Courtesy PlansMatter
Courtesy PlansMatter

This Vacation Rental Site Will Let You Stay in a Frank Lloyd Wright House

Courtesy PlansMatter
Courtesy PlansMatter

Architecture nerds need never stay in a poorly designed vacation rental again. Co.Design tipped us off to Plans Matter, an Airbnb-like rental service that’s specifically geared toward helping you stay in architecturally notable homes.

The list of vacation rentals available reads like an architecture nerd’s fever dream. Want to spend a few nights in a Frank Lloyd Wright home? You’ve got seven to choose from, including the Kinney House pictured above. What about a building designed by the famous light artist James Turrell? Or maybe you’d prefer a penthouse apartment designed by Rudolf M. Schindler, a pioneer of Southern California Modernism?

The listings are all sourced by the site’s creators, architects Connie Lindor and Scott Muellner, and approved by the company’s advisors, architect Julie Snow (who designed the cabin below) and the designer and museum director Andrew Blauvelt. So you can be sure that you're actually choosing from residences with a top-notch architectural pedigree, not just a fancy McMansion that looks good in pictures.

A cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows looks out over a moonlit lake.
Courtesy PlansMatter

For the most part, non-millionaires will never be able to live in a home designed by a world-renowned architect. A Frank Gehry house can go for as much as $24.15 million. A penthouse designed by the legendary I.M. Pei is selling for $9.6 million. The Vanna Venturi House, by the postmodern icon Robert Venturi, sold for $1.35 million in 2016, and that was after a dramatic price drop.

While staying in a Frank Lloyd Wright isn’t your average bargain Airbnb, it’s no more expensive than a nice hotel (or a cheap one in a high-priced area like New York City). One of Olson Kundig’s pretty Rolling Huts cabins in Washington can be yours for as little as $135 a night.

For an architecture buff, these places are worth planning an entire vacation around.

[h/t Plans Matter]

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iStock
India's Supreme Court Demands That the Taj Mahal Be Restored or Demolished
iStock
iStock

The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognizable monuments on Earth, but over the years it's started to look less like its old self. Smog and insect droppings are staining the once pure-white marble exterior an unseemly shade of yellow. Now, The Art Newspaper reports that India's Supreme Court has set an ultimatum: It's threatening to shut down or demolish the building if it's not restored to its former glory.

Agra, the town where the Taj Mahal is located, has a notorious pollution problem. Automobile traffic, factory smoke, and the open burning of municipal waste have all contributed to the landmark's increasing discoloration. Insects and acid rain also pose a threat to the facade, which is already crumbling away in some parts.

India's highest court now says the country's central government must seek foreign assistance to restore the UNESCO World Heritage Site if it's to remain open. Agra's state of Uttar Pradesh has taken some steps to reduce pollution in recent years, such us banning the burning of cow dung, which produces heavy brown carbon. In 2015, India's Supreme Court ordered all wood-burning crematoriums near the Taj Mahal to be swapped for electric ones.

But the measures haven't done enough to preserve the building. A committee led by the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpu reportedly plans to investigate the exact sources of pollution in the area, a process that will take about four months. The Supreme Court plans check in on the status of site every day from July 31.

Air pollution isn't the only factor damaging the Taj Mahal. It was constructed near the Yamuna River in the 17th century, and as the water gradual dries up, the ground beneath the structure is shifting. If the trend continues it could lead to the building's total collapse.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

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Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen
Norway Opens Another Spectacular Roadside Bathroom
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen

Norway’s National Tourist Routes will change how you think about rest stops. As part of a decades-long program, the Norwegian government has been hiring architects and designers to create beautiful roadside lookouts, bathrooms, and other amenities for travelers along 18 scenic highways throughout the country. One of the latest of the projects unveiled, spotted by Dezeen, is a glitzy restroom located on the Arctic island of Andøya in northern Norway.

The facility, designed by the Oslo-based Morfeus Arkitekter, is located near a rock formation called Bukkekjerka, once used as a sacrificial site by the indigenous Sami people. The angular concrete and steel structure is designed to fit in with the jagged mountains that surround it.

The mirrored exterior wall of the bathroom serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it reflects the scenery around the building, helping it blend into the landscape. But it also has a hidden feature. It’s a one-way mirror, allowing those inside the restroom to have a private view out over the ocean or back into the mountains while they pee.

The newly landscaped rest area near the bathroom will serve as an event space in the future. The Bukkekjerka site is already home to an annual open-air church service, and with the new construction, the space will also be used for weddings and other events. Because this is the Arctic Circle, though, the restroom is only open in the late spring and summer, closing from October to May. Check it out in the photos below.

A bathroom nestled in a hilly landscape
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Hugo Fagermo / Statens vegvesen

The mirrored facade of a rest stop reflects concrete steps leading down a pathway.
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Hugo Fagermo / Statens vegvesen

A person stands outside the bathroom's reflective wall.
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Hugo Fagermo / Statens vegvesen

A wide view of a rest stop at the base of a coastal mountain
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Trine Kanter Zerwekh / Statens vegvesen

[h/t Dezeen]

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