Posted in Features on October 17, 2007
If Modernism was the twentieth-century architectural trend that developed a new way of thinking, then Urbanism appears to be the twenty-first century architectural mindset. This trend is breeding urban explorers (urbex), the greening of major metropolitan areas, and a focus on merging habitats and commercial structures with politics, culture, history and the arts. Public discourse and scholarly research have found meeting grounds in this global landscape, and the results are evolving. But, this evolution has affected how individuals and partnerships present their materials on Weblogs and Photoblogs.To that end, we’re treating you to the top 100 bloggers who focus on everything from architectural news to urbanism and from the junction of design and technology to the landscape. While you won’t find blogs here that illustrate how to design a home or a business, you’ll discover plenty of dialogue, images, and ideas no matter if you’re an architect or a person who admires architecture. These blogs were chosen for frequently and recently updated blog entries, a focus on architecture, and for their attitudes and/or perspectives - no matter if they’re amateurs or professionals. Please note that the blog numbering is not meant to be a ranking, as each architecture topic is listed in alphabetical order with the listed blogs also listed in alphabetical order within that topic.
The following ten sites were plucked from this list’s topics as the ‘best of the best’ of the blogs that were chosen for this list. You’ll find the topics listed below these top ten blogs.
- A Daily Dose of Architecture: Or, “Archidose,” as blogger John Hill calls it. He’s an architectural student in New York, but his blog covers an “(Almost)” daily architectural musings from midwest American. This blog is intelligent, sharp, well-written, and enjoyed by many architects and designers.
- aggregät 4/5/6: Enrique Gualberto Ramirez, an architecture historian, maintains no qualms about “the messy connections between spatial practice, cultural criticism, technology studies, art history, architecture, and other realms.” A must-read.
- anArchitecture: Christoph Wassmann, who lives and work in Vienna, Austria, writes a blog filled with news, links, and opinions that are centered on architecture and architectural thinking.
- Archinect: The goal of Archinect is to make architecture more connected and open-minded, and bring together designers from around the world to introduce new ideas from all disciplines. One way they accomplish this goal is through their school blog project, where representatives from a collection of architecture programs around the world have been invited to maintain blogs that document their experiences and discoveries from each institution.
- BLDGBLOG: Geoff Manaugh is a writer, grant writer, would-be novelist, essayist, Archinect “team member” and the founding editor of BLDGBLOG. He’s also now a senior editor for Dwell Magazine. This site is an exciting meeting ground for architecture, planning, and landscape issues.
- City of Sound: Dan Hill, director of Web and broadcast at Monocle, blogs on themes of cities, architecture, design, media and culture as he makes logical connections between such seeming disparities as “travel writing and design, or football and architecture.” But, the major focus is on the design of the city as he points to design as the major catalyst between function and form.
- Inhabitat: Inhabitat tracks the innovations in technology and practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.
- Interactive Architecture: Ruairi Glynn opens the door to students at Bartlett School of Architecture to interactive architecture, or the merging of the digital virtual with tangible and physical spatial experiences. His blog brings this work on interactive spaces, or semi-permanent installations, to the public.
- Pruned: Alexander Trevi has a good sense of humor. Better yet, he has an aesthetic eye, a knowledge that landscape has everything to do with habitat, and the sensitivity to record environmental issues that basically connect how everyone lives in this world.
- Super Colossal: Marcus Trimble is a design tutor at the University of Sydney (Australia) Faculty of Architecture and he’s involved with the DARCH at the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture. He offers “architectural ephemera” for like-minded readers at this blog, with archives available at his former site, gravestmor.
Topics Covered In This List
Aggregators | Design and Technology | Environmental and/or Sustainable | Landscape | Niche | Musings | Photography | Urbanism
While many blogs tend to pick up on news from other architectural sites, the following blogs and aggregators make it a business to keep readers informed on daily architectural happenings.
- ArchNewsNow: ANN delivers the most comprehensive coverage of national and international news, projects, products, and events in the world of architecture and design daily to anyone who wants to keep up with the latest.
- Planet Architecture: You can find new architectural ideas, information, and news on this blog, as the owners summarize Web sites daily for your reading pleasure. The topics are wide-ranging and normalized to UTC time.
- dezain.net: A good place to catch up on daily architectural news and blurbs from blogs, press releases and other resources. The quick one-liners are superb for the busy reader.
- Floating Podium: If you’re into Inhabitat, BLDGBLOG, Archinect, and other top blogs (also listed here), then keep this site bookmarked. You can get an at-a-glance glimpse of all the latest additions to these blogs and news sites on one page at the Floating Podium.
- Planetizen: Planetizen is a public-interest information exchange provided by Urban Insight for the urban planning, design, and development community. It is a one-stop source for urban planning news, commentary, interviews, event coverage, book reviews, announcements, jobs, consultant listings, training, and more.
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Design and Technology
The following sites merge design with technology, and the results can be amusing, insightful, educational, and inspirational. While some products are mere decoration, others can fulfill a myriad of purposes…
- Apartment Therapy: Oh, sure - you might be an architect - but we bet you log onto Apartment Therapy when you’re all alone. With bases in four major cities and interests as broad as your loft is small, this blog offers miracles for the seemingly mundane.
- Cool Hunting: All of the content in this blog is based upon what tickles the editors’ fancy. Their entries on art, design, culture and technology and weekly videos about the designers are enough to inspire any creative individual.
- Core77: When personal trainers tell you to exercise your ‘core,’ they could be promoting this blog. A daily scoop of this blog’s pickings at breakfast will keep your creativity going strong all day long.
- Design Spotter: This blog offers young designers a platform for publication so that readers can stay on top of young modern contemporary design including: accessories, audio furniture, books, design-contests, exhibitions, fashion, furniture, hotels, lighting, new materials, residential architecture, interior design and prototypes.
- Design Verb: Aaron Tang, an industrial designer, covers “elements in design that excite, inspire, captivate, and rattle our goofy creative minds through curious and refreshing finds in art, design, technology, food, culture, experiences, lifestyles, entertainment, and all the other mind-provoking ideas that come with it!” Phew! Tang definitely has an eye for oddly beautiful and interesting artifacts and activities.
- dezeen: Dezeen is edited by Marcus Fairs, author of the new book Twenty-First Century Design (published October 2006) and founder and former editor of icon magazine. His goal is to bring you news of great architecture and design projects before anyone else, and he’s quite successful with that ambition.
- Future Feeder: Future Feeder feeds into design, design, and architecture on the authoritative spine of the Journal of Architecture and Computation. You can submit, suggest, and contribute to articles or to online entries that focus on the deepest of present and future architectural concepts.
- MoCoLoco: Start from the outside of the abode and work your way in. That’s what MoCoLoco covers in their dedication to everything related to modern contemporary design and architecture.
- pingmag: Sharp, fresh, and innovative, this blog flatters design in all its forms - based upon the premise is that design is unlimited. Based in Tokyo, pingmag looks high and low for design gems and brings them to readers with panache.
- StrangeHarvest: Sam Jacob is a director of Fat, he’s architecture editor of Contemporary, and editor at large for Archis. He also writes for icon and Modern Painters as well as contributing to various academic journals and books. He should write, as he’s got a way with words. On Bose noise-canceling headphones he states, “My ears sink into soft leather cushions like pigs reclining into Italian furniture.”
- things Magazine: Yes, the focus is on “things,” but those things are centered on design, architecture, and information technology. things has built a reputation as a home for new writing about objects and their meanings. The multitude of links in their essays, reviews, short stories and poems could keep you busy for days.
- we make money not art: Régine Debatty, a full-time blogger and new media art curator, has her finger on the pulse of the junction between art, design and technology. A visit to this site might make you feel as though you discovered a sleeper movie. Think Woody Allen in Soho back in the day, but with a fresh lemon twist.
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Environmental and/or Sustainable
Architecture has everything to do with ‘greening’ the globe, as this field designs the living and working spaces that earth’s individuals habitate. The blogs listed below cover a broad range of topics, or are topic-specific, but they all focus on the environment and/or sustainability.
- BLYGAD: “Blog like you give a damn” like Colin Kloeker does at this official blog for Minnesota’s Architecture for Humanity.
- Earth Architecture: You can travel the earth from your computer when you visit this blog, which focuses on architecture constructed of mud brick (adobe), rammed earth (pisé), compressed earth block or other methods of earthen construction.
- Eco Tecture: A rural resident comes to the big city to study architecture and then becomes interested in government projects and urban development projects in and around Chicago. The blog is about the complexity of these projects and how they impact social, environmental, and political environments as well as architecture.
- Green Bean: Erik Olsen, PE, is the Green Projects Administrator for the Chicago Department of Construction and Permits, where he manages the Green Permit Program. So, where else can you get a glimpse into built, in-progress, and unbuilt green building projects in Chicago except through his blog?
- greenbuildingsNYC: gbNYC’s mission is to explore the intersection of legal issues and green business, with particular emphasis on the LEED green building rating system and sustainable construction. Although the focus is on New York City, you can also find green buildings blogs based out of Los Angeles, Miami, and in Washington D.C.
- Jetson Green: Preston Koerner - who has an unlikely background of Eagle Scout, a B.A. in History and a minor in Japanese, with a little law and real estate thrown into the mix - has created a blog that has caught the imagination of many readers. The main theme of this website is the “confluence of modernism and environmentalism,” and he invites any professional who’s interested in green building to chime in.
- Resilience Science: Garry Peterson, a professor in Geography and the School of the Environment at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, focuses on adaptive management, urban ecology, responses to crisis, ecological functioning, serious games, visualization, and green design in this blog. After all, it takes more than a green house to make a green world.
- Tools for Sustainability: This website, started and updated by faculty and students at Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Architecture, is an online forum for architectural students.
- Treehugger: This link for Treehugger takes you to the “design and architecture” section within this online green journal. Within the past two years, Treehugger has walked away with several awards - not just for their green focus, but for posting news about new items and green technology with a positive attitude.
- WorldChanging: This site and its blog operates on one premise: That the “tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us.” The hope is to bring disparate fields together to use these tools, models, and ideas more efficiently. Excellent resources.
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Don’t expect to learn how to plant your garden here, although a few tips on how to manage groundhogs might pop up among articles about landscape sculptures, water issues, and vacant lots.
- Aesthetic Grounds: Glenn Weiss, a planner for public art, architecture and urban design in suburban Coral Springs, Florida, believes that the “dialogue on public art and public space has almost no American art critics.” Weiss hopes to deepen the human pleasures of public art and public space with this blog.
- Free Soil: This site and its blog is an “international hybrid collaboration of artists, activists, researchers and gardeners who take a participatory role in the transformation of our environment.” Free soil offers plenty of resources for architects, artists, and landscape designers.
- Land + Living: Beyond the environment and landscape, Land + Living is dedicated to modern lifestyle and design both inside and outside the habitat - and that’s what made this blog difficult to categorize yet a joy to read. The founders and editors, Anthony and James, have backgrounds that cover architecture, landscape and gardening, graphic design, environmental awareness, and more. This link will take you to the landscape entries in their blog.
- My Urban Garden Deco Guide: If you live in the city and you want to do anything outdoors, this blog may inspire your creativity. Anne also touches on some inner beauties, but the outdoor merchandise and ideas are hotter.
- Places and Spaces: David Tulloch, an associate professor of landscape architecture at Rutgers State University, brings comments and news about environmental planning and design intended for all audiences including students and alumni of the Rutgers major of Environmental Planning and Design.
- Terrain.org: This blog is a work that belongs to Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments. While the journal is published twice yearly, the blog is updated constantly on issues relating to the Journal.
- The Dirt: This blog is an extension of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), so you can expect a comprehensive and intelligent discourse on this topic.
- Turned Earth: This blog belongs to O’Connell Landscape, located in Novato, California. We chose this blog because it covers everything from pesky garden problems to outdoor furniture, to outdoor art, sculpture, and construction with discriminating taste.
- Whispering Crane Institute: WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a “Green Industry” think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. Rick Anderson uses the WCI blog to spread some info about the art and practice of Landscape Design. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the ideas, the sketches, and the photographs that make this blog a delight to read.
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The following blogs were difficult to categorize, so they were filed under niche topics, where you’ll discover blogs created by activists, students, critics, and dreamers.
- Activist Architect: Graduate students at the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota facilitate this blog, which focuses on resources for designers who are interested in “applying their professional skills and abilities in working for social justice and community activism.”
- B.E.L.T.: This blog is about “Built Environment in Layman’s Terms.” But, the photography is by Toby Weiss, an architectural photographer. Once again, this blog was difficult to classify so it ended up as a niche blog since the writing is as interesting as the photographs.
- Continuity in Architecture: Academics and architects write this blog and use it as a studio for teaching at Manchester School of Architecture (UK). The site is scholarly, but fresh perspectives from students keep the site vibrant.
- EdwardLifson.com: Edward Lifson is one of Chicago’s biggest art boosters who studied art and architecture and then went to work for National Public Radio (NPR). Now, he’s known for his show “Hello Beautiful!” on Chicago Public Radio. But, don’t expect his blogg to focus on Chicago - you’ll find a plethora of information here on all sorts of design events and happenings - all infused with Lifson’s enthusiasm.
- eye candy: While the name for this blog might lead you to believe that it belongs in the “design and technology” category, you’ll discover that Eric, an architect, focuses on raising the bar for architecture on any current architectural project.
- fulminate // Architectures of Control: Dan Lockton, a designer and engineer from the UK, writes a provocative blog on products designed with features that intentionally restrict the way the user can behave, or enforce certain modes of behavior. He uses these objects to point out how many systems and environments are also created as controlled or controlling spaces or technologies.
- Offbeat Homes: Jennifer Chait is a favorite because she can really sniff out the unusual in abodes. She recently co-built a passive solar house on top of a New Mexico mountain, but she prefers to write about offbeat homes and Hippie Sounds. Her perspective is fresh and easy to swallow.
- Roundtable: Research Architecture: Goldsmiths, a new and innovative research center brings together architects, urbanists, filmmakers, curators and other cultural practitioners from around the world to work collaboratively around the questions on how architecture can engage with culture, politics, and conflict. The blog mirrors the topics and issues within this focus.
- Tessellar: Mazlin Ghazali, a private practice architect located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is absolutely obsessed with tessellations and how these mosaic patterns relate to habitats and commercial environments. His focus is on how to use these patterns to create better housing for more people.
- The Antiplanner: The author of this blog is directly related to The Thoreau Institute, and the focus is on critiques of hundreds of development plans written by a wide variety of federal, state, and local government agencies.
- The Architecture of Fear: George Agnew began this blog as an independent study at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. Agnew has since expanded on this study to include “war, art, terror, media, communication, design and destruction to create a relevant architectural theory on how we live our lives under the unconscious umbrella of fear and danger.”
- Unbuilt: This blog was started as a format for dialogue about reviving the city and a land after and often during conflict. Archis hosts the site with Partizan Publik and Pearl Foundation as partners.
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Anyone who needs a professional architectural photographer can tap the Association of Independent Architectural Photographers (AIAP) or find someone through a network. Anyone who needs records of decayed and abandoned buildings and landscapes can tap someone who explores urbex through photography (try the Urban Exploration Webring for beginners). We weeded through all the good, bad, ugly, and stunning to find the following photographers, who were chosen because they: 1) maintain an active blog; 2) focus on urban landscapes, and ; 3) have interesting written perspectives on their work or provide links to other independent and creative photographers.
- Berlin Guide: Berlin is not this photographer’s hometown, but the photographer is addicted to this city’s street scenes and architecture. The views are captured as the photographer travels the city by subway, S-Bahn or by foot.
- BlueJake: Jake Dobkin, an amateur photographer who lives in New York City, focuses mainly on urban landscape with occasional diversions. He posts a new picture on the front page nearly every day, and he has archives that stretch back to 2002.
- Chicago Uncommon: Dawn Mikulich, the photographer behind Chicago Uncommon, brings the Chicago environment to the public through several venues. The site contains over 1201 images of Chicago proper and over 320 images in her travel section.
- Desolate Metropolis: A brilliant perspective on the Boston area with topics such as “abandonment,” “industrial,” “surreal,” and “infrared.” Go to the “Get out of Town” section to find great links to other urban photographers.
- fotopromenade: Andy Marshall is an architectural photographer with a background in historic building conservation. He maintains this site where he posts a daily photo, a blog that focuses strictly on architecture, and a Flash Web site that contains architectural photos and commentary.
- Flak Photo: This daily photography blogzine features distinctive work from an international community of contributors. While not all portfolios and images pertain to architecture, the site provides links to photographers who do focus on this genre (such as Carl Corey’s Habitat).
- Funky Side of Town: Maciej Szafraniec is a student of economics, amateur photographer, designer and web developer who cross-processes color slides to achieve unnatural colors and high contrast in his mostly European urban images.
- iN-PUBLiC: According to this site’s manifesto, this site was set up in 2000 “to provide a home for Street Photographers.” The photographers hail from around the globe, and their perspectives turn familiar objects into thought-provoking images.
- jen bekman: Jen Bekman’s gallery in New York City is billed as the “best thing going for emerging photographers.” She provides readers with her enthusiasm for photobloggers and gallery activities through her frequently updated blog.
- joe’s nyc: Joseph O. Holmes is a professional New York City photographer who has exhibited across the U.S., in Berlin, and in several notable photography magazines. His images reflect this professionalism as they also reveal intimate details in urban architecture and landscapes. His blog is concerned mostly with personal and network activities, and his images are updated daily.
- Lee Bey: The Urban Observer: This link will take you to Lee Bey’s official blog. Bey is an urbanist, writer and architecture critic, and his blog offers observations, photography, video links and anything else that deals with Chicago’s built environment - with occasional diversions.
- Rion.nu: One of the first New York City photobloggers, Rion Nakaya has been documenting her photos online in narrative sets for more than six years. She’s now an exapt photoblogger as she resides in Paris and continues her work from that city.
- Running From Camera: This guy named “Muggezifter” has created a game where he puts the camera’s self-timer on two seconds, pushes the button, and then tries to get as far from the camera as he can. In the process, this photographer captures some interesting urban landscapes throughout The Netherlands, mostly in Rotterdam.
- Satan’s Laundromat: This photographer captures street art throughout New York, with an emphasis on “urban decay, strange signage, and general weirdness.” These images are not a wash.
- UrbanPhoto: Although UrbanPhoto is based out of Montreal, the cast of photographers who contribute are located throughout Canada and the U.S., with a peppering of images from Paris, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. The running commentary is as good as the images.
- Worksongs: Where UrbanPhoto brings Montreal’s streets to the Web, Andrew Emond offers images that focus on urban decay wrought by the industrial age from Montreal and Toronto.
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The following blogs consist of musings, ruminations, news blurbs, and announcements from individuals who work as architects or engineers or who are architectural students.
- After Corbu: “Quixote” is a “new-fangled structural engineer who likes his earthquakes strong and his politics anarcho-syndical.” But, don’t let this attitude scare you off - Quixote actually blends his personal life nicely into his opinions and perspectives, and that touch of humanity brings a softer edge to a razor-sharp perspective from the structural side.
- Architectural Antifreeze, Part IV: This blog is “for when architecture gets a little too cool for comfort.” The focus is away from corporate structure (in more ways than one) and into more public education that would enable individuals to care for their built environment and “maybe even participate in its design.” Anticipate tongue-in-cheek intelligence.
- Architectural Ruminations: Andrew Raimist, from Raimist architecture, Inc., offers his perspectives on St. Louis, Missouri, modern architecture including works of modern architect Harris Armstrong, and Raimist’s photographs.
- Architecture: This blog, created by Young Pong, covers a wide range of topics, including architecture, urban planning, interior design, 3D rendering, theories, and style. Young, a designer located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, connects readers with a wide variety of online resources..
- Architecture and Morality: A civil engineer, an intern architect, and a pastor ruminate on architecture, urbanism, politics, economics and religion. Their perspectives make for some interesting reading.
- Architecture Lab: This blog is an enigma, and it’s not quite an aggregator - but it’s included as the authors bring interesting news, updates, and resources that are quick and easy to read.
- ArkiBlog: Written in English and Turkish, this blog touches on architecture, design, urban life and other related fields.
- Arkitectrue: Yelda Horozoglu provides this blog platform for design enthusiasts to find items of interest in architecture, interior design, and urban planning.
- Architecture.MNP: This blog site aims to bring readers a daily supply of architecture and design from around the web and the world. They showcase all of the “illest, most interesting, and often times craziest architecture” that they can find.
- Design Observer: Design Observer was founded by heavy-hitters Michael Bierut, William Drenttel, Jessica Helfand, and Rick Pynor. Their contributors include Steven Heller, Adrian Shaughnessy, Dmitri Siegel, Alice Twemlow, Tom Vanderbilt, and Lorraine Wild. Need we say more?
- East Coast Architecture Review: Bradley M. Swarts, an Intern Architect and LEED Accredited Professional who is practicing Architecture in North Carolina, brings a slightly different angle to architecture, urbanism, sustainability, and modern design. The site is video-heavy, so if you’re interested in Swarts’ perspectives, you could spend a whole weekend on this site.
- Life Without Buildings: Coming to you from San Francisco, this blog is about buildings despite the title. Actually, it’s about buildings and postmodern culture.
- Loud Paper: Mimi Zeiger, editor and publisher of loud paper, former senior editor of Architecture magazine and author of New Museums: Contemporary Museum Architecture Around the World, blogs on art, architecture and design from an entirely original perspective.
- mirage.studio.7: Architecture is poetry to Calvin Ngan, an architectural student. Mix architecture with Calvin’s love for web designing and photography, and you’re in for a treat. Check out his links - promising students and friends. His archives can be found at his original blog.
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Urbanism is the architectural topic for the early twenty-first century. These blogs deconstruct, analyze, critic, discuss, and practice urban architecture, even when that architecture consists of homeless landscapes.
- Brand Avenue: The author of this blog focuses on place, space, and identity and how those spaces are branded for certain uses. While the entries are well written and thought provoking (the book reviews are great), the site also acts as a sort of travelogue for anyone interested in urban identity. This point is emphasized with this site’s long list of links to major North American cities and the Web sites that promote these areas.
- City Comforts: City Comforts is mainly a book on how to build an urban village. The blog, written by the author of the book, writes about cities, architecture, the ‘new urbanism,’ real estate, historic preservation, urban design, land use law, landscape, transport - “etc etc from a mildly libertarian stance.” The book is wildly popular, and the blog brings equally excellent perspectives to the table for urban planning.
- Digital Urban: Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith, a Senior Research Fellow at CASA (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis) and team leader of the Virtual London modeling group, examines the latest techniques to visualize the cityscape via digital media in this blog.
- Neighbourhoods: Kevin Harris set up this blog to explore “issues to do with neighbourhood relations, citizenship, social capital, space and place, and related areas that inform our understanding of what makes a viable neighbourhood.” He began the blog while working for Community Development Foundation, but now it focuses on surface issues and ideas that surround his consultancy work at Local Level.
- Sprawled Out: John Michlig started this blog project in 2006 when he read about a development project that was hailed as progress for a corridor that was previously the main link between Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now known simply as “27th Street,” this road also acts as the border between two cities. Michlig chronicles all the development happenings from planning meetings to meetings on the street, along with photos and opinion.
- Squatter City: Robert Neuwirth is a writer who spent two years living in squatter communities in four continents. His experiences resulted in a book entitled, Shadow Cities, which is an attempt to “humanize these maligned settlements.” His blog focuses on squatters and squatter cities around the world.
- Subtopia: This is a “field guide to military urbanism,” delivered by Bryan Finoki. As you might gather from the blog’s title, the writings here focus on urbanism and politics, but the underlying theme centers on design and how urban design shapes the city and its politics.
- Tropolism: Chad Smith is an architect, award-winning designer and writer who resides and works in New York City. His passion for NYC and the arts are apparent as Smith and his writers uncover the “architecture and motivations which are right in front of us.”
- Unhoused: Ava Bromberg and Brett Bloom conduct research for a forthcoming publication they are calling “Unhoused,” a follow up to their double-book, Belltown Paradise / Making Their Own Plans, which is available for free through their site. Their journal/blog reflects their research into the global housing crisis.
- Urban Planning Blog: Pratik Mhatre, a doctoral student in the Urban and Regional Science program at Texas A&M University, discusses trends in urban planning and design at his blog.
- Web Urbanist: The collective of writers on this blog are interested in all things urban - “from urban design to subversive art and strange architecture.” But, they go beyond this premise with images and commentary that focus on culture.
- Where: Brendan, who wants to build a boat and travel the length of the Danube, also has a long-running interest in the urban environment and experience. This blog focuses on urban places, placemaking, and the concept of “place.”
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Posted in Features on October 10, 2007
If you’re in the market for a home but nothing seems to satisfy your taste, then perhaps the homes listed below will fire your creative urges. Or, maybe you’ll just be satisfied with an office space inside a building built like a basket. From small buildings to constructions shaped like flying saucers, you’ll be amazed at what some architects and builders have created. Many of the homes listed below are for rent or for sale, so you may have a chance to wow your friends with these incredible abodes.
The homes listed below are in no particular order, but we’ve managed to dig up some dirt on each building so that you can learn more about the architects and the history behind these unusual pieces of architecture.
Posted in Features on October 3, 2007
- Smallest House in the World: There’s been a rash of small houses in the news, and they all challenge our notions about need and consumerism as well as minimum-size standards. This house, photographed by Carol Lloyd for SFGate.com, illustrates how one person can live with a small space and a loft for sleeping. Located in the middle of an orchard, the house creates little impact on the environment, and even less of a carbon footprint for the resident. We wonder if the owner is a member of the Small House Society. If you’re interested in a small house, you might check out Jay Shafer’s work at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.
- Shoe House: Colonel Mahlon M. Haines, the flamboyant “Shoe Wizard,” built The Shoe House in 1948 for advertising purposes. Haines walked up to an architect, handed him an old work boot, and said “Build me a house like this.” It is a wood frame structure covered with wire lath and coated with cement stucco. It measures 48 ft. in length, 17 ft. in width at the widest part and 25 ft. in height, and was built in one year. The interior consists of five different levels and contains three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room. Haines died in 1962, and the Shoe House has had a few owners since, including an orthodontist who ran tours for twenty years and sold ice cream from a small snack bar in the heel. The house came full circle as it was returned to the Haines family in 1987, when a granddaughter of the “Shoe Wizard” purchased the building.
- Crazy Amsterdam House - An otherwise ordinary apartment slab is expanded by radically cantilevering apartments over the sidewalk on one side of this building in Amsterdam. On the other side, colorful translucent balconies punctuate the facade. This building is called the “MVRDV WoZoCos,” this is just one of many projects planned and constructed by the MVRDV. Based in Rotterdam, the MVRDV has been creating unusual and beautiful architecture since 1996. Their latest project is the Didden Village, realized in 2007. This ice blue rooftop residence is located in Rotterdam.
- Cantilevered Void House - A cantilever is a beam supported on only one end, and the beam carries the load to the support without any other external bracing. Cantilevers can be constructed with trusses or slabs. This type of construction allows for overhanging structures without external bracing, but the cantilever house shown here takes the cantilever to the extreme. Another new type of cantilever house includes the Single Hauz, a construction that looks like a large billboard. The house shown here was extracted from a gallery at Archinect.
- Space Ship House: This now-silver UFO house, which is located along Highway 12 in Buxton on the North Carolina Outer Banks, used to be green. Now that it’s been painted, it seems to create a lot of glare. This house landed on the Outer Banks about thirty years ago, originally designed as a vacation home by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968. Word is that the house was once a hotdog stand and, most recently, a gift shop. Now it just sits along the side of the road, rotting and for rent. You can find other space ship houses (some more for rent, as well) at the Spaceship House Web site.
- Rotterdam Cube Houses: These yellow Cube Houses (Kijk Kubus or Kubuswoningen) sit in stark contrast to the softly shaped and much older buildings in an old part of Rotterdam. These homes are not for sale, and they’re unlike anything else in the city with their lopsided shape. The main building was originally a bridge that crossed a traffic artery with a promenade at top. Sometimes known as “pole-houses” or “tree-houses,” the buildings were designed by the Dutch architect Piet Blom in the early 1970s. Blom tilted the cube of conventional house 45 degrees and rested it upon a hexagon-shaped pylon. There are 32 cubes altogether, all attached to each other. Bet a bird’s eye view of these structures at Impossible World.
- Bart Prince House: Internationally-known architect Bart Prince is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and he still lives in the area in this fantastical studio and living space built on a small lot. He designed this studio, which is set into the ground behind an earth berm toward the front of the structure to provide easy access and a buffer from the street for the more private portions of the house. The top level contains bedrooms with curved south facing glazing for passive solar benefits. The masonry tower was added in 1990 to provide library and drawing storage space. Visit Prince’s Web site to view more photos of his incredible architecture.
- Centrum Rezydent (Crooked House): The Centrum Rezdent is located on the Baltic coast of Poland in a town called Sopot. Its main tenant is a tavern called the Wonky Pub. Polish architect, Szotynscy Zaleski, was inspired by the fairytale illustrations of Jan Marcin Szancer and the drawings of the Swedish artist and Sopot resident Per Dahlberg (watch a video of his drawings inside the Crooked House). The most photographed building in Poland, the 4,000 square meter house is located in Rezydent shopping center. Find more images and history at The World According to Google.
- De Lat Crazy House: Da Lat was a resort during the Vietnam War and has remained a resort, with still-intact colonial villas designed at the turn of the last century by celebrated French architects. The Crazy House, built by the daughter of Ho Chi Minh’s right-hand man, is just one resort located in this town. The official name is Hang Nga Guesthouse (named for the architect) and gallery, but Vietnamese locals refer to it as the Crazy House. According to GlobeLife Travel, this concrete tree portion to the west in the guesthouse contains three rooms. “Its upper level has a framework of the slim tree trunks used in construction in most developing countries, draped with blue plastic sacking. Using the existing roofs of the Tiger Room, the Eagle Room, and the Ant Room for its foundations, this is where Hang Nga will build her dream room: the Bee Room. It will be a two-story suite, with two bathrooms, a waterfall and a massage bathtub.”
- Global Tree House: This house could compete for the world’s smallest home, but it might serve as a secondary home or a guest house. Designer Tom Chudleigh set out to build boats and ended up making these sophisticated tree house spheres that suspend via wires from old-growth trees or any other stationary objects. Since completing the first prototype called Eve, which was made out of yellow cedar wood, Tom has perfected his techniques. Now, he also constructs the spheres out of fiberglass, fitting them with plumbing, wiring and windows. Prices start at around US$45,000. View more images at Cool Hunting.
- Mushroom House: The Mushroom House (aka Tree House) is located in the Hyde Park area of Cincinnati, Ohio. Although Hyde Park is home to stately, well-maintained homes with manicured lawns and tree-lined streets, this house has won the hearts and minds of local residents. Terry Brown, architect and professor of architecture and interior design at the University of Cincinnati, designed this house. It would change over time as his students used this house as a building project. The house was put up for sale in 2006. You can see another view of the house on this page at Flickr.
- Cave House: Hasankeyf is a village in Turkey that clings to the rocks of a gorge above the Tigris River. Despite its beauty and history, Hasankeyf is one of the most ancient occupied places in the region, with historical remnants dated that date over 5,000 years. But if the Ilisu dam is built, 57 towns will be flooded and more than 16.000 people will be forced from their ancestors’ lands. All the inhabitants of the city — and all the local branches of the political parties — are against the building of a dam which will destroy their life. But their efforts to avert the crisis have been to no avail. If you look closely at this image, posted at Flickr, you’ll see a satellite dish erected at one of the occupied caves along the Hasankeyf Gorge.
- Going Underground: Much media interest has focused on Labour MP Bob Marshall Andrews’ underground house, located in St. Bride’s Bay in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It was designed in 1994 and built by 1996 by Future Systems, the home has been nicknamed the “tellytubby house” by locals. The home is built into an 80-ft. cloff with views of the bay, and the roof and sides of the house being turfed with local vegetation. It’s barely visible beneath its grass-covered mound, a roof constructed from plywood aerofoil construction covered with turf. Earth-sheltered homes, like the one shown here, often appear as little more than a grassy knoll with little architecture to disrupt the scenery.
- Basket Building: Can you imagine an office space in this building? What started out as a dream by Dave Longaberger, Founder of The Longaberger Company, was built into a giant basket to house the entire corporate offices of the company. “Dave believed the idea was one of his best and would draw attention to the company, while simultaneously helping to build [the] brand.” The Longaberger Company creates handcrafted baskets as its signature product. 1998, The Longaberger Home Office received a Build Ohio Award for its synthetic plaster system. The building is made of stucco over a steel structure, which helps create the look of an actual Longaberger Basket. The Home Office continues to attract the attention of media from around the world. If you’re in the area, you can tour the building.
- Bubble House: This odd house is located in Tourette–sur–Loup, high on a hillside behind Nice, France, is only 35 years old yet the French Ministry of Culture already lists it as a historic monument. Though construction began in 1970 and has so far cost $7,500,000 the house is unfinished, with completion estimated to require another $1,250,000. The house went up for sale in 2005 with a price tag of €2,440,000 ($3,000,000). Designed by Finnish architect Antti Lovag, this house is just one of about twenty bubble houses located throughout France. The finished property shown here has three bedrooms and covers just over 2,000 square feet - “although it is hard to measure,” concedes Daniel Bord, the village mayor and owner, “as it’s all round.”
- Dome House: This Dome House (formally known as Narveno Court), located in suburban Hawthorn, Australia, was based upon Roy Grounds’ 1959 spaceship design for the Canberra Academy of Science. Architects Charles McBride Ryan ditched Grounds’ idea and created a home that is grounded and built from ribbed copper cladding, gabion stone walls, timber boards, translucent plastic screens and green, sheer curtains, shiny black, glazed bricks and thin, metal window frames. According to the story at The Age, “Whites and greens, yellows, natural timbers and burgundy brighten interiors, but they act also as a kind of instruction or signage for those using the building.”
- The Chemosphere: By 1960, John Lautner had had his own architectural office in Southern California for 20 years and had produced a long series of houses that combine innovative engineering, superb handling of materials, respect for his clients’ needs, and an experimental vision that remains perpetually fresh. Lautner built this house for Leonard Malin, an aircraft electronics engineer short on money but high on imagination. Malin gave the architect a budget of $30,000, a sum that was agreed upon and construction began in May 1959. The house is today considered one of the great architectural icons of Los Angeles. The Chemosphere, which resembles a flying saucer, is located at 7776 Torreyson Drive in the Hollywood Hills. It can best be seen from the corner of Flynn Ranch Road and Torreyson Drive or directly across the street at 7777 Torreyson Drive. In 2000 the German publisher Benedikt Taschen bought the Chemosphere for $1 million, and it now serves as his Los Angeles home and satellite office.
- Tallest Log Cabin: Located in Arkhangelsk, Russia, this house is believed to be the world’s tallest wooden house, soaring 13 floors to reach 144 ft. - about half the height of Big Ben. Built by a one-time gangster, the house that Sutyagin built is also crumbling, incomplete and under threat of demolition from city authorities determined to end the former convict’s eccentric 15-year project. According to Sutyagin, “First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom,” he said. “So I added another and it still didn’t look right so I kept going. What you see today is a happy accident.” But, his plans were thwarted when he was tossed into jail in 1998 to server a four-year prison sentence. “When I went to prison I was a millionaire,” he said. “Now I’m penniless.” Sutyagin, 60, lives in four poorly heated rooms at the bottom of his wooden skyscraper with his 32-year-old wife Lena. He’s built a roof around the second floor so that he can claim the rest of the house is purely decorative. This effort was to avoid housing regulations that claim no house in Arkhangelsk can be over two storys.
- Airplane House: This oddity, which looks like a jetliner has settled atop a two-story concrete home, is located in West Africa. This is the residence of Said and Liza Jammal. When they married, Liza loved to travel. So, she extracted a promise from her young husband - that he would build a house for her in the shape of an airplane as a symbol of her hobby. But, seven children and a fast-growing business consumed the Jammals’ time. In 1999, Said - a civil engineer - spotted this piece of land and began to fulfill his promise to his wife.
- Pyramid House: While this pyramid might seem the sum of the whole house, you’d probably be surprised to learn that this structure is a skylight for an underground home. The home, located in Hamilton, Ohio, is 6,500-plus square-feet with a 2,500-square-foot living room - ample space to entertain 80 guests. But, without a skylight, the lack of light made this large underground home dim. The pyramid, according to owner, designer, and local entrepreneur Harry Wilks, would catch the maximum amount of light and that the self-supporting pyramid would hold itself up without the aid of posts. In keeping with the pyramid scheme, the home is decorated with Wilks’ collections of historic artifacts from Rome, Egypt and Greece. If you’re looking for a pyramid that’s a house instead of a skylight, try this one located in Wadsworth, Illinois.
- Forest Spiral Building: The Hundertwasser house, “Waldspirale” (”Forest Spiral”), was built in Darmstadt, Germany between 1998 and 2000 by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the famous Austrian architect and painter. Hundertwasser died in 2000, just before this structure was finished. It contains 105 apartments that wrap around a landscaped courtyard with a running stream. Up in the turret at the southeast corner, there is a restaurant, including a cocktail bar. The building is constructed from sediment rock, bands of ceramic tiles and colored stucco, and the roof is formed by a garden of beech, maple, and lime trees.
- Cookie Jar House: This is the only cookie jar house in the United States, and it’s located in Glendora, New Jersey. The house was bui in 1947 as a speculation house, as the builders planned to make a community out of these homes. This house was originally built with a flat roof and a stucco finish. The brickwork was added later to this three-story framed building. The interior boasts a spiral staircase that rises to the roof and a widow’s walk. Every room within the house is semi-circular.
Edit: picture taken down at owner’s request.
- Vertical House: This 2,400 sq. ft. house was built from cement fiberboard, and it has been innovatively used in conjunction with three types of glazing. What’s amazing about this house is that it sits on a lot that’s only twenty-five feet wide. But, what it lacks in width, it gains in height. From the roof, a visitor can see the Pacific Ocean, which is three blocks away from this Venice Beach site. Bring plenty of window cleaner, as this home contains 112 windows! Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, located in Culver City, California, designed this house. This firm has been recognized with twenty-four design awards including seven American Institute of Architects Design Awards.
- Spaceship House (for sale!): The link for this spaceship house, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will take you to a video where you can view the home’s interior. This home, which has been on HGTV (Home and Garden Television) for the number two most unique homes in the U.S,. is now for sale. Nestled between rocks and trees on the side of beautiful Signal Mountain among other single-family homes, the resident in this 1,952 sq. ft. abode will be very close to downtown and shopping. All you need for this purchase is $184,900 and plenty of time to wait in line to see the home. When this home was shown previously, so many people showed up the police were called to do traffic control.
- Dome House: This photo and link will take you to the home of Bryan and Dianne Bremner, two sixty-something retirees in Republic, Washington. They built their 2800-square-foot Monolithic Dome home, Curlew Keep, on Curlew Lake, and it resembles a modified Torus — the first Monolithic Dome of this type to be built. In addition to the loft, Curlew Keep sports three bedrooms; three bathrooms; a sunken living room; dining, kitchen and laundry areas; and a two-car, attached garage leading into an outdoor room. If you’re jealous, you can visit other Monolithic Dome homes at the Monolithic Dome Institute Web site. These homes are located throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world, and some are for rent and for sale. You, too, can live in a dome!
The lap of luxury might elude some individuals, but this social class is becoming so large that there’s now a schism between the rich and the uber-rich. To that end, the following list of blogs may appeal to anyone who owns a private island, a Porsche or two, and a Picasso. Of course, voyeurs are welcome, as you’re not breaking a law if you want to dream. But, you might want to wear a bib if you tend to drool over bling and member-only sites.
While we cover everything from art to travel, we offer the “best of the best” luxury blogs just to get your luxury muscles warmed up. Those sites are listed in alphabetical order, as are all the following sites, which are also categorized. Please note that the blog numbering is not meant to be a ranking, as each luxury topic is listed in alphabetical order, with blogs then listed in alphabetical order within that topic.
Best of the Best
While most of the sites listed below are blogs, we included a few portals as well. We couldn’t pass those sites up, as they offer a gateway into everything luxurious.
- 20ltd: This site is more than a blog - it’s a virtual calendar filled with luxury goods, backed by incredible music. Yes, it’s a shopping site, but it sells only 20 uber-exclusive luxury goods at a time and you cannot purchase the items anywhere else. Yes, it’s a travelogue, but the focus is on the goods and the artisan. Yes, it’s a jukebox, and yes - you can dance naked at home while shopping.
- Goldarth’s Review: Watches, wines, and wonderful getaways - you can find all this and more at Goldarth’s Review. Visit the “luxury news” category to get gadget previews, or visit their other categories to learn more about luxury real estate, antiques, yachts, and more.
- High Chic: From cars to cigars and real estate, High Chic has it all. Luxury is a lifestyle, and this site doesn’t let you forget it.
- JustLuxe: A luxury portal that serves as a guide to the best in luxury living. Wear it, swim in it, live in it, and breathe it in - it’s all deluxe.
- Luxury Reviewer: This blog is an offshoot from Trendhunter, which is “an explosion of cool fueled by a community of 16412 Trend Hunters.” While TrendHunter brings the latest and greatest trends to the Web, Luxury Reviewer covers life in excess.
- Robb Report Luxury Portal: Although this site isn’t a blog as such, we can’t omit the constantly updated information provided within various themes on this site. The site incorporates compelling editorial, photography, and classified advertising from each of Robb Report’s luxury publications, presenting a one-stop resource for everything from fine wines to wealth management, vacation homes to motorcycling, and private aviation to high-end home entertainment.
- Street Peeper: Street fashion from Amsterdam to “Elsewhere.” The list of bloggers, photographers, and general contributors is enough to make you drool with anticipation over what these on-the-edge individuals will bring to the site. This site makes The Satorialist seem dated (see #36 below).
- The Real Estalker: There are real estate blogs, and then there are high-end semi-stalking celeb real estate blogs. This site is one of the latter, and a very good one at that. In fact, “Mama” calls her site some “good real estate pornography.”
- We Make Money, Not Art: Count on Régine Debatty, a new media art curator, to bring an interesting take on the intersection between art and design and technology. She’ll keep you informed, enlightened, and entertained.
- World Hum: While many travel sites focus on the destination, World Hum focuses on the journey. Why spend money on the mundane, when this blog will show you how to get a real rush from your ramblings.
Topics Covered in this List
Art | Automobiles | Fashion | Fitness | Food & Wine | Gadgets | Hotels | Odds and Ends | Real Estate | Social Networks | Travel
Art collecting and gallery hopping are esteemed luxurious pastimes. However, if you’re unsure about emerging trends, historic issues, where to go and what to buy, the following blogs will fill you with artistic confidence.
- Absolute Arts: This is the artists’ art blog, with news, reviews, and thoughts about art around the world. The bloggers are artists, collectors and dealers, and they all carry a great deal of respect for each other and for the world that they deliver to you through this site. The site also includes an opportunity for artists to create portfolios, so you can browse for an unknown who might - one day - become the next Van Gogh.
- Akrylic: Articles, essays, and criticism on contemporary art and related topics. Almost all the articles included on Akrylic have been previously published in international art periodicals, so this blog provides a great summary for readers.
- Art Addict: Paige West, art curator and gallery founder, writes about her thoughts and tips on collecting contemporary art within a global venue. Don’t expect harsh critiques, as West prefers to stay positive. On that note, you can count on her frank perspectives on those places and artists that she highlights.
- ArtForum Diary: One of the best blogs for pushing you straight into the art world, with insider social news as well as hot art trends. Depend on this site to keep tabs on all your friends while you’re vacationing on your private island.
- Artopia: John Perreault is a critic, curator, poet, and artist who makes astute observations on popular mainstream and off-the-beaten-path art. Although he veers off-course at times, his insights and choices are stimulating.
- hatchets and skewers: artist, curator, art critic, and musician Jeffry Cudlin serves as the Director of Exhibitions for the Arlington Arts Center and writes for the Washington City Paper. His insights into his interests as well as on art provides the reader with a professional and creative perspective on the art world.
- Modern Art Notes: Tyler Green, art journalist, provides detailed artist reviews to entries about his travels. Let him be your eyes and ears on the latest openings and art happenings. ArtsJournal.com, a daily digest of arts, culture, and ideas sponsors his blog.
- Steve Roach & The Art of Law…: “A blog about the intersection of art, law, auctions, collecting, financial planning, and finally, my life.” Roach is a lawyer who handles trusts and estates at a Texas auction house, and his perspectives on art collecting will provide you with a solid base for this hobby/investment.
- The Intrepid Art Collector: Lisa Hunter, author of The Intrepid Art Collector, gives collectors insights into adventures in the art market.
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Don’t count on finding blogs that focus specifically on Bentleys, Lamborghini’s, or Jaguars. You might find some discussions or ratings about these vehicles at larger automotive sites, so you’ll need to content yourself with those offerings for now. Or, you can peruse the following blogs for ideas about other choices in the luxury car market…
- Automobiles De Luxe: Gunnar Heinrich brings his enthusiasm online in this blog about luxury and exotic automobiles.
- Automotive.com Luxury Blog: Do you crave Alfa Romeos? Or, perhaps you’d prefer something simple, like a Lamborghini. Automotive.com provides up-to-date information on these luxury cars and more at their luxury car blog.
- AutoSpies: This blog lays claim to the ultimate insider’s guide to the world’s finest vehicles. Discover a huge selection of car photos from various auto shows, along with upcoming releases.
- BenzInsider: This site’s main focus is bringing its visitors the latest and most interesting stories about the Mercedes-Benz Car Group (Mercedes, Smart and Maybach), which includes news, reviews, rumors and more.
- BMW Blog: A blog written by a BMW lover, a self-professed “car nut” who owns a few BMWs and who is addicted to “pretty much anything light and fast.”
- eMercedesBenz: eMercedesBenz is an independent blog dedicated to covering the latest Mercedes-Benz news, information and rumors.
- Exotic Car Rental Blog: This blog is maintained by DFW Elite Auto Rental, a business that has the largest collection of exotic and classic cars for rent in the United States.
- Jalopnik: Don’t let the name throw you off. This blog showcases new designs and technologies in the automotive industry, as well as the gadgets and accessories that enhance the driving experience.
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You can check to see if you were noticed by the paparazzi on the sites below. Otherwise, you can catch up on the latest trends and then see how long it takes for the knock-offs to reach the mega-malls.
- B-Tique, Lifestyle & Fashion: The authors - two fashion professionals - believe their names aren’t that relevant, as their content will speak for itself. This blog offers enough photos that you’ll never need another fashion magazine. Click on the small images to see a larger detailed shot.
- Daily Candy: Don’t you dare book that trip to LA (or any other major city for that matter) without reading about the local hot haute hints provided by this blog. This is the best insider’s guide to what’s hot, new, and undiscovered — from fashion and style to gadgets and travel.
- Fashion Tribes: Blog and podcast from the experts on fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and pop culture.
- Fashion Wire Daily: Hardcore, down to business, hot news about the fashion industry. You can take this site to the bank. On average, FWD posts 10 stories and 50 photos each day in categories like fashion, beauty, and runway.
- Go Fug Yourself: Whether you pray for this type of publicity is up to you, as this site entertains about four million viewers per day. The peons love this site, which is filled with celeb fashion (or celeb strangeness), and edited with a keen sense of the absurd.
- High Snobiety: It isn’t all Vogue, you know. Find the best in street wear at this blog.
- Hint Blog: Hint Fashion Magazine offers more than haute fashion trends and collections for both genders - they also dish up the latest fashion news with this blog.
- Style.com: More of a portal than a blog, you still can rest assured that this site is updated daily with the best from the likes of Vogue and W. Don’t miss Men.Style.com or Men’s Vogue if you’re a guy (or if you just want to look at the guys in their posh threads).
- The Sartorialist: Selected as one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 Design Influencers,” this blog will put you on the street across the world to view haute fashion and fashionistas. However, if Street Peeper remains strong (see #7), that site will give The Sartorialist a run for its money.
- WhoWhatWear: This new site runs on the philosophy of “We don’t care who you date or if you eat. We only care about what you wear.” You’ll find large images (great for copying trends) and a forum devoted to who was wearing what and when.
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If you’ve eaten far too many European chocolates, you might need a little physical fix. While many luxury fitness camps and spas host offerings on the Web, only a handful provide blogs that promote their philosophies. Those blogs are noted below.
- Camp Biche: At Camp Biche, clients learn how to live the good life while absorbing a week-long, structured regimen in southwestern France. The blog merely mirrors the camp’s philosophy, which promotes eating as a great pleasure and physical exercise as bliss.
- Lift: Simply the hottest and trendiest gadgets for the sports fitness enthusiast. You don’t need a gym - you just need to play harder!
- NYC personal trainer Joe DiAngelo: Joe DiAngelo has become one of New York’s most coveted fitness experts and personal trainers. If you can’t hire him, then you can at least read his blog and compare his notes to your own personal trainer’s ideas on fitness.
- SPAPARAZZI Spa Blog: Brenda Lopez (aka The Spa Lady) is a spa industry professional and founder of Getaway Spas. She offers simple solutions that you can implement everyday to bring yourself back to a place of tranquility, solace, healing and renewal.
- Susie’s Spa Blog: After years of answering spa questions in Luxury SpaFinder Magazine as well as writing pieces about and for the spa community through the “Spa Finder Insider,” Susie is excited to throw off editorial constraints and offer opinions on anything spa-related.
- Truth In Cosmetic Surgery Blog: If your body looks ten years younger because you went to Camp Biche (see #38) and you want your face to catch up, you might want to peruse this blog for more information about your options. John Di Saia, M.D., a board certified plastic surgeon in San Clemente, California, brings a “No Spin; Bottom Line” alternative to “all the BS out there” on plastic surgery. His perspective is a luxury.
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Food & Wine
You may enjoy the following blogs so much that you’ll actually venture into your kitchen to cook. On the other hand, you’ll find enough restaurant ideas that you may never venture into that kitchen, ever. The wine cellar, however, is another story…
- A Self-proclaimed Foodaholic: Marie Antoinette had the right attitude - we all should eat cake, and hopefully it’s some very, very rich cake. But, this blog goes far beyond cake with tantalizing photos and recipes that you can hand to your chef (provided he/she doesn’t take umbrage with your suggestions).
- Chez Pim: Chez Pim chronicles her globetrotting adventures in the world of all things edible, from vibrant street-side fares in Asia to the refined world of Three Michelin Star restaurants in Europe.
- Gourmet’s ChopTalk: From this main link on gourmet food and travel, you can wander through cooking, travel, restaurant, gear and gadgets, and other blogs that bring you the finest gourmet offerings.
- Delicious Destinations: This lighthearted blog, brought to you by Gourmet Station, offers up ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture.
- Dr. Vino: A Ph.D. dissertation on the political economy of the wine industry in France and the United States led to this blog’s birth, where you’ll find good value wine recommendations and diverse perspectives ranging from politics to economics to sports and - occasionally - some pop culture.
- Pinot Blogger: Although this blog focuses on the birth of Capozzi Family Winery in the Russian River Valley, Josh Hermsmeyer writes a smart, technologically savvy and insightful blog that will enrich any wine enthusiast.
- The Wine Collector: Steve Bachmann, a 45-year-old entrepreneur, launched Vinfolio in 2003. This turnkey, white-glove wine store does everything for the serious collector as well as avid wine enthusiast - from buying, selling and cellar management to more in-depth collector services.
- Vinography: Simply the best wine review site on the Internet.
- ZagatBuzz: Initially started as a hobby, Zagat Survey is now the world’s leading provider of consumer survey-based dining, travel and leisure information, with more than 250,000 voters participating worldwide. Now you can gain access to ZagatBuzz, which is categorized by major U.S. cities and by this link to the “Best of” the Buzz.
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Sure, when you say the word, “gadgets,” you might think electronics. But, if you’re rich, you may believe that ‘gadgets’ represent anything that costs less than a million or so dollars. Therefore, the blogs below exhibit everything from electronics to handbags and from ‘thingmazigs’ to paintball panzers.
- Born Rich: The goal of this blog is to “help you spend all your hard-earned money on the snootiest thingmazig around.” Topics range from art to gadgets to surfboards and more.
- David Report: The David Report blog covers the latest and most interesting news concerning art, design, fashion, architecture, media, brand development and communication, travel and lifestyle trends. The trends aren’t the most expensive per se, but they’re the hottest items and ideas on the market.
- Gizmodo: Sure, this blog entertains news on ordinary gadgets, but - on the whole - this site also brings on the gadget bling. It’s all about shiny new toys!
- Hunt and Gather: This blog is for the primal male, one who seeks the walnut-grained LCD television and the printed Eco golf tees and ball markers. This is the luxury site for testosterone-based gadgets, gifts, gear, grooming, garments, and more.
- Lussorian: Want to find the most expensive deck of cards in the world? How about the most expensive bed on the planet? You can find both of those items and more at this blog.
- Luxist: There’s an emphasis on estates, journeys, and decor, with handbags playing an active role as well at this blog. Nice way to keep up on fringe merchandise.
- Luxury Design: This UK site brings jewelry, furniture, fashion, and cars to the Web, all with enticing images and discriminating taste.
- Popgadget: Popgadget is a lifestyle magazine that embraces technology as a regular and essential part of women’s lives. Be the first in your city to own a Woofer Speaker System for cat people or a handgun blow dryer. This is luxury at its most essential.
- Sybarites: A sybarite, by definition, is a person devoted to luxury and pleasure. Items included in this blog are considered only for quality and meaning - not for price.
- Pricy-Spicy: The item searches for this blog appear to be a hobby, but the writer has great taste. This blog offers perspectives on top-of-the-line merchandise, along with clues as to where to purchase the items.
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If you want luxury accommodations, don’t count on the first place you find off the Interstate. Instead, treat yourself to the best world-class hotels that you’ll discover through the following blogs…
- Concierge.com: Subscribe to Concierge.com’s feeds to learn about travel bargains to luxury resorts and hotels, and to learn about travel tips from Condé Nast Traveler’s consumer news editor Wendy Perrin, among other top-notch travel information.
- Drake and Cavendish: This link will take you to the luxury hotel blog on the Drake and Cavendish site. You’ll learn about new hotel openings, green hotels, and the best places to stay worldwide.
- Helium Report: Helium Report is the leading independent source of objective information on vacation home alternatives, but you can also learn more information on fractional ownership and private jets.
- Hotel Chatter: Frank and detailed appraisals about luxury hotels around the world. This blog not only provides a terrific resource, it’s fun to read.
- Hotels of the Rich and Famous: Do you want to know where Matt Damon and Madonna stay when they’re on the road? You can find this information and more at this blog, which is devoted to hotels, stars, and wealthy hotel goers.
- The Informed Traveler: The Informed Traveler is a blog devoted to luxury travel, published by the travel specialists at Five Star Alliance. The Informed Traveler is an independent source that talks about upscale travel and lavish hotels.
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Odds and Ends
The following blogs didn’t fit under the other topics, but they are considered essential luxuries.
- Air Taxi Blog: Air-taxi operators offer competitively priced point-to-point transportation between local and regional airports at their customers’ convenience. Sometimes called fly-on-demand, air taxis are frequently the most time- and cost-effective way for business people to get from one suburban or rural community to another on short notice. This blog covers this information and more.
- Blog of a Book Slut: Forget the New York Review - Jessa Crispin has made a name for herself by staying abreast of the national literary scene with short and emphatic blog entries that keep readers up-to-date on subjects like film adaptations of literature, the current government’s meddling with libraries, and - according to Forbes - “smarmy comments from smarmy writers.”
- Big Business Jet: If you own or crave a Boeing Business Jet, the Bombardier, the Gulfstream and more, then this blog is up your gilded alley. Big Business Jet is sponsored by Greenpoint Technologies (GTI), the aviation industry’s leading provider of interiors for VIP, corporate, government, commercial, and head of state clients.
- Janus Thinking: Although Janus Thinking is a commercial marketing and sales consulting business site, the blog presents interesting news and insights into luxury markets. Their sister company, Allied Diamonds, believes that people who buy diamonds should not just be diamond customers, but rather they should be diamond connoisseurs.
- Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music Blog: No, you’re not required to attend the opera and you don’t need to adore Mozart if you’re rich; however, a little knowledge about the classics is a good thing so you won’t be tagged as nouveau riche. Jessica Duchen, the author of this blog, has held editorial jobs on several music magazines and spearheaded the creation of the UK’s first independent piano magazine. She’s created ‘literary concerts’ for the stage, she’s written several books with music themes, and she married a violinist. How can you go wrong, especially when The Times stated that “Everything she writes is worth reading…”?
- Living the Luxe Life: Stacy Brice, a self-professed “voluptuary,” brings tidbits about small and large, the free, the inexpensive and the obscenely expensive yummies our world offers us all to her readers. As long as it’s comfortable or brings comfort, you’ll find it here.
- Rotor Sales Blog: If you have an itch for a helicopter, you can find the crème de la crème of rotors on this blog. The pictures alone may make your heart race.
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If land is king, then homes are crowns. The blogs listed below will provide you with ideas on real estate investments, home improvements, emerging markets, and more - all in the throne of luxury.
- BawldGuy Talking: Jeff Brown, of Brown and Brown Investment Properties, reaches first-time buyers to million-dollar property owners with this blog about real estate investing blog and “Purposeful Planning” articles.
- Flipping Rich: Sunny Yee and Derrik Dyka’s Flipping Rich investment blog brings “interesting” investing ideas to their readers.
- Home Improvement Ideas: Luxury housing trends, technologies, and products are tracked through this blog. The tips and advice are unusual, and the merchandise is fantastic.
- Luxury Home Digest: This blog imparts information about trends, markets, furnishings, tastes (including fine wines) and relevant gossip. The editor, Roberta Murphy, is a real estate broker in the coastal San Diego market, but the majority of categories go well beyond this niche market.
- Luxury Portfolio: Based in Chicago with representation in London, Luxury Portfolio represents decades of experience in the high-end market. By presenting a gallery of the finest luxury properties and brokerages, they are ensuring that the Luxury Portfolio brand is being recognized throughout the world as the luxury standard of excellence.
- Luxury Real Estate: Robert Lockard brings hot real estate news and luxury markets to readers through this blog, which is sponsored by the Luxury Real Estate site.
- Nubricks: Nubricks scans the globe to blog about the most promising international property development ideas and concepts. They track both offline and online property resources, as well as taking to the streets of world cities and resorts to get a hands on view.
- Offbeat Homes: Need an idea for that second or third home? This site will crank your creative urges!
- Open House Blog: Mary Clare Fleury at the Washingtonian offers up some peeks inside the luxury real estate market in DC. You can use this blog to compare your home with those that Fleury picks out, or you can use it to wish upon a star.
- Overseas Property Blog: This international real estate investment blog has been offering free, reliable international property news and research since March 2005. The contributors offer objective in-depth analysis of global real estate markets and property investment products.
- The Private Islands Blog: Private islands for sale, island resorts and exotic islands world-wide brought to readers by “The Islomaniac,” president of the Islomaniacs Society and Owner of Coldwell Banker Morrison’s Private Islands.
- Unique Homes: This blog is sponsored by Unique Homes, the leading luxury real estate magazine, and it brings the latest news and information on the luxury real estate industry to your computer.
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All of these sites promise “exclusive” or “elite” clientele as members who are willing to bring you into their fold - provided, of course, that you have connections and money. Since we’re not members, we can only offer descriptions that we found on these sites.
- ASmallWorld: Erik Wachtmeister founded ASMALLWORLD as a private online community for “like-minded individuals,” where members can participate in travel suggestions, feedback, forum discussions, and other topics of common interest. Membership is by invitation only.
- CCC Alliance: “Designed initially as a private forum for families to share best practices and combine their buying power, CCC Alliance has developed into a dynamic peer network, collaborative purchasing organization, and source of insight and opportunities.” If you become a member, you can collaborate regularly on wealth management, family office matters, and more. You must set up an interview to become a member.
- Diamond Lounge: A decadent environment in which to hang out, have fun and even do business, all with an unparalleled level of privacy. Members also have access to exclusive private business and social events and exquisite high-end merchandise. You must be invited by a trusted VIP member or submit an online application that will be reviewed by an Independent Committee.
- Tiger 21: More than a networking site, Tiger 21 is a peer-to-peer learning group for high-net-worth investors with a minimum of $10 million in assets to invest. But, if you join, you’ll discover that members talk about kids, philanthropy, homes, travel, and toys as well as investments.
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The hotel comprises just one part of luxury travel. The following blogs will help you decide where to go, what to do, and how to do it all with panache.
- Arthur Frommer Online: Comments, opinion and advice from the founder of Frommer’s Travel Guides.
- A Luxury Travel Blog: Dr. Paul Johnson , Managing Director of The Dedicated Partnership Ltd. tourism marketing company, focuses on the finer aspects of travel. This blog serves as a gateway for the discerning traveler, providing information on the most luxurious hotels and resorts, the finest restaurants and news from within the luxury travel industry, among other tidbits necessary for the discerning traveler.
- Globorati: Every weekday, Globorati delivers fresh, up-to-the-moment intelligence for the jet-set traveler. Their goal is to change the way luxury travelers get their information, and to inspire them toward embracing new possibilities.
- Gridskipper: Sometimes it isn’t all about money. Sometimes it’s all about decadence and urbanity. This blog’s writers scour the globe for “chic hotels, hot restaurants, sweet nightlife, and pretty people.”
- Inside Luxury Travel: Varun Sharma hosts a television show entitled (appropriately) “Inside Luxury Travel.” His blog is a diary from his travels with insights into his everyday luxurious life.
- Luxury Travel Magazine: This magazine’s blog showcases the world’s most exclusive escapes, and provides expert recommendations and inspiration for discerning travelers. The site’s founder and editor, Christine Gray, is a former Beverly Hills “travel agent to the stars” and consultant to the 1980’s TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”
- Tango Diva: Tango Diva gives women their wings through sharing insight, direction, and inspiration so that they can become active, knowledgeable participants in life. Teresa Rodriguez Williamson, a former Richard Simmons employee, began this travel blog after a decade of some very interesting adventures.
- Vagablond: Discover the best in luxury travel, food, wine and shopping, all delivered by a team of editors, writers and designers who are frequent travelers and who live and work all around the globe.
- World Extravagant: This is a simple little site that offers tons of information about luxury travel and travel news. The writers also touch on real estate, yachts, and private islands.
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