Worth Slideshow

The Top 10 Residential Buildings in the World

By Spencer Bailey

From Manhattan to Malmö, we scoured the world’s metropolises in search of their most desirable residential buildings. The result? Proof that, even in a tough economy, great architects don’t abandon creative daring, visionary developers still build bold designs and wealthy buyers continue to pay high prices for distinctive homes. Here are 10 of the world’s coolest places to live.

1. One57, New York

Designed by Paris-based architect Christian de Portzamparc, One57 will become a Manhattan landmark in 2013, when it welcomes its first occupants. At 90 floors and 1,004 feet tall, the curvy glass skyscraper will be New York’s tallest residential building (though its lower floors will be designated a 210-room Park Hyatt). In the building’s first six months of sales, about half of its 92 units sold, including the 10,923-square-foot duplex penthouse for more than $90 million, or $13,000 per square foot—a city record. The apartments—whose kitchen stoves are wok-ready—should be particularly appealing to international buyers, who’ll appreciate the concierge services provided by the hotel and unparalleled Central Park views.

Address: 157 West 57th Street • Website: one57.com • Floors: 90 • Units: 92

2. One Hyde Park, London

Located in central London’s affluent Knightsbridge neighborhood, the 86-unit One Hyde Park—designed by local firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners—has attracted high-profile buyers such as the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, who paid over $220 million in 2010 for a 25,000-square-foot penthouse. Luxury brands have set up shop there too: McLaren and Rolex are among the ground-floor retail shops. Amenities include catering by Mandarin Oriental, a 68-foot-long lap pool, an 18-seat cinema, a gym, a squash court and temperature-controlled wine cellars.

Address: 100 Knightsbridge • Website: onehydepark.com • Floors: 14 • Units: 86

3. Opus, Hong Kong


The 141-foot-tall, 12-floor Opus is Frank Gehry’s first residential project in Asia. Perched high above the city, Opus consists of 10 single-floor apartments, each of which occupies 6,000 to 6,900 square feet, plus two double-level garden apartments with private swimming pools. With boat deck–style balconies and wraparound windows, the nature-inspired structure emerges from its lush surrounding landscape via a Spanish stone façade, then corkscrews upward. Its greatest perk: a rooftop terrace with three swimming pools.

Address: 53 Stubbs Road, the Peak • Website: opushongkong.com • Floors: 12 • Units: 12

4. Absolute Towers, Mississauga

Mississauga, a Toronto suburb of about 715,000 people, may not be on the maps of most jet-setters, but now that it’s home to the two voluptuous, spiraling Absolute Towers, it should be. Designed by the 37-year-old Beijing-based architect Ma Yansong and his rising-star firm, MAD Architects, this project was the first international commission for a Chinese architecture firm. One building is made up of 56 floors and 427 units, the other 50 floors and 453 units. Yansong’s creations, which cost a combined $180 million to construct, take elegant forms unexpected of skyscrapers. Buyers seem to agree: When the first tower went on the market in 2007, it sold out in 24 hours.

Address: 60 Absolute Ave. • Website: absolutecondos.com • Floors: 56, 50 • Units: 427, 453

5. HSB Turning Torso, Malmö

The completion in 2000 of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s five-mile Öresund Bridge—connecting the industrial port city of Malmö, Sweden, to Copenhagen—spurred development in Malmö. Calatrava followed up his bridge by designing the region’s coolest residential building: the 623-foot-tall, 54-floor HSB Turning Torso skyscraper, completed in 2005. Featuring a 90-degree twist, the sculptural glass-and-aluminum structure is built around a core pipe more than 35 feet in diameter; the exterior walls are some eight feet thick at the base and narrow to around 16 inches at the top. Turning Torso is powered entirely by locally produced renewable energy.

Address: Lilla Varvsgatan 14 • Website: turningtorso.se • Floors: 54 • Units: 147

6. Vitra, São Paulo

The first building in South America by architect Daniel Libeskind (who developed the master plan for rebuilding New York’s World Trade Center site), Vitra , which does not yet have an opening date, will include 14 apartments—one 6,080-square-foot unit on each floor, plus a 12,300-square-foot duplex penthouse. The glass building, whose 18 floors will rise 252 feet, is located in São Paulo’s high-end Itaim Bibi district. Libeskind says that its dynamic jagged forms are inspired both by Brazil’s natural beauty and São Paolo’s ambition “to be the New York of the 21st century.”

Address: 500 Rua Horácio Láfer • Website: edificiovitra.com.br • Floors: 18 • Units: 14

7. Linked Hybrid, Beijing


New York architect Steven Holl’s 2.3-million-square-foot, 644-unit Linked Hybrid complex, which was completed in 2009 and includes a café, gallery, hotel, cinema, kindergarten, Montessori school, swimming pool and gym, suits the massive ambitions of its fast-growing home city. As a response to the surge of private developments in Beijing, Holl wanted Linked Hybrid to be “porous,” inviting the public to travel around, inside and underneath it. The mixed-use project, which combines shops, public gardens and a “sky loop” with eight connected residential towers, is also a superior example of green design: 655 geothermal wells located as far as 328 feet underground cool the buildings in the summer and heat them in winter.

Address: 1 Xianheyuan Road • Website: stevenholl.com • Floors: 21 • Units: 644

8. Aqua, Chicago


Located in the Lakeshore East development downtown, the 876-foot-tall, 82-floor Aqua tower is the masterwork of local architect Jeanne Gang, principal and founder of firm Studio Gang Architects. Now two years old, the wave-shaped skyscraper includes a 215-room, $125 million Radisson Blu hotel, opened last November; retail and office spaces; 474 rental units; and 262 condominiums including penthouses on the uppermost floors and nine townhouses at the podium. The tower’s defining element: its curving, finlike concrete balconies, some of which extend as far as 12 feet and many of which overlook Millennium Park.

Address: 225 North Columbus Drive • Website: aqua-condos.com • Floors: 82 • Units: 745

9. Millennium Tower, San Francisco


At 60 floors and 645 feet, the Millennium Tower in San Francisco’s South of Market district is the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi—and at $600 million, the most expensive. Designed by Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects and opened in 2009, the tower houses 419 apartments ranging from 750 to 6,000 square feet; a 20,000-square-foot club with a lap pool, terrace, fitness center and wine cellar; and celebrity chef Michael Mina’s RN74 restaurant. Venture capitalist Tom Perkins, who paid $9.35 million in 2009 for a 4,800-square-foot penthouse, and former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, who rents, both reside there.

Address: 301 Mission Street • Website: millenniumtowersf.com • Floors: 60 • Units: 419

10. Apogee, Miami


Located on the southernmost tip of South Beach and opened in 2007, the 67-unit Apogee has quickly become home to celebrities such as basketball coach Pat Riley and tennis player Anna Kournikova. Located in the chic “South of 5th” neighborhood, Apogee is all about location, amenities and view: Each unit, for example, has a private, air-conditioned garage. Its Penthouse A, a triplex acquired by a European buyer for $11.5 million in 2011, features 360-degree views of the Atlantic, Biscayne Bay and the city. It also has a rooftop pool, a private elevator, two kitchens and 11,000 square feet of terrace. The owner put it back on the market in April. The asking price? $25 million.

Address: 800 South Pointe Drive • Website: apogeemiami.org • Floors: 22 • Units: 67