Archives For International


To address the current student housing shortage in Johannesburg, South Africa, developers have converted unused grain silos into affordable student accommodations. Property developer citiq created ‘Mill Junction’ by stacking brightly colored shipping containers on top of silos. The height of the final building is nearly forty meters, offering the residents panoramic views of the city’s skyline.

The construction was completed in January and had already reached 1/3 occupancy just a few days after the units became available. In addition to living in a unique building, students benefit from the low prices, as well as study facilities, lounges, libraries, and computer labs.

Check out additional photos of Mill Junction below:

Source: Design Boom, Curbed

Photos: Design Boom

The New York Times has published their list of 52 places to travel in 2014. Here are the top 10:

Table Mountain and Cape Town, Samantha Reinders via The New York Times

1. Cape Town, South Africa

“We often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain,” Nelson Mandela once said in a speech. “To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.”

Cape Town has changed significantly since Mandela’s incarceration at Robben Island Prison, but the city continues to inspire people as it has become one of the world’s leading hubs for design in all forms––fashion, architecture, visual arts, and community development.

Transitional church by the architect Shigeru Ban, Emma Smales/VIEW via Newscom

2. Christ Church, New Zealand 

Three years after two large earthquakes devastated central Christchurch, the city is once again welcoming tourists. Though much of the city still needs to be rebuilt, entrepreneurs and volunteers have found creative ways to bring it back to life. Innovative projects like an open-air performance space on blue pallets, a dance floor with coin-operated music and lights, temporary gardens, and a nine-hole mini-golf course in vacant lots across the city, have shown how good old-fashioned ingenuity can help revive a city in need.

A rocky coastal view from the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, Jim Wilson via The New York Times

3. North Coast, California

The incorporation of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands gives the public access to an additional 1,300 acres of Northern California coastline. New Congressional proposals to include this land as part of the California Coastal National Monument means this 12 mile stretch of wildflowers, cypress forests, cliff areas, pinnacles, and sea caves, will be better protected and preserved.

Kayaking near Porto Palermo, Albania, via Mustafah Abdulaziz

4. Albanian Coast

With limestone-ringed beaches, ancient ruins, and waterfront inns, the Albanian coast is one of Europe’s most beautiful sights. Though threatened by post-Communism development, a new government took office in September under the promise of maintaining the coastline’s natural beauty.

Lunchtime diners at the Grand Central Market, Monica Almeida via The New York Times

5. Downtown Los Angeles

The growing food scene has revived the once seemingly lifeless reputation of downtown Los Angeles. From Grand Central Market (an arcade of over 30 of the city’s best food vendors) to Alma (recently named best new restaurant in the country by Bon Appétit magazine), the insurgence of vibrant cuisine has only encouraged an influx of broader culture.

Desert Rhino Camp, run in part by Wilderness Safaris, in 2009; Olwen Evans via Wilderness Safaris

6. Namibia

In 2013, Namibia’s 79 conservancies received the World Wildlife Fund’s prestigious Gift to the Earth Award, marking the success of the movement to pair sustainable tourism with rural community outreach. From the Desert Rhino camp to the Hoanib Skeleton Coast camp, there are now more options than ever for preservation-conscious travelers to enjoy Namibia’s culture and wildlife.

Cotopaxi Volcano rises above Cotopaxi National Park, Ivan Kashinsky via The New York Times

7. Ecuador

Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world with over 1,600 species of birds, 4,000 kinds of orchids, one of the largest condor shelters on the planet, and a huge percentage of protected land. Now, thanks to the refurbished Tren Curcero, travelers can take a train ride through the mountains of the Andes, past volcanoes, into Cotopaxi National Park, through the countryside, and arrive in the city of Guayaquil––all in four days.

Exploring Son Doong Cave, Carsten Peter/National Geographic via Getty Images

8. Quang Binh, Vietnam

Quang Binh is home to Son Doong, one of the world’s largest caves. Only recently open to the public, adventurous travelers can check out the huge shafts of light, forests of 100-foot-tall trees, caverns large enough to hold 40-story skyscrapers, 260-foot stalactites, and wildlife including monkeys, hornbills, and flying foxes.

Playing in the “Water Labyrinth,” created by the artist Jeppe Hein, in Perth; David Dare Parker via The New York Times

9. Perth, Australia

Formerly known as the laid-back capital of western Australia, Perth has more recently become one of the country’s trendiest cities. From regional wine lists and hip restaurants with celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, to up-and-coming neighborhoods like Mount Lawley and Northbridge, Australia’s fourth-largest city is becoming a cultural destination in its own right.

Looking across at the complex that houses the nhow hotel, Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images

10. Rotterdam, the Netherlands

The cubed architecture of Rotterdam’s post-World War II reconstruction has given this port city one of the most modern looking skylines in Europe. New additions like the redesign of Rotterdam Centraal train station, the renovated Kunsthal museim, a new François Geurds restaurant, the arch of the Markthal (the country’s first indoor food haul), and the latest Rem Koolhaas designed hotel, will only serve to amplify Rotterdam’s architectural reputation in 2014.

To view the complete list, visit the New York Times

A property with a lot of natural light is definitely a plus for homebuyers, which is why homes with large windows are so popular. But when you live in a city with neighbors on all sides, how do you reap the benefits of the suns rays without sacrificing privacy?

The architects at Suppose Design Office in Hiroshima, Japan created a solution to this problem by designing a home with translucent walls. The rest of the structure is made up of an I-beam frame, concrete ceilings, and timber floors, to create an open, industrial feel.

On the other hand, if privacy is not a concern, you could always go the route of no walls at all. House NA in Tokyo, Japan was designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects to generate the feel of living in a tree, and offers plenty of natural light through walls made entirely of clear glass.

“The intriguing point of a tree is that these places are not hermetically isolated but are connected to one another in its unique relativity,” Fujimoto said. “To hear one’s voice from across and above, hopping over to another branch, a discussion taking place across branches by members from separate branches. These are some of the moments of richness encountered through such spatially dense living.”

Sources: Gizmodo & Architecture Art Designs

Photos: Toshiyuki Yano via Suppose Design Office & Iwan Baan via Sou Fujimoto Architects 


Library House, Shinichi Ogawa & Associates.

Today avant-garde houses are a regular sight in Japan. In a recent article on ArchDaily, Tokyo architect Alastair Townsend explains a little bit about Japan and its famous bizarre residential architecture.

According to Townsend, Japanese homes are mostly designed by young architects and often appear to show that anything is possible, from balconies with no handrails to homes with no windows. As it turns out, Japan is the country with the most registered architects per capita––a possible explanation for why each architect tries harder to stand out from the crowd.

An unconventional home requires an unconventional client, one who is willing to take risks in regards to design aesthetics. Though you might think these bold homes are built primarily for wealthy clients, most of them are actually small middle class homes.

In the US and Europe, deviating from the norm when it comes to residential architecture can jeopardize a home’s value. If you plan to sell in the future, it is risky to build an eccentric home; however, the logic is opposite in Japan as their homes depreciate like consumer goods and they don’t expect to sell.

After 30 years, a typical home in Japan generally loses all of its value and is demolished to build a new home. In fact, despite a shrinking population, home building remains steady; though the population is only one third of that in the US, the number of new homes built each year is comparable.

Since properties don’t hold value and homes are demolished and rebuilt, Japanese clients have the freedom to build homes that are personal expressions of their lifestyle and tastes. Neighbors also have little say in what is built next door, giving architects no risk to designing bizarre homes for their clients.

Check out the slideshow below for more photos of unique Japanese homes:

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Source: ArchDaily

From a dog-shaped bed and breakfast to a church that looks like a chicken, here are 11 buildings inspired by animals. Below is the list from HGTV Front Door Cool Houses Daily.

Cat-Shaped Lodge – Tashirojima, Japan

Manga artist Tetsuya Chiba designed this cat-shaped building on Tashirojima, also known as “Cat Island.” The island earned its nickname for its large cat population, which greatly outnumbers its human population of approximately 100.


Dog Bark Park Inn – Cottonwood, Idaho

This bed and breakfast is also the world’s largest beagle. Guests enter the 30-foot canine from the second-story deck.


Elephant Building – Bangkok, Thailand

Also known as the Chang Building, this 335-foot-high, 560-foot-long structure is the world’s largest elephant building. (Yes, there’s more than one.)


The Giant Koala – Dadswells Bridge, Victoria, Australia

This massive marsupial is one of Australia’s “big things,” a set of large buildings and sculptures across the continent. You can step inside the 49-foot koala to pick up souvenirs, visit the petting zoo, or grab a snack at the café.


Earthquake-Proof Fish House – Berkley, California

Though it was inspired by a creature called the Tardigrade – known as the most indestructible living thing on the planet – neighbors thought this home looked more like a giant fish. Designed to withstand fire, flooding and earthquakes, it’s been called the safest home in the world.


Big Sheep Wool Gallery – Tirau, New Zealand

Inside this giant corrugated iron sheep, you’ll find the largest wool store in New Zealand.


Crocodile Hotel – Jabiru, Australia

An aerial view of the Holiday Inn Gagudju Crocodile shows that it’s shaped like one of the Down Under’s indigenous animals.


The Big Duck – Flanders, New York

Built in 1931, The Big Duck was originally a shop that sold ducks and duck eggs. Now it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.


Chicken Church – Madeira Beach, Florida

Though its real name is Church by the Sea, tourists have flocked to Madeira Beach to get a look at the “Chicken Church” and its bell tower with two eyes and a beak. The church became an internet sensation after a photographer snapped a picture that went viral.


Underground Shark House – Mexico City, Mexico

Architect Javier Senosiain designed this home to resemble a huge, stylized shark. The shark’s head and vast mouth make up the above-ground portion of the house, with everything else built below ground.


The Whale House – Mexico City, Mexico

Also designed by Javier Senosiain – this house looks just like a whale when viewed from the hilltop above.


This post can be found in its original form on HGTV Front Door.

medium_13f0c086-3f2e-4836-ad8b-df54d93c0b69In honor of our upcoming trip to Dublin for Web Summit, we thought we’d showcase some of the local real estate.

One of our favorite posts is this 4 bedroom Donnybrook home not far from the city center. At 2,002 square feet, the house features a reception hall, drawing room, separate dining and breakfast areas, plus exposed beams and a charming verandah.

The best part is that it’s only 2 miles from the Web Summit venue––we may love Ireland so much, we simply decide to purchase it and stay forever!

134 Stillorgan Rd. is on the market for $750,000 and is listed with Michelle Berg of Lisney.

This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below.