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15 Simply Lovely Asian Museums

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Wikimedia Commons

We’ve been taking you across the globe to show you some of the most beautiful museums in the world. Now it’s time for a quick trip to Asia to see what architectural marvels are just waiting for you to come explore them.

1. Hiroshima Castle, Japan

Photo courtesy of Jonas Merian

Japan was once home to thousands of beautiful castles, but many of them were destroyed after the Japanese feudal system was eradicated in the late 1800s—and while the wooden Hiroshima Castle survived this period of revolution, it didn’t survive the atomic bomb blast in 1945. The castle was rebuilt in 1958, though, and now serves as a museum focused on the history of Hiroshima before the bomb hit.

2. Zigong Salt History, China

Photo courtesy of Ken Marshall

The Zigong Salt History Museum is worth visiting even if you have no interest in learning about the history of salt mining. The museum was originally built in 1736 as a guildhall for salt tradesmen to meet and discuss business. The delicate stone and wood carvings used to decorate the hall were some of the finest available at the time and were intended to be a display of wealth by the merchants.

3. Bangkok National Museum, Thailand

Photos courtesy of Flickr user marianabigail

Before it was converted into a museum in 1874, this building was once the palace of the Vice King of Thailand. At first, the museum exhibited relics from King Rama IV’s reign, but since, the museum collection has drastically expanded and it now contains exhibits from Neolithic times all the way through modern Thai history.

4. National Folk Museum, South Korea

Photo courtesy of Kwong Yee Cheng

There’s no better place to learn about the history of culture in Korea than the National Folk Museum of Korea, and there’s certainly nowhere more beautiful to learn about it as well. While the museum was established in 1945, it did not move into its present location until 1993 as the structure was previously the home of the National Museum of Korea.

5. Sursock Museum, Lebanon

Photo courtesy of Bertil Videt

Originally the home of wealthy Beirut resident and art collector Nicholas Sursock, this massive mansion was converted to a museum after Sursock’s death. The structure is considered an excellent example of Lebanese architecture, which features Venetian and Ottoman influences. Since opening in 1961, the museum has held over 100 exhibitions featuring artwork from both local and international artists.

6. Albert Hall Museum, India

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia user chetan

Opened to the public in 1887, this lovely museum was named after King Edward VII (Albert Edward), who visited the city when the foundation stone was laid in 1876. The building was originally intended to be a town hall, but when Maharaja Madho Singh II succeeded Ram Singh, he decided it should be a museum. The architecture is done in an Indo-Saracenic Revival style, which combines elements of Indio-Islamic, Indian, Gothic and Neo-Classical styles into one unique and eye-catching package.

7. ArtScience Museum, Singapore

Photo courtesy of William Cho

What does the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas have in common with this museum in Singapore? They’re both owned and operated by the Las Vegas Sands company. The lotus-shaped building, opened in 2011, is part of the chain’s Marina Bay Sands resort. The museum features 21 gallery spaces, most of which are filled with a rotating selection of touring exhibits from around the globe.

8. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, China

There are so many wonderful architectural details in the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum that it is actually hard to find a picture that can do it any justice, but this night image by Greg Peterson does a decent job at capturing some of the larger design aspects. The massive museum, opened in 2001, is one of the most popular in China and with good reason—it really is impressive. Designed by Creative Star Digital, the museum stretches over almost 700,000 square feet of space and has 14 interactive multimedia exhibits running at any given time.

9. Macao Science Center, Macau


Photo courtesy of Sherilyn Shaine Ocampo-Palisoc

This stunning science museum was only opened five years ago, but it is already considered a landmark of Macau thanks to the unique, asymmetrical and conical shape designed by Pei Partnership Architects. Inside the center, guests enter a large atrium before entering assorted galleries and exhibits off the main walkway, including a planetarium that also plays Omnimax films.

10. Virasat-e-Khalsa, India


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia user Sanyambahga

This museum, dedicated to the history of Sikhism, only opened about two years ago, but its unique, modern design earns it a place on this list. The complex consists of two buildings on each side of a ravine that are connected by a ceremonial bridge. The buildings, designed by Moshe Safdie and Associates, have stainless steel roves and are made from concrete with intentionally exposed columns and beams.

11. Design Museum Holon, Israel


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The first Israeli museum dedicated to design, the Design Museum Holon was the first work planned and designed by architect Ron Arad. It’s even more amazing that the building was created as someone’s first design when you consider that since its construction in 2010, Conde Nast Traveler already named it as one of the new world wonders.

12. Science City, India


Photo courtesy of Biswarup Ganguly

As much an amusement park as it is a science museum, Science City teaches everything from marine biology and space travel to numerals and illusions. The outdoor gardens feature a musical fountain, a gravity coaster, a monorail cycle, a butterfly nursery and a walk-through exhibit on evolution. The complex was first opened in 1997 and it only continues to grow larger as time passes.

13. Meiji-mura, Japan


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia user danirubioperez

Most museums are housed inside one building, but the Meiji-mura is different since it is an open-air museum dedicated to preserving historic buildings from across Japan. The park includes over 60 historical buildings scattered along 250 acres of rolling hillside along Lake Iruka.

Since the protected buildings date from 1867 to 1989, there is impressive diversity in the scope of the pieces that make up the museum’s collection, the most famous of which is the main entrance and lobby of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel, which was moved in 1967 to make way for a new, larger version of the hotel.

14. Kaichi School, Japan


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia user Wiiii

One of the first schools in Japan, the Kaichi School was established in 1873; it moved into this building featuring a distinct combination of western and Japanese style elements in 1876. The building was named an Important Cultural Property in 1961 and is now protected and maintained as a museum dedicated to the Japanese education system.

15. National Museum of Singapore

In 1849, the National Museum of Singapore was established as a small section of a library in the Singapore Institution. By 1887, the initial collection in Singapore’s museum was moved into the Neo-Palladian and Renaissance style building it now occupies. The building has been expanded five times in the past century in order to make room for the expanding collections, which are largely focused on the history of Singapore.

Think we missed one? Let us know about it in the comments, and feel free to share a link or picture as well!

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Courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence
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5 Frank Lloyd Wright Homes You Can Buy Right Now
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Courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence

It can be hard for homeowners to sell Frank Lloyd Wright houses, even if they are live-in works of art. Some prospective owners don't want to deal with pilgrims or rubberneckers, while others simply aren't fans of Wright's style, or his penchant for building in far-flung locations. The upside? The architect's mega-fans have a better chance of scoring a genuine Wright original, occasionally at a relatively bargain price. From suburban Minnesota to rural New York, here are five drool-worthy Wright residences that you can purchase right now.

1. THE PAUL OLFELT HOUSE IN ST. LOUIS PARK, MINNESOTA

Exterior shot of the Paul Olfelt House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
Courtesy of the Berg Larsen Group, Coldwell Banker Burnet

Address: 2206 Parklands Lane, St. Louis Park, Minnesota 55416

Asking Price: $1.3 million

History: In the 1950s, Wright designed one of his moderately priced Usonian homes for clients Paul and Helen Olfelt, who lived with their young children in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. A fan of Wright’s work, the couple had written the architect a letter requesting that he design their family one of his stylish single-family residences.

“We hoped for a refuge from the world for part of our day, a place where we could enjoy nature and the beauty of man’s creativeness in harmony with nature,” Olfelt, a radiologist, wrote in 1969 in the journal Northwest Architect. “We wanted a home that by virtue of its character would help us and our children be dissatisfied with the ordinary.”

Wright accepted the commission and briefly met with the Olfelts to discuss his vision, although he never visited the actual site—a tree-filled cul-de-sac—in person. The three-bedroom home's design was completed shortly before the architect’s death in 1959, and the Olfelts officially moved into the home in September 1960, and listed it for sale for the very first time in 2016. It’s still on the market, just waiting for a lucky Twin Cities area buyer to snap it up.

Bona Fides: The Paul Olfelt House comes equipped with a wood-burning fireplace; a fully equipped kitchen; and a master suite with both a dressing room/closet and an en suite three-quarter bath. It also includes many furniture pieces—including chairs, ottomans, desks, lamps, and tables—that Wright custom-designed for the home. Many, if not all, of these items are included the home’s sale price.

Fun Facts: The home has a basement, which is “rare for Wright homes,” a representative from Berg Larsen Group of Coldwell Banker Burnet tells Mental Floss. “He drew the line at the request for a bathroom; therefore, there’s an odd little commode in the unfinished storage area that we refer to as ‘plumbed for additional bathroom.’"

The basement also includes an office, which was designed for Olfelt; a play area for children (complete with swing); and a bar with banquette seating.

Interior shot of the Paul Olfelt House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Courtesy of the Berg Larsen Group, Coldwell Banker Burnet

Interior shot of the Paul Olfelt House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
Courtesy of the Berg Larsen Group, Coldwell Banker Burnet

2. TIRRANNA IN NEW CANAAN, CONNECTICUT

Exterior shot of Tirranna by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence

Address: 432 Frogtown Road, New Canaan, Connecticut 06840

Asking Price: $7.2 million

History: "Tirranna" is an Australian aboriginal word meaning "running waters"—a fitting choice, considering that the U-shaped residence sits next to a pond fed by a nearby river and overlooks a tiny cascade. The home was built in the 1950s, and was one of Wright's very last houses built before his death.

Bona Fides: "Tirranna is one of the two or three biggest homes Wright ever built or designed, just from a size perspective," Houlihan Lawrence broker Doug Milne tells Mental Floss. "As you enter the main room, it goes from very low ceilings to soaring ceilings and glass, with Brazilian mahogany walls and ceilings that are just in miraculous condition."

Tirranna has seven bedrooms, and is surrounded by 15 acres of forest. Also on the grounds are a barn and stable, a greenhouse, a guest house, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a workshop, and gardens designed by Frank Okamura, the landscape architect for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Fun Fact: If Tirranna achieves its $7.2 million asking price, it will set a record for the highest price ever paid for a Wright house. This money will go toward an important cause: mental health research.

Tirranna's last owner was the late businessman Ted Stanley, who died in early 2016 at the age of 84. But while Stanley became rich selling collectibles, his true passion ended up being medical philanthropy. It all started when Stanley's teenage son, Jonathan Stanley, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the late 1980s. His eventual recovery was largely due to being treated successfully with the right medicine. The experience turned Stanley into a staunch advocate for mental health research, and he spent the remainder of his life donating vast portions of his fortune to research institutions like the Broad Institute, a biomedical and genomic research center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Broad Institute employs some of the world's top scientists, who research both the genetic and molecular causes of psychiatric disorders and potential treatments. “My son’s life was saved,” Stanley told The New York Times in 2014. "I would like to purchase that happy ending for other people."

When Stanley died in 2016, he left the Broad Institute much of his fortune. Tirranna's proceeds will also be directed toward the research center.

Exterior shot of Tirranna by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence

Interior shot of Tirranna by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence

3. THE LOUIS PENFIELD HOUSE IN WILLOUGHBY HILLS, OHIO

Exterior shot of the Louis Penfield House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Courtesy of Howard Hanna

Address: 2215 River Road, Willoughby Hills, Ohio 44094

Asking Price: $1.3 million

History: Designed by Wright and built in the mid 1950s, the Louis Penfield House is a nature lover's dream. The restored Usonian home sits atop a knoll overlooking the nearby Chagrin River, and across the street from protected forest, creeks, and hiking trails. The home was commissioned by high school art teacher Louis Penfield and his wife, Pauline, but has operated as a vacation rental house since 2003. New owners can opt to keep renting it or to use the home as a private residence.

Bona Fides: The three-bedroom, two-story home comes complete with Wright-designed furniture, which is included in the cost of sale. Owners can also say bye-bye to heating bills, as the home has a radiant-floor heating system fueled by one of two natural gas wells on the property. And just in case you were looking for even more bragging rights, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Plus, prospective buyers have the chance to score two Wright homes for the price of one (well, kind of): "The last original Wright building site in the world is located adjacent to the Penfield House," and is included in the sale, listing agent Karen Eagle of Howard Hanna tells Mental Floss. "The building plans for Wright’s last residential commission, called Riverrock, are owned by the Penfields. The house is historically significant. It is design number 5909, and was on Wright’s drawing board when he died. The Penfields received the plans shortly after his death in April 1959."

Fun Fact: "Louis Penfield was nearly 7 feet tall," Eagle says. "The home was designed to accommodate his tall stature. Frank Lloyd Wright's ceilings are typically low. The staircase is pretty interesting too, since it accommodates for height."

According to legend, Penfield visited Wright's Wisconsin studio and challenged the architect to build a custom home for his towering frame. Wright accepted the dare, and mailed his new client a preliminary drawing six months later. The rest, as they say, is history.

Exterior shot of the Louis Penfield House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Courtesy of Howard Hanna

Interior shot of the Louis Penfield House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Elmhurst, Illinois
Courtesy of Howard Hanna

4. THE F.B. HENDERSON HOUSE IN ELMHURST, ILLINOIS

Exterior shot of the F.B. Henderson House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Elmhurst, Illinois
Courtesy of Zillow

Address: 301 South Kenilworth Avenue, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126

Asking Price: $1 million

History: Built in the early 1900s, the F.B. Henderson House is an early example of Wright's signature brand of Prairie style architecture. The architect built the home in conjunction with Chicago architect Webster Tomlinson, who briefly served as Wright's business partner. The two are both listed as the home's architects, although Tomlinson was reportedly more like the project's office manager and business agent.

Originally commissioned by client Frank Bignell Henderson in 1901, the home has been on and off the market for the past decade. That said, real estate agents tell Mental Floss that they've seen prospective buyers sniffing around as of late.

Bona Fides: Both the interior and exterior of the F.B. Henderson House have been recently restored, but the property still has plenty of original mid-century charm to spare. And if charm alone won't do, there's also three fireplaces, a wine cellar, and an expansive terrace overlooking the lawn.

"There is a real open feel on the first floor," agent Marilyn Fisher of LW Reedy Real Estate tells Mental Floss. "It’s a massive space. It has a huge foyer as you walk in, and then when you come into the main part of the house, you have a really big living room. On either side of the living room are mirror-image rooms. One side is half of an octagon, and the other side is the other half, making for a wide expanse. It's a very dramatic look."

Fun Fact: The F.B. Henderson House has more than 80 art glass, or stained glass, windows. Wright often referred to these mini works of art as "light screens," as they evoked the look of sliding Japanese shoji screens.

Exterior shot of the F.B. Henderson House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Elmhurst, Illinois
Courtesy of Zillow

Interior shot of the F.B. Henderson House by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Elmhurst, Illinois
Courtesy of Zillow

5. THE MASSARO HOUSE IN PUTNAM COUNTY, NEW YORK

Exterior shot of a home on Petra Island, in New York, inspired by designs by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Courtesy of Chilton & Chadwick

Address: Petra Island, Lake Mahopac, Carmel, New York

Asking Price: $14.92 million

History: Some Wright purists turn up their noses at the Massaro House, in spite of its spectacular location (on a 10-acre private island), its spectacular design (a 5000-square-foot home with a cantilevered deck that practically puts Fallingwater to shame), and its spectacular scenery (did we mention it's on a lake?). They say it's just "inspired" by the architect, instead of truly being his original work.

Around 1950, engineer A.K. Chahroudi commissioned Wright to design him a dream home on the island, but the client wound up not being able to afford the planned project. Instead, Wright created a small guest cottage for his client. In 1996, sheet metal contractor Joe Massaro purchased Petra Island, and he also acquired Wright's original plans for the site, intending to fulfill the famous architect's ultimate vision.

With the help of architects and scholars, the Massaro House was completed around 2007. However, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation refuses to recognize it as an authentic Wright design, as they're not happy about some controversial design tweaks Massaro made to the plans.

Bona Fides: The home has geometric windows, a wraparound patio, and boulders integrated into the walls, giving it a natural feel. Other structures on the island include the aforementioned guest house and a tea house.

Fun Facts: If you own your own chopper, look no further than the Massaro House. "It has a helipad," Chadwick Ciocci, the CEO and founder of global real estate concierge Chilton & Chadwick, tells Mental Floss. "I don’t know of any other Frank Lloyd Wright homes that have that."

"Also very important is that the home is on a private heart-shaped island," Ciocci adds. (Really? We hadn't noticed.)

Interior shot of a home on Petra Island, in New York, inspired by designs by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Courtesy of Chilton & Chadwick

Aerial shot of a home on Petra Island, in New York, inspired by designs by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Courtesy of Chilton & Chadwick
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Want to Live Like Snow White? Buy This Cottage
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In the 1970s, one family in Washington state decided to bring the magic of Snow White home—and we don't mean on VHS. (That didn't come out until 1994, anyway.) They built a replica of the cottage from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Olalla, across Puget Sound from Seattle. And now, you can take over Snow White’s housekeeping duties—the house is for sale, as we spotted on the listing site TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.

The house looks straight out of a Disneyland attraction, with a winding staircase seemingly built into a tree, hand-built doors of different sizes with giant iron hinges, stone details and exposed beams, a wood stove, and a rounded interior that “wraps around you like a big hug,” according to the listing. (Good luck hanging shelves, though.) Honestly, the shiny walls look a little plastic, but it’s all part of the Disneyfied appeal.

The interior of the first floor shows a stone oven, a fake tree, and a chandelier.

A spacious room with two different sized doorways looking through to another room.

A bedroom has a mattress tucked into a cave-like nook.

An exterior view of the cottage through an overgrown garden.

Unlike the Seven Dwarfs’ pad, though, this comes with a hot tub and high-speed internet, not to mention a washer and dryer to save any future Snow Whites the effort of hanging laundry. And there’s no need for everyone to sleep side-by-side in twin beds. The two-story “cottage” has four bedrooms and five baths.

The 2800-square-foot house comes on a five-acre gated property. Outside, there’s a sweet tree house with a fireplace inside, a wooden bridge over a creek, and a garden with fruit trees.

It’s $775,000, zero dwarfs included. You can see the listing here.

All images courtesy TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.

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