed electricity, water and heating falls on the shoulders of commercial companies and organizations that lease or buy non-residential areas, which allows to reduce the cost of utilities for ordinary citizens inhabiting the complex;
- the opportunity to work, rest and live in the same area. The main, very tangible advantage of living in a multifunctional complex is the absence of the need for daily trips to work, a supermarket or an entertainment center. The developed infrastructure of the multifunctional complex saves residents from standing in traffic jams and saves a lot of time. However, only those residents of the complex who have actually found work nearby, or even in the same house where they live, can take advantage of this advantage;
- proximity to the center of the metropolis, convenient transport interchange.
The disadvantages of the MFCs located in the center include:
- lack of a local area. A small plot of land does not allow for a playground, park area or sports ground, so that the inhabitants of the multifunctional complex find themselves surrounded by a typical urban landscape;
- the high cost of housing and commercial space. The developer’s substantial costs associated with the acquisition or lease of an expensive land plot, the expensive construction of a high-rise building, as well as the prestige of the central districts, greatly increase the prices for apartments, flats and retail space;
- lack of facilities such as schools, kindergartens and clinics. That is, residents of a vertical multifunctional complex will still have to get out of their territory in order to visit these institutions that are so necessary in everyday life;
- not every person likes living on the 30th or even 50th floor, such a significant “separation from the ground” can cause discomfort;
- the combination of commercial property intended for the entertainment sector and residential premises can, if improperly planned, create an additional source of noise and irritation.
The most striking example of a vertical multifunctional complex in Moscow is the City of Capitals, which consists of two towers of 76 and 65 floors. An extremely prestigious location, a variety of functions, elite apartments have made this MFC the most pretentious and “promoted” construction project in the capital. The cost of 1 square meter of housing can reach 25 thousand dollars, while at the moment about 70% of the living space has already been sold, which indicates a fairly high demand for such real estate.
Horizontal multifunctional complexes are located mainly on the periphery, on the outskirts of megalopolises, have a sufficiently large territory, so that the developer does not need to increase the number of storeys of buildings. The prototypes of such multifunctional complexes are ordinary urban micro-districts that appeared in all major cities of our country in the middle of the last century..
Bill Tolley. Gone fishing. 2004
It is such a multifunctional complex that really corresponds to the “city within a city” principle. The advantages of horizontal MFCs are:
- a large well-equipped adjoining territory, most often the buildings of the complex are located at a fairly large distance from each other;
- the presence of their own administrative, public buildings;
- high level of landscaping;
- remoteness from noisy highways;
- availability of all the infrastructure necessary for families with children – kindergartens, playgrounds;
- relatively low cost of apartments and commercial real estate.
There are not many disadvantages of such a multifunctional complex:
- distance from the center. Although, if the IFC is sufficiently equipped, then its inhabitants do not often need to visit the central districts, however, the offices of large companies, state, government agencies are still for the most part located in the center of the metropolis, so the citizens working there will still have to make fairly long daily trips;
- the construction of such a multifunctional complex requires careful planning and usually provides for the differentiation of buildings intended for shopping and entertainment centers and residential apartment buildings; any planning flaws can cause discomfort for residents.
One of the examples of a horizontal multifunctional complex is the “Baltic Pearl” – a huge territory (land plot area of 205 hectares), located in the Krasnoselsky district of St. Petersburg and intended for 35 thousand people. This “city within a city” will have 1 million square meters of residential real estate and over 600 thousand square meters of commercial space.
Unfortunately, at present, most of the complexes that appear on the outskirts of cities cannot claim the title of multifunctional and assume the presence of only residential apartments and several retail outlets, so there is no need to talk about the presence of many functions of such residential ensembles..
It is worth noting that although the variety of premises with completely different purposes allows both horizontal and vertical residential complexes to be called multifunctional, they have very large differences and completely different target audience..
If in the central districts of megalopolises it is mainly top managers, large leaders and officials who want to provide themselves with a place of residence as close to work as possible (and thanks to high real estate prices, only very wealthy citizens can buy an apartment in vertical MFCs), then horizontal multifunctional complexes are more democratic and designed for families with children.