Business management & development

Right: The Makers MUD in Shoreditch, London, by Avanti Architects.

Opening page: The Makers is a quintessential MUD structure, with a mixture of public, residential and commercial uses.

how to make economies of big buildings work is MUDs,” says Todd Lundgren, EMEA managing director of CallisonRTKL. “There is still an interest in creating iconic large developments, and vertical MUDs can create real value.”

Back in the east When a large development relies solely on a single tenant type, the entire building is at risk if that sector slows down. Covid has left many cities with swathes of empty retail and offices. MUDs can reduce risk and create a localised ecosystem that feeds off itself and operates more like a circular economy – homes bring residents and hotels bring guests, each in turn delivering a ready-made audience to local amenities. “There are so many advantages for developers in

having multiple users in a high-rise building,” says Lawrence Adams, principal at hospitality design firm Forrest Perkins, which specialises in luxury and landmark hotels, resorts, spas and multi-residential projects worldwide. “The result is always greater than the sum of the parts.” Adams has more than 40 years’ experience in the

design of large-scale development projects. Most recently, he directed the design of the adaptive reuse of an iconic mid-century high-rise for the 326-room Westin Dallas Downtown Hotel, which opened in 2015. “Land assembly is more efficient: there can be

shared parking and other amenities, as well as shared financing and construction costs,” he remarks. “If one component underachieves then the development benefits from others that can pick up the slack. If one element of a MUD is not working, then the development as a whole does not fail. They also fit with the ‘live, work, play’ trend in urban planning, helping people to avoid the commute to work.” The trend for high-rise MUDs began in Asia, where China has led the way, and the Middle East is now a


hotbed for development too. The concept is inexorably working its way westwards towards Europe and the US. “We did a lot of work in China during the last global recession,” says Lundgren, who has been working on such projects for the last 15 years. “Every city wanted tall buildings to create the volume developers wanted, but few cities wanted 60-storey residential buildings, so they became MUDs.” Located in dense urban areas where land costs are

high – which justifies the spend on complex buildings – high-rise MUDs are the focus of growing interest in the US, and the UK already has some notable examples, not least The Shard.

Shard of an idea From a 1970s office block to a landmark on the London skyline, The Shard was designed as a vertical city where people could live, work and relax. It is comprised of world-class offices, award-winning restaurants, the five-star Shangri-La Hotel, exclusive residences and the UK’s highest viewing gallery. “The jury is still out on whether The Shard is an

economic success,” says Lundgren. “There are fewer constraints in China and the Middle East, but in any location it is about curating the different elements to create synergy.” In the UK’s second city, Birmingham, the £360m

Curzon Wharf will be the world’s first MUD with a net- zero carbon master plan. Backed by the Woodbourne Group, a master plan of almost one million square feet will transform the urban neighbourhood and incorporate life sciences R&D capacity, as well as residential, retail, office and community elements in a city centre site currently occupied by industrial units originally constructed in the 1960s. It will be home to a 53-storey built-to-rent structure, a 41-storey student accommodation tower, and 14 storeys for co-living.

Hotel Management International /

Jack Hobhouse

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