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The 7 Most Expensive Homes in the World

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While many of us live our lives in a small hovel we call home, there are plenty of others at the opposite end of the spectrum, living in some of the world’s most fantastically expensive houses. Some of these properties are available on the open market—if you have enough money. Some are not. But all of them join a unique club of some of the world’s costliest places to live.

7. The Penthouse, One Hyde Park, London - $220,000,000

A two-floor, six bedroom apartment overlooking Hyde Park may well be, per square foot, the most expensive property in the world. Those living in The Penthouse (as it’s often called) at One Hyde Park are presumed to be keen to protect themselves: One of the notable elements of the apartment is that every window is fitted with bulletproof glass.

6. No. 6 Palace Green, Kensington Palace Gardens, London - $222,000,000


The Steeple Times

This property, bought by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, one of the world’s richest men, set him back $222 million in 2008. Mittal knew what he was buying: He also purchased two other houses on the street known to locals as Billionaire’s Row. No. 6 Palace Green went back on the market in 2012.

5. Fairfield, Sagaponack, NY - $248,000,000


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The Hamptons is known as an expensive neighborhood at the best of times. The estimated value of Fairfield, Ira Rennert’s 29 bedroom beachfront property, proves that. The place is so big that it has its own power supply on site.

4. The White House - $320,364,354

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According to real estate website Zillow, that’s how much 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20500, would be worth on the open market. Of course, having been the official residence of every President of the United States since 1800, it’s unlikely to come up at auction any time soon.

3. Villa Leopolda, French Riviera - $506,000,000


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The Villa Leopolda is Europe’s most expensive house (that you can possibly hope to buy; some properties, like Buckingham Palace, will likely never reach the market). Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets, now owns the French Riviera property, which sprawls across 20 acres.

2. Antilla Mumbai - $1,000,000,000


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Another 27-floor tower in Mumbai is—believe it or not—one single home, built by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Ambani spent around 5 percent of his fortune to build the house, which has garage space for 168 cars. Six hundred people are employed to keep it running on a day-to-day basis, including preserving Ambani’s collection of antique sewing machines, the largest such collection on the planet.

1. Buckingham Palace - $1,560,000,000

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That’s right—$1.56 billion. Buckingham Palace was estimated to be worth that by the Nationwide Building Society in 2012, a significant increase from its worth of $17 million in 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II first ascended the throne. Likewise, as the official residence of every monarch since Queen Victoria in 1837, it would take a revolution to ever see this property up for sale. 

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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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