Routes to and roots of luxury apartments in Johannesburg
Fine & Country South Africa specialises in the luxury property sector in Johannesburg and other South African cities and suburbs where upscale real estate is the norm, rather than the exception. Our speciality properties include smallholdings, country and lifestyle estates, freehold homes of luxurious proportions, cluster homes, high-end townhouses, and apartments or flats.
Luxury, in and around a major sophisticated city like Johannesburg, is a very objective concept. Your idea of what’s lavish, opulent, and grand may be completely different from that of the next person. It really all depends on what one is accustomed to and that to which one aspires – in this case, a home, be it an enormous mansion or a somewhat more compact apartment of a more conveniently manageable size.
Nonetheless, there are numerous features that regularly crop up amongst the must-have luxuries that affluent people list as characteristics which are most desirable in upmarket homes, keeping in mind that fashions and trends change and come and go throughout the years in the property market. Likewise, lists of luxury appointments in the residential sector are subject to change too, irrespective of whether the home is a palatial house or a sectional title unit with an aspirational address.
Roads leading to Rome
Surprisingly, flats are nothing new. At one or another stage, all roads led to Rome, and this even applies to some of the routes associated with modern Johannesburg. The ancient Romans were and are still renowned for their inventions and innovations, many of which involved civil engineering marvels and advanced construction works, including blocks of apartments – stacking one series of dwellings atop another.
Such wooden, brick, and concrete dwellings were by no means extravagant or luxurious, but provided mass housing solutions for the lower, poorer classes in the rigidly enforced Roman class system – a far cry from the luxury sectional title units in modern Johannesburg.
As far as is known, their practice of building multi-layered residential blocks dates back to 300 BC, and they reached heights of 12 stories by 100 BC. Always mindful of aesthetics, the Roman authorities subsequently imposed height restrictions of about 4-5 stories. This was, however, only applicable to buildings’ frontages; rear elevations weren’t subjected to the same regulations.
Chic Parisian luxury
The once-mighty Roman Empire declined and fell. Centuries later, Paris became the fashion capital of the world and the indulgent, Parisian luxury lifestyle became desirable, likewise the popularity of luxury apartment living and was adopted in major cities in other countries, notably in New York and eventually, in Johannesburg too.
The word “apartment” is derived from the French “appartement” and Italian “appartimento” – both meaning “a separated place”.
The route to New York
During the second half of the 19th century, a pair of forward-thinking American architects recognised that apartments would provide New Yorkers with ideal housing solutions in a city that was already densely populated and still growing.
They persuaded one of their richest fellow countrymen, Rutherfurd Stuyvesant, to approve, fund, and construct the city’s first apartment block, which was named after him. The Stuyvesant residential units would become associated with the upper classes because of the famous names on the building’s tenant/occupant list.
In the mid-1970s, Johannesburg’s first cylindrical residential 54-storey, luxury residential skyscraper, Ponte, was opened to admit wealthy tenants, offering them almost unheard-of opulence and extravagance. Sadly, its esteemed status was not to last.
However, nowadays, in the first quarter of the 21st century, Johannesburg’s affluent, most sought-after suburbs continue the ever-popular trend that favours and features luxury apartment buildings, carefully situated in the select, most well-heeled areas that surround this world-class city.
Location is integral to sustain the enduring investment value of these opulent homes. Fine & Country South Africa is a specialist in the high-end property sector and is, therefore, integral to your property quest for luxury apartments in Johannesburg.