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10 Houses Painted in Protest

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OnlineAthens.com

Homeowners who paint their houses unusual colors, like Mr. Plumbean in this classic children's book, are sometimes doing it just for fun. But sometimes their motivations are all about making a statement or getting revenge. Spiteful paint jobs are a common way for people to get back at strict city ordinances, historical commissions, homeowners' associations, bigoted neighbors and even banks. And like spite houses, they're fun to look at. Here are a few examples.

1. Topeka, KS

Image credit: courtesy of Gawker

Gawker reports that an activist group has purchased a house across the street from Westboro Baptist Church, which has gotten national attention for its vehement anti-gay activities as well as the anti-gay slogans posted on signs on its property. Now church-goers will have a house-sized gay symbol to look at every Sunday morning: The owners are painting the new house to resemble a rainbow flag.

2. Cape Cod, Mass.

The owners of this historic house applied for permits to alter the building, but they were repeatedly turned down. According to a 2010 article from the Cape Cod Times, they denied that they commissioned the garish green and yellow update to get revenge, but it seems a clear case of a spiteful paint job.

3. Lubbock, Texas

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The city cracked down on the landlord of this house for allowing unrelated occupants to live in it together. So the landlord thumbed his nose at the city by painting the brick house purple, with black and yellow polka dots. Eventually, though, the landlord settled with the city and agreed to return the house to its original color.

4. Edenton, N.C.

Image credit: Courtesy of WVEC.com

A development company reportedly painted this house yellow with purple stripes in 2011 to express frustration over a dispute with their bank, according to local news outlet WVEC. When neighbors protested, the owners hastily painted over the bright colors with white paint.

5. Thorntown, Ind.

An Indiana homeowner was insulted when town officials accused him of neglecting his child. He posted angry signs in his windows, painted odd designs on his house and filled the yard with outrageous lawn ornaments like a boat and a giant styrofoam alligator.

6. Avondale Estates, GA.

Image credit: Courtesy of 2Dorks

A homeowner in Georgia, denied permission to change the front steps of his house, painted the whole thing bright green with purple spots to get revenge on the local Historic Preservation Commission. The Los Angeles Times reported that many neighbors painted purple dots on their own houses in sympathy. Within a month, the mayor overruled the earlier decision and the owner was able to alter his front steps.

7. Napa, Calif.

In 2010, a Napa resident spray-painted expletives all over his home’s exterior in an attempt to send a message to employees of the gas station next door, who he complained were using their leaf blower too late in the evening. (Napa city ordinances prohibit businesses from using noisy equipment after 9 p.m.—the neighbor claimed that he heard gas station employees working with the leaf blower at 10.) A code enforcement officer for the city said there wasn’t much they could do: “It’s his own property and he has the right to paint it,” she told the Napa Valley Register.

8., 9. Cambridge, Md., and Bradenton, Fla.

 

This is awesome!! The American flag house pictured above is located in Cambridge, Maryland, and its owner, Branden...

Posted by Beth Mansfield on Saturday, April 26, 2014


In 2013, this photo of a home in Cambridge, Md.—and the alleged story behind the patriotic paint job—went viral. According to the rumor, its owner was told to take down an American flag he had flying in his yard, and, in protest, painted his entire house red, white, and blue. In reality, the reasons for the makeover weren’t quite as patriotic—the homeowner was actually protesting the historical code after building inspectors told him that his restored Victorian’s windows weren't in compliance. 

In Bradenton, Fla., last June, a Florida man outfitted his home in the stars and stripes after he was cited for several local code violations, including peeling paint, a lack of window screens, and trash in the yard. Officials first noticed that his house was in violation after they received an anonymous complaint that his 15-foot Christmas tree had fallen over in the front yard. 

10. London, England

The owner of a townhouse in London’s posh Kensington neighborhood—worth £15 million—hired painters to give her residence candy stripes after neighbors blocked her plans to demolish the building and, in its place, build a brand-new home boasting a two-story basement with a pool. Unless she repaints, the Chelsea and Kensington neighborhood councils have threatened to prosecute under a section of a local act that states that a property’s condition should not “adversely affect the amenity of the area.”

 

Portions of this post originally appeared in 2013.

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FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images
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Design
China's New Tianjin Binhai Library is Breathtaking—and Full of Fake Books
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FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A massive new library in Tianjin, China, is gaining international fame among bibliophiles and design buffs alike. As Arch Daily reports, the five-story Tianjin Binhai Library has capacity for more than 1 million books, which visitors can read in a spiraling, modernist auditorium with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Several years ago, municipal officials in Tianjin commissioned a team of Dutch and Japanese architects to design five new buildings, including the library, for a cultural center in the city’s Binhai district. A glass-covered public corridor connects these structures, but the Tianjin Binhai Library is still striking enough to stand out on its own.

The library’s main atrium could be compared to that of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City. But there's a catch: Its swirling bookshelves don’t actually hold thousands of books. Look closer, and you’ll notice that the shelves are printed with digital book images. About 200,000 real books are available in other rooms of the library, but the jaw-dropping main room is primarily intended for socialization and reading, according to Mashable.

The “shelves”—some of which can also serve as steps or seating—ascend upward, curving around a giant mirrored sphere. Together, these elements resemble a giant eye, prompting visitors to nickname the attraction “The Eye of Binhai,” reports Newsweek. In addition to its dramatic main auditorium, the 36,000-square-foot library also contains reading rooms, lounge areas, offices, and meeting spaces, and has two rooftop patios.

Following a three-year construction period, the Tianjin Binhai Library opened on October 1, 2017. Want to visit, but can’t afford a trip to China? Take a virtual tour by checking out the photos below.

A general view of the Tianjin Binhai Library
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman taking pictures at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A man visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman looking at books at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

[h/t Newsweek]

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Pol Viladoms
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architecture
One of Gaudí's Most Famous Homes Opens to the Public for the First Time
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Pol Viladoms

Visiting buildings designed by iconic Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí is on the to-do list of nearly every tourist passing through Barcelona, Spain, but there's always been one important design that visitors could only view from the outside. Constructed between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens was the first major work in Gaudí's influential career, but it has been under private ownership for its entire existence. Now, for the first time, visitors have the chance to see inside the colorful building. The house opened as a museum on November 16, as The Art Newspaper reports.

Gaudí helped spark the Catalan modernism movement with his opulent spaces and structures like Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and La Sagrada Familia. You can see plenty of his architecture around Barcelona, but the eccentric Casa Vicens is regarded as his first masterpiece, famous for its white-and-green tiles and cast-iron gate. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Casa Vicens is a treasured part of the city's landscape, yet it has never been open to the public.

Then, in 2014 the private Spanish bank MoraBanc bought the property with the intention of opening it up to visitors. The public is finally welcome to take a look inside following a $5.3 million renovation. To restore the 15 rooms to their 19th-century glory, designers referred to historical archives and testimonies from the descendants of former residents, making sure the house looked as much like Gaudí's original work as possible. As you can see in the photos below, the restored interiors are just as vibrant as the walls outside, with geometric designs and nature motifs incorporated throughout.

In addition to the stunning architecture, museum guests will find furniture designed by Gaudí, audio-visual materials tracing the history of the house and its architect, oil paintings by the 19th-century Catalan artist Francesc Torrescassana i Sallarés, and a rotating exhibition. Casa Vicens is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. General admission costs about $19 (€16).

An empty room in the interior of Casa Vicens

Interior of house with a fountain and arched ceilings

One of the house's blue-and-white tiled bathrooms

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

All images courtesy of Pol Viladoms.

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