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Designer buildings: estimating the economic value of ‘signature’ architecture


  • Franz Fuerst
  • Patrick McAllister
  • Claudia B Murray


This study investigates whether commercial offices designed by ‘signature architects’ in the United States achieve rental premiums compared with commercial offices designed by nonsignature architects. Focusing on buildings designed by winners of the Pritzker Prize and the Gold Medal awarded by the American Institute of Architects, we create a sample of commercial office buildings designed by signature architects, drawing on CoStar’s comprehensive national database. We use a combination of hedonic regression model and a logit model to estimate the various price determinants. The results of the hedonic analysis suggest that, compared with buildings in the same submarket, office buildings designed by signature architects have rents that are 5% – 7% higher, and sell for prices 17% higher. The results from the second-stage logit estimation suggest a rental premium of approximately 5% for signature architects in large architectural practices, while the sales-price premium identified in the first stage hedonic regression was not confirmed.

Suggested Citation

  • Franz Fuerst & Patrick McAllister & Claudia B Murray, 2011. "Designer buildings: estimating the economic value of ‘signature’ architecture," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 43(1), pages 166-184, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:43:y:2011:i:1:p:166-184

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Manhattan Profits (Part II): Return on Investment for a Superslim Skyscraper
      by Jason Barr in Skynomics Blog on 2017-11-27 02:19:24


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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Nancy Holman, 2018. "Distinctively Different: A New Approach to Valuing Architectural Amenities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(608), pages 1-33, February.
    2. Jason Barr & Jennifer Johnson, 2020. "Skyscrapers and the Happiness of Cities," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 344-377, April.
    3. Aydin, Yusuf Cihat & Mirzaei, Parham A. & Akhavannasab, Sanam, 2019. "On the relationship between building energy efficiency, aesthetic features and marketability: Toward a novel policy for energy demand reduction," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 593-606.

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