The Balcony Factor

by Steve Van Derodar

Mixed-use L’Arbre Blanc tower | Photo via Steve Derodar

Sometimes, the most obvious is seldom talked about — not that they aren’t that important, but because almost everybody understands its reall value in residential spaces. I am referring to balconies. Having a balcony is an obvious bonus to property owners in real estate properties due to an added space, but it comes with added cost. Understandably, not all buildings must have balconies as building design is restricted to its project development or could be by building regulations.

You can just imagine your connection to the open-air just within your domain. Again, it is available in the market, but some could also see it as not fundamental to a unit. Its availability in the market may be common, but some treat it as a luxury. Often, we say that to have a balcony, that person must be of upper limits of both choice and judgment, agreeing that a balcony is a distinct character in one’s property. A balcony is a platform outside a building, enclosed by walls or balustrades, supported by columns or console brackets. The platform is projecting from the wall of a building, usually above the ground floor. Balconies are typically small, and their use is not for social spaces or entertainment. For every added square meter area, one’s property can raise its price tag just as valuation is in real estate.

A balcony serves several purposes. The first one is acting as a space enlarger. Isn’t it that properties with balconies just look more prominent and, to some extent, expansive. Many outdoor activities are possible, plus the fact that sunlight, the breeze of air, and a perspective of views are appreciated. The difference between a terrace and a balcony is where they locate them to the building to which they are attached. A balcony is usually off an upper floor space. A terrace refers to a flat platform, patio, or something that serves as an outdoor living space; therefore, its use is in the rooftop terrace.

“The difference between a terrace and a balcony is where they locate them to the building to which they are attached. A balcony is usually off an upper floor space. A terrace refers to a flat platform, patio, or something that serves as an outdoor living space; therefore, its use is in the rooftop terrace.”

Truthfully today’s architects come up with the most intriguing balconies. Interestingly some developments capitalize it as a design attraction while offering a specific lifestyle promise. For example, such a L’Arbre Blanc tower in the south of France, a mixed-use building highlights balconies in its architecture designed for housing, a restaurant, an art gallery, offices, and a bar with a panoramic view and a common area. From the project’s concept phase, Montpellier’s tradition of outdoor living greatly inspired architects.

Its architect describes their work: “In this city with a Mediterranean climate, it is warm enough to eat outside even in the winter, so the local residents spend a lot of time on their balconies and outdoor terraces. The new typology I proposed in this plan, calling for an over 50-meter-high building, was inspired by this type of climate and lifestyle. The idea is extremely simple. Countless, huge balconies extend from the 17-floor apartment building. The structure is linked to a riverside greenbelt, and I did my best to block the sight light from surrounding buildings while giving the volume an organic form. The hundreds of balconies combine with the curved form of the structure, giving the overall building a distinctive appearance, like a huge tree.”

It added, “In a sense, combining an apartment building with balconies is a very common and conventional technique, but by contrasting the climate, lot, and balconies, it is possible to invent a new, contemporary architectural form. The various lives that spill out onto the balconies create the form of the building, and in the truest sense, this defines the regional identity.”

Generally, as balconies in residential buildings worldwide can mean added costs to both developers and unit owners, certain developments selectively include them accordingly. They measure the additional space as an exclusive space to owners versus a shared space which means that it counts towards the size of the acquired property. Well, if they are part of the design, it serves both functional and aesthetic attributes to the building and, without a doubt, can serve as an attraction in any given property.

Personally, the thought of a balcony is always inviting, and many are willing to pay the price to attain its many benefits. Our concept of balconies is also about maximizing the views, especially in buildings near the waters, beautiful sceneries, and even in metropolitan districts.

“Balcony views is special because they provide an outlook on your environs from above. You may not have a stunning mountain vista or water lapping in a lake below, but there’s something unique about a balcony perspective. You see further and become a quiet observer rather than a participant in the scene.”

— Carolyn Frith, content consultant

In Manila, where large buildings are, balconies are so precious that it becomes synonymous with status. As a property seller myself, realizing a big balcony in a high-end building was breathtaking. It probably had the most extensive balcony in the entire building. In one high-end property in Bonifacio Global City, a client of mine was decided to purchase the unit on the 33rd floor with a wrap-around balcony, which can be called a terrace that was about 100 square meters in extra space.

There are often several rules and restrictions regarding the use and upkeep of a balcony. Especially in major developments, the use of a balcony comes with a set of guidelines to its use. Though, it is common knowledge that almost anything is possible with it, including furniture, plants, etc. Partying on the balcony is entirely allowable in most cases, providing you adhere to the noise and behavior regulations that apply to any residential dwelling and respective of its neighbor’s right to quiet enjoyment.

Growing up in a French-designed two-story house with a balcony, in fact, a terrace, I have always appreciated our balcony. It was just totally a great place to bring friends on different occasions, enjoy direct sunlight, and the flexibility to design space for whatever activities throughout the year. It indeed is an oasis in the comfort of our home. We have had countless memories on our balcony, and it was integral to our family life. However, we repurposed it when we extended our house to a 3rd floor relocated the balcony to the top floor for better views.

According to Carolyn Frith, a content consultant who owns Carolyn Frith Marketing, “Balcony views is special because they provide an outlook on your environs from above. You may not have a stunning mountain vista or water lapping in a lake below, but there’s something unique about a balcony perspective. You see further and become a quiet observer rather than a participant in the scene.”

Balconies are playful, dramatic, relaxing, and just whatever possibilities a balcony can be to you. As they say, a balcony is what you make of it.


(Stevenson’s experience in Philippine Real Estate spans more than 15 years. He has been involved in horizontal, vertical, vacation, and commercial properties. He has worked as an International Property Specialist to markets in Asia, Europe, and North America with Ayala Land, Federal Land, and Century Properties. Through PhilHouseHunters, he offers real estate investment opportunities, marketing, and consultancy with a key focus on Metro Manila and Mega Cebu areas. Visit www.philhousehunters.com. Email at derodarsales@gmail.com.)

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