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TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Apartments Are Getting Smaller

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The rent may be too high, but the apartments are getting smaller. Average rental apartment sizes in the U.S. have been steadily decreasing since 2006, according to a new analysis from the real estate search site Rent Café.

In 2006, newly built rental studios averaged 614 square feet, while this year, they average 504 square feet. Overall, the average U.S. apartment is 889 square feet. However, housing stock varies significantly across regions. Apartments in western cities like Tucson and Sacramento tend to be quite a bit smaller than in Atlanta, which has the biggest two-bedroom apartments in the U.S., on average.

But smaller isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Overall, Americans tend to build really big houses—between the 1970s and 2013, the average residential square footage per person doubled—and living so large is terrible for the environment and contributes to unwalkable suburban sprawl. (On average, Europeans live in much smaller dwellings.) Not to mention, because these numbers are based on averages, it might be that an increase in micro-apartments is bringing down the numbers, rather than that every new apartment is closet-sized.

The rental stock in each city affects these averages too. Manhattan doesn’t make the lists of either largest or smallest square footage, but that could be because with such a high number of rentals across both luxury and rent-controlled markets, things even out, while a city where it’s much more common to own than to rent has more limited rental housing options that might skew either large or small in square footage.

But no matter how big your living space is, chances are, it’s getting more expensive. Earlier this year, a report citing government data estimated that rents would likely rise around 3.5 percent this year. Over the course of 2015, rental costs grew 3.6 percent, while real wages went up only 1.8 percent.

You can see how each of the largest 95 cities in the U.S. stacks up here.

All images courtesy Rent Café

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Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images
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Long-Closed Part of Westminster Abbey to Open to the Public for the First Time in 700 Years
The triforium in 2009
The triforium in 2009
Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

On June 11, 2018, visitors to London's Westminster Abbey will get a look at a section of the historic church that has been off-limits for 700 years. That’s when the triforium, located high above the abbey floor, will open to the general public for the first time as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, according to Condé Nast Traveler.

The 13th-century space, located 70 feet above the nave floor, had previously been used for abbey storage. (One architecture critic who visited before the renovation described it as a “glorified attic.”) After a $32.5 million renovation, it will now become a museum with killer views.

The view from the triforium looking down onto the rest of Westminster Abbey
The view from the triforium looking down toward the ground floor of the abbey
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

To access the area, which looks out over the nave and altar, architects built a new tower, the abbey’s first major addition since 1745. The 80-foot-tall, window-lined structure will provide brand-new vantage points to look out on surrounding areas of Westminster. Inside the triforium, the windows of the galleries look out onto the Houses of Parliament and St. Margaret’s church, and visitors will be able to walk around the upper mezzanine and look down onto the ground floor of the abbey below.

The museum itself will show off objects from Westminster Abbey’s history, such as a 17th-century coronation chair for Mary II and an altarpiece from Henry III’s reign, when the triforium was first constructed. Oh, and it will also display Prince William and Kate Middleton’s marriage license, for those interested in more modern royal history.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen
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A Look at One of Norway's Most Beautiful Public Bathrooms
Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen
Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen

In Norway, beautiful architecture isn’t limited to new museums and opera houses. The country also has some incredible bathrooms, thanks to a program called the National Tourist Routes, which commissions architects to design imaginative, beautiful rest stops and lookout points to encourage travel in some of the country’s more remote areas.

One of the latest projects to be unveiled, as Dezeen alerted us, is a high-design commode in the northern Norwegian municipality of Gildeskål. The newly renovated site located along the Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten, called Ureddplassen, was recently opened to the public.

Bench seating outside the restroom, with mountains in the background
Lars Grimsby / State Road Administration

A view up the stairs of the amphitheater toward steep mountains
Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen

Designed by the Oslo-based designers Haugen/Zohar Architects and the landscape architects Landskapsfabrikken AS, the site includes an amphitheater, a viewing platform, and of course, a beautiful restroom. The area is a popular place to view the Northern Lights in the fall and winter and the midnight sun in the summer, so it sees a fair amount of traffic.

The site has been home to a monument honoring victims of the 1943 sinking of a World War II submarine called the Uredd since 1987, and the designers added a new marble base to the monument as part of this project.

A view of the monument to the soldiers lost in the sinking of the Uredd
Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen

Now, travelers and locals alike can stop off the highway for a quick pee in the restroom, with its rolling concrete and glass design, then plop down on the steps of the amphitheater to gaze at the view across the Norwegian Sea. It’s one rest stop you’ll actually want to rest at.

[h/t Dezeen]

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