DC DEVELOPMENT(S): AUDI FIELD

Whether you’re a soccer fan rooting for the home team or just an innocent bystander to the city’s work to step up their sports game, you’ve probably heard that there’s a new stadium coming to town. DC United, our very own pro soccer club, is long overdue to kick the ball around on their new turf, called Audi Field, a project which has been in the making for quite some time (read: longer than originally anticipated). DC DEVELOPMENT(S): AUDI FIELD

BILLIONAIRES ARE BUILDING LAVISH COMPOUNDS TO PREPARE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

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Billionaires are buying houses in New Zealand – either because it’s an incredible, unspoiled paradise, or because global civilization is on the brink of utter collapse. Maybe both.

One of the highest profile New Zealand preppers is Peter Thiel, the Paypal cofounder who bankrupted Gawker and reportedly wants to inject himself with the blood of young people. (Definitely the kind of guy whose example you should be following.) According to reports, Thiel owns two properties in New Zealand. The first is a sprawling, 477-acre estate in the country’s Southern Alps (the area where “Lord of the Rings” was filmed; note that Thiel is a known JRR Tolkien obsessive who’s named several of his companies after Tolkien characters), for which he paid $10 million. BILLIONAIRES ARE BUILDING LAVISH COMPOUNDS TO PREPARE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

THIS SOCIALIST WW2 REFUGEE IS THE REASON YOU BUY TOO MUCH STUFF AT WHOLE FOODS

After Victor Gruen fled war-torn Europe in 1938, he landed in New York with eight dollars in his pocket.  Within 15 years, he’d completely reinvented American commerce.  How?  He not only invented the mall, he pioneered the whole suite of psychological tricks that retailers use to trick you into browsing and buying more.  Next time you go to Whole Foods for a half gallon of milk and end up spending eighty dollars on cheese and sparkling grape juice, blame Victor Gruen. THIS SOCIALIST WW2 REFUGEE IS THE REASON YOU BUY TOO MUCH STUFF AT WHOLE FOODS

CAN ARCHITECTURE MAKE PRISON TOLERABLE?

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Architecture is magic. And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m writing for a real estate firm and I have a soft spot in my heart for clean lines and light pouring through windows. Okay, maybe I am – but that’s truly besides the point. Architecture is magic for me for many reasons, but I also believe that it’s magic for everybody. After all, how much influence does the space we’re in hold over us? How much better do you function if you’re in a space that’s overcome with sunlight vs. one that’s dark and gloomy? Or in a space that’s clean and organized vs. cluttered and chaotic? What about well-designed and personalized vs. one that’s void of personality? The fact is this – the space we’re in makes a difference. It alters our mood, shifts our perspective, and can even play into how productive we are. Now, of course, my views on this matter are fairly fluffy…but there are some notably more qualified folks who stand behind my beliefs as well. Those experts have led to incredibly interesting architectural projects aimed to better people’s lives. One example of this? Storstrøm Prison, located a mere 70 miles from Copenhagen. CAN ARCHITECTURE MAKE PRISON TOLERABLE?

DC ARCHITECTURE SPOTLIGHT: CORE

If you haven’t already been following along, you might not know that in recent months, I’ve been exploring the who’s who and what’s what of architecture in DC. I mean, we all know DC is home to some interesting architecture – both modern-day, historical, and just about every era and style in between. But who is behind the city’s walls? The city’s streets? Who has planned them, brick by brick and stone by stone? The answers I have been looking for, of course, are long-winded and multi-dimensional. But, today, I will shine the spotlight on at least one piece of the puzzle: CORE Architecture Group. DC ARCHITECTURE SPOTLIGHT: CORE

IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, BUT IDYLLIC ITALIAN VILLAGES WILL PAY YOU TO MOVE THERE

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Outside the Raven in Mount Pleasant last week, I had a sudden urge to smoke a cigarette and I offered a smoker on the sidewalk a dollar for a smoke. He looked into his pack, counted his remaining cigarettes, and said no. Consider that for that same dollar, which apparently can’t even buy a single cigarette here in America, I could buy an entire authentic Italian house in the picturesque town of Ollolai, on the island of Sardinia. I blame the Federal Reserve. (I have no idea what the Federal Reserve is or does.) IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, BUT IDYLLIC ITALIAN VILLAGES WILL PAY YOU TO MOVE THERE