Posts tagged with "Airbnb":

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Airbnb scraps design competition seeking distinctive properties... and 1,900 jobs

Some bad news for those who were all fired up to embark an outlandish, Airbnb-funded building or renovation project: due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the online travel and hospitality platform has shelved its Airbnb Unique Fund, a $1 million design competition that was set to award 10 current and future hosts with $100,000 each in financing to aid them in realizing “unconventional and unusual” living spaces, which, of course, would ultimately have appeared as Airbnb listings. Judged by Fokke Moerel of MVRDV and others, the deadline for singular design proposals closed last month with winning submissions to be selected and announced on May 15. Reads an addition to the official contest rules dated April 14:
“In light of the developing news around COVID-19, we thought long and hard about the best way to prioritize entrants' health and safety, as well as supporting the ability to comply with the various local shelter in place and social distancing rules imposed around the world. While we will continue to examine the global feasibility of carrying out the efforts of the Unique Airbnb Fund, we have decided to suspend the Fund at this time and are hopeful to be able to reopen entries in 2021. Please check back for updates and thank you for your understanding.”
While this turn out of events is no doubt disappointing to those who looked forward to building out wacky short-term rental properties with a potential financial assist from Airbnb, the bigger news—and bigger disappointments—come from the development that the company has laid off roughly a quarter of its global workforce. This staggering cut amounts to 1,900 out of 7,500 total employees across two dozen countries. “For a company like us whose mission is centered around belonging, this is incredibly difficult to confront, and it will be even harder for those who have to leave Airbnb,” Chesky said in a heartfelt company-wide memo sent out earlier this week.“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill. Airbnb’s business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019.” Chesky noted that in response to the crisis, the company raised $2 billion in capital and “dramatically cut costs that touched nearly every corner of Airbnb.” The company reportedly amassed $4.8 billion in revenue last year. “While we know Airbnb’s business will fully recover, the changes it will undergo are not temporary or short-lived,” he added. “Because of this, we need to make more fundamental changes to Airbnb by reducing the size of our workforce around a more focused business strategy.” While Airbnb’s sweeping layoffs were handled with tact and grace, the true heart of the company’s business model, the hosts, are none too pleased with the way things have panned out during the pandemic. As reported by CNBC in late April, hundreds of hosts have complained of not yet receiving payments promised as part of a $250 million relief fund. Many of those who have gotten checks have found them to be on the paltry side, with payments going out in the “tens or hundreds of dollars to cover losses in the thousands.” Thierry Rignol, a host with multiple properties spread across five cities, told CNBC that he received a check for $106.02 to cover $30,500 in lost revenue. Another host, St. Louis-based Amanda O’ Rourke, lost an estimated $14,000 resulting from coronavirus-related cancellations. She was paid $31.38. “I just think it’s comical,” O’Rourke said. “The whole situation is frustrating, so I’m not bitter at Airbnb for it. But I just found it almost silly.” More recently, CNBC reported that some unhappy hosts, a majority of them feeling jilted by Airbnb’s reimbursement policies, have revolted from the platform and are launching their own direct booking websites for short-term rentals. To cater to wanderlust-deprived guests and armchair travelers during the pandemic, Airbnb is offering an assortment of potentially binge-worthy virtual excursions through its zoom-powered Online Experiences platform. (Writing for Outside, Norah Caplan-Bricker documented her rather surreal globe-spanning online travels in this excellent piece.) And, in a similar initiative to its Open Homes program activated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Airbnb now offers a special platform that easily enables health care workers and other COVID-19 responders to find safe, fee-free accommodations in proximity to patients and loved ones. The platform allow allows hosts to offer dedicated short-term rentals to these crucial helpers.
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Airbnb launches $1 million fund for wacky homes

Airbnb has launched a $1 million design fund that encourages current and future hosts on the online hospitality platform to get totally and unabashedly freaky—architecturally speaking. Dubbed the Unique Airbnb Fund, the competition-based program is trying to find and finance a total of 10 “unconventional and unusual” living spaces via an online competition judged by near-EGOT-winning actor Billy Porter, Fokke Moerel, partner at Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV, and Kristie Wolfe, an Airbnb ‘Superhost’ and proprietor of a colossal, $199-a-night baked potato in—where else—Boise, Idaho. The Unique Airbnb Fund is a great initiative that makes hospitality exciting,” said Moerel in a news release. “It will empower people to create new spaces with daring, imaginative, and fantastic architecture.” Personal wunderkammers will be created for guests to appreciate and be inspired by. To be clear, the program isn’t specifically in search of habitable tuber crops, boots, beagles, baskets, or elephants, despite the hyper-memorable nature of mimetic architecture. Airbnb also mentions tree houses, windmills, geodesic domes, covered wagons, tiny houses, and yurts as being fair game given that searches for these types of spaces have grown 70 percent over the past year. Because sometimes, an IKEA-furnished mother-in-law apartment just won't cut it. Each of the 10 finalists selected will receive a $100,000 grant to help make their eccentric design concepts a reality with the idea that they’ll eventually become Airbnb listings. As the contest rules elaborate, winners don’t necessarily need to construct a freestanding, fully livable structure if their idea is chosen—winning concepts can be realized within existing homes or properties. Each submission will be judged equally on creativity, sustainability, social good, and, most importantly, feasibility. Entrants must also demonstrate that they currently have an Airbnb listing that could be renovated in the future, have a listing that’s in the midst of a renovation that’s singular nature would benefit from the grant, or have concrete plans to execute an off-kilter listing that could be fully realized with a helping hand from Airbnb. Grants will be divvied up and distributed to competition winners in equal parts during the initial thematic design phase, during the design development phase, and during the final construction documentation phase. The submission period closes on April 15, and winners will be selected by May 15. The listings are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
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New Jersey’s most famous work of novelty architecture is now on Airbnb

Lucy the Elephant, a 65-foot-tall wood-and-metal pachyderm on the Jersey Shore, has served many purposes over the past 138 years: Real estate office, tavern, private beach cottage, and standalone tourist attraction. Lucy has also lived through a lot—hurricanes, flooding, lighting strikes, encroaching development, two relocations, general neglect, “moisture difficulties,” and even an inadvertent fire started by the patrons of said tavern. Now, Lucy, greater Atlantic City’s most beloved jumbo-sized centenarian, is serving a new, though not all that surprising, role as a limited-time-only Airbnb rental. Because why hunker down for the night at Harrah’s or the Hard Rock Hotel Casino when there’s a giant, semi-habitable elephant that’s just steps from the beach and only costs $138 per night? Lucy the Elephant’s stint as an Airbnb property, as mentioned, will be short-lived—three nights only. The Save Lucy Committee, the nonprofit preservation group serving as Lucy’s caretaker and guardian, is hosting one-night sleepovers on March 17, 18, and 19. Three couples will be able to book Lucy via Airbnb when the listing goes live on March 5. The modest proceeds from overnight stays in New Jersey’s most unique, ephemeral accommodations will go toward upcoming renovations. “Right now, we're faced with a major renovation project, starting this spring,” Richard Helfant, the executive director and CEO of the Save Lucy Committee, told CNN. “Lucy's been painted so many times that her skin is at a point where it bubbles off. We're at a time where we have to strip her down to the bare metal, prime and repaint. It's a massive undertaking.” Not quite a duck with a trunk, Lucy has been an enduring symbol of Margate, formerly South Atlantic City, since 1881 when she was erected by James V. Lafferty—real estate speculator, engineer, and proto animal-shaped building constructor—as a means of luring potential property buyers to the Jersey shore. While Victorian-era tourists gawked at the 90-ton behemoth from the outside, Lafferty escorted potential clients six-stories up the building’s internal staircase into Lucy’s howdah-cum-observation deck so that they could better survey the lay of the land. The building was originally named Elephant Bazaar but took on the Lucy moniker after Lafferty sold the structure to the Gertzen family in 1887. The Gertzens, who converted Lucy into a tavern and later a summer rental home for a British doctor and his family, maintained ownership of the building until 1970 when they donated it to the Save Lucy Committee. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976, Lucy the Elephant is the only such listed property to be available for overnight stays on Airbnb per the attraction’s official website. It’s also apparently the first animal-shaped building to appear on the lodging platform ,as Liz Fusco, senior communications manager for the US East division of Airbnb, relayed to CNN. A certain beagle in Idaho, however, would quite literally beg to differ. Airbnb aside, Lucy is an early, excellent example of programmatic architecture and is often been referred to as America’s first bona fide roadside attraction. While the early 20th century gave rise to a number of attention-grabbing buildings resembling things—the Brown Derby in Los Angeles (1926), Boston’s Hood Milk Bottle (1930), the Teapot Dome Service Station (1922) in Zillah, Washington, and, of course, the Big Duck (1931) of Long Island to name a few—Lucy arrived on the scene decades earlier, and has survived. “The oldest surviving example of zoomorphic architecture on Earth,” Helfant recently told the New York Times in an article detailing Lucy's upcoming run on Airbnb. Until 1900, there were three hulking elephant-shaped buildings on the East Coast including one on Coney Island which was also the creation of Lafferty. By the late 1960s, Lucy’s fate veered into bleak uncertainty. While roadside novelty architecture maintained popularity, especially in car-crazy Southern California, the Jersey Shore’s elephant-shaped building had fallen prey to disinterest and disrepair. Harsh marine weather had ravaged the beachside building’s facade, its tourist-snaring capabilities began to wane, and, in 1969, the owners sold the land, and the elephant on it, to developers who intended to demolish the then-condemned building. This led to the formation of the Save Lucy Committee, which raised funds to relocate the building to city-owned land, now a park, and treat it to a massive renovation. She was also moved in 1906 after a major storm. After four years of extensive restoration work, Lucy reopened to the public as a paid tourist attraction in 1974. Under the auspices of the Save Lucy Committee, the building has remained open for tours ever since, attracting roughly 132,000 visitors annually according to the Times (currently, tours run 30-minutes long and cost $8.50 for adults). But this marks the first time since the early 1900s that anyone has paid to sleep in the belly of the elephant. As the Times details, Airbnb has made, in the words of Helfant, a “sizable” donation to the Save Lucy Committee and decked out the surprisingly spacious interior of the building with period furnishings and decor—canopied bed, antique trunks, and grandma's elephant tchotchkes galore—that nod directly to Lucy’s Victorian heritage. And although Lucy once boasted a working bathroom, it has since been removed. To compensate, a comfort trailer will be parked at Lucy’s painted toenail-ed feet during the Airbnb stays. A staff member and security guard will also be camped out overnight in the attraction’s adjacent gift shop. Breakfast will be served in the elephant.
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Airbnb expands into ground-up housing

Not content with monopolizing the home sharing market, Airbnb will soon start designing their own houses. Yesterday, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia announced that the tech company would begin recruiting architects, engineers, industrial designers, roboticists, and more to join their housing prototype initiative Backyard. More than just a design exercise, Airbnb is looking to create sustainable, flexible units to infill a wide variety of unused spaces. Backyard is an initiative of Samara, the product development lab launched by Airbnb in 2016 to study design and urban planning issues (or, as they describe it, “exploring the future of human connection”). Although the company hasn’t released specifics as to the types of units that Backyard will be building, the scope will go beyond accessory dwelling units (ADUs), the typical micro-dwellings slotted into backyards or other under-utilized parcels. Gebbia has indicated that these homes will act as living labs that are able to change and adapt along with their inhabitants, breaking the typical cycle of consumption and disposal. The increased flexibility will also boost the Backyard units’ rental appeal, as they’ll likely be adaptable based on guests’ needs as well. Trying to design one home that can be used forever and changed to meet its users’ needs has been a hot topic lately—take for example the modular Open House revealed earlier this year. The U.S. is currently beginning construction on about 3,300 new homes a day, and with that number only expected to rise, the amount of waste generated is staggering. “We began with a simple question,” wrote Gebbia,“What does a home that is designed and built for sharing actually look and feel like? The answer is not simple at all. Other questions quickly emerged. Can a home respond to the needs of many inhabitants over a long period of time? Can it support and reflect the tremendous diversity of human experience? Can it keep up with the rate at which the world changes? Can we accomplish this without filling landfills with needless waste? It’s a tall order.” Backyard’s homes will likely be at least partially prefabricated and fully integrate smart-home technologies to help meet the company’s sustainability goals. No design details have leaked out yet, but Backyard is hoping to unveil its first wave of prototypes for testing in fall of 2019.
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Meet Niido, Airbnb's first apartment complex in Florida

In upcoming months, Airbnb will complete Niido Powered By Airbnb, the company's first independent apartment complex in Kissimmee, Florida. The project's developer is Newgard Development Group, a Miami-based firm run by Harvey Hernandez, who first approached Airbnb with the concept in 2015. Airbnb will not own the buildings, but serve as a "branded partner" to the project. Instead of ignoring the tension between the landlord who doesn't want home-sharing to occur and the tenant who wants to rent out their home for additional income, this program makes the landlord and tenant partners in the home-sharing process.  “The Niido model will provide additional income to landlords and tenants while enhancing the experience for Airbnb guests. Niido eliminates barriers by encouraging home sharing and creating solutions that work for everyone," said Hernandez in a prepared statement. Residents of the 324-unit Niido will have the option of renting out their apartments via Airbnb up to 180 days a year, providing an easy secondary source of income. Airbnb will take its standard three percent fee, while Newgard will take 25 percent and the remainder will go to the tenant. Amenities for the entire complex will be provided through Airbnb Experiences, the company's platform for providing local tours and learning experiences to tourists. Kissimmee, a small city on the outskirts of Orlando, is close to several large amusement parks, including Busch Gardens, Legoland, SeaWorld, and Walt Disney World. Seasonal workers would be among the tenants who might benefit from this program. According to JaJa Jackson, Airbnb's director of global multifamily housing partnerships, every aspect of the complex's design was thought through with the potential for sub-rentals in mind. Though renderings have not yet been released nor an architect named, some details are available to the public. Apartments will feature large common areas and flexible room identities, with offices and other spaces concealing Murphy beds, allowing units to readily accommodate more travelers. Residents will also be able to control the apartment's Wifi and maintenance through a custom Airbnb app. With so many visitors coming and going, an added security feature is a keyless entry system with temporary codes produced only for the duration of a guest's stay, while each room will contain a secure nook where residents can store personal possessions. In Florida and many other states, landlords and the hospitality industry have decried Airbnb for absorbing their profits and bringing unknown guests into shared buildings, among other concerns. To address some of these issues, Airbnb created the Friendly Building Program, which allows building owners to monitor and restrict apartment and home shares while also getting a cut of the service fee. Niido will essentially take this concept and privatize it, reallocating those funds to building management and programs. Hernandez and Airbnb are currently seeking to expand the rent-share apartment complex model to other Southeastern states, with a goal of 2,000 apartments over the next two years.
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Donald Trump's childhood home is for rent on Airbnb

The childhood home of Donald Trump childhood home is listed on Airbnb for a cool $725 per night.

The five-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home in Jamaica Estates, Queens boasts seventeen beds—two sofa beds and many bunk beds, with a few regular ones thrown in. The host notes that, though the home is not in any way officially linked with the president or the White House, Trump's aura abounds.

"Not much has been changed since the Trumps lived here, the kitchen is original and the opulent furnishings represent the style and affluence in which the Trumps would have lived," the listing states. "This is a unique and special opportunity to stay in the home of a sitting president." [Ed. note: except for the gold-toned shower stall and Trump schlock, the house looks like literally any other middle class home in the tristate area.]

The host pumps the residence's extras, including a definitely not creepy cut-out of the Donald that looms over the living room. Per the listing, "he is a great companion for watching Fox News late into the night...." And really, could there be a more perfect setting for a Lay's potato chip binge and 5:00 a.m. tweetstorm?

Despite the capaciousness of the abode, there's no mention of a fallout shelter, which would make the rental a real bargain in the face of nuclear war with North Korea.

Last year, the house was purchased by real estate investor Michael Davis, who promptly flipped the $1.4 million property. In March, Davis sold the Tudor-style home for $2.14 million at auction to an anonymous buyer. For the curious and Google Maps–inclined, the house is at 85-15 Wareham Place, a short walk to the F train at 179th Street.

There are no reviews yet.

The TimesLedger first reported this story. 

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Chicago uses Airbnb fees to house 100 homeless families

While many cities struggle with their relationship with house-sharing micro-rental companies, Chicago is looking on the bright side of the relatively new phenomenon. The city has announced that it will use $1 million raised from fees paid by homeowners who use home-sharing platforms, such as Airbnb, to help house 100 homeless families. The Housing Homeless Families program is a joint initiative with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, one of the city’s primary resources for information on and advocacy for the homeless population. The program will focus on families in areas of the city with high violent crime rates, including Austin, Englewood, West Englewood, and Humboldt Park. Working with shelters that specialize in family services and the Chicago Public School system, the program will focus specifically on families with school-age children. “The goal of this initiative is to help our most vulnerable families to establish stability so that their children can succeed,” said Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. "Thanks to collaboration with our partners at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the city will deliver a coordinated response to ensure the needs of our most vulnerable families are met, and to prevent families on the cusp from experiencing homelessness.” The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless recently released a report on the number of homeless people in the city. The count includes data on those who “double-up,” referring to people that do not have their own home but stay with friends or relatives. The report, which looks at 2015, found the city to have 82,000 homeless individuals, which includes nearly 10,000 homeless families. It is estimated that 87 percent of those who identified as homeless were “doubled-up.” The money for the new program was raised through a $1 million investment by the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, with matching funds from a four percent surcharge leveled against homeowners using Airbnb and other home-sharing programs. That money will go towards providing housing vouchers to families and provide additional transition services. Those services will include helping families set up appointments, navigate the housing application process, and work with housing providers. The ultimate goal is to find permanent housing for the participating families. “Around the city, children should be able to focus on their studies, and not where they are going to sleep at night,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the announcement of the initiative. “Working with our partners at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless on this new initiative, we will work to ensure that more families experiencing or on the verge of homelessness can find and maintain the housing and stability they need to thrive and provide for their children.”
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Airbnb opens an international HQ in Dublin (again)

Airbnb has officially opened its new headquarters in Dublin, located on Hanover Quay, in the "Silicon Docks" area of Ireland’s capital city. The 40,000-square-foot project, dubbed The Warehouse, will house more than 400 employees and emerges out of another collaboration with Dublin-based heneghan peng architects, the firm behind the company’s previous Dublin office (which will remain in operation). The new Dublin HQ’s three stories are designed around an atrium and amphitheater in the center of the building and features a grand central staircase, named the ‘Agora.’ The staircase can serve as a large conference or community event space for up to 400 people, or a lounge-style working environment for employees throughout the normal workday. The new Airbnb international headquarters inherits a rich history, having been home to Dublin Trawling Ice & Cold Storage since 1865, and the Raleigh Bicycle Company since 1954. When the bike manufacturer left in 1980, the warehouse was but a shell for a completely open floor plan, falling into disrepair after enduring not one, but two fires. Airbnb is said to have had direct architectural input in renovating the empty space, optimizing chances for “unplanned encounters that open avenues of creative exploration,” that “only the physical work space can activate,” according to Aaron Harvey, head of the environments team at Airbnb. “Our ambition has often been moderated by constraints of an existing structure that can’t be altered,” Harvey said.  “It was with the Dublin Warehouse that we finally had the opportunity to provoke the level of interaction and crosstalk that we’ve always imagined.” Each of the 29 primary working spaces, or ‘neighborhoods,’ come with its own large communal table instead of individual desks, shared storage space for employees, one or two sit stands, and a designated lounge spot, while secondary work spaces exist in kitchen areas or meeting spaces scattered throughout the warehouse, such as on the landings between floors. With more workstations than staff, the architects have designed enough space for everyone to sit where they like, according to News Four. Of course, in keeping with tradition, The Warehouse offers meeting rooms designed as replicas of the hottest listings on the Airbnb platform, drawing inspiration from destinations such as Mykonos, Lisbon, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco in Mexico, and Montpellier in France. The Warehouse is also Airbnb’s first urban campus model, which is expected to become more prevalent in the company’s office spaces moving forward.
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AN Exclusive: First look at Airbnb and Pedro&Juana's Design Miami installation

Two design worlds will collide this year in Miami as the Mexico City-based design duo Pedro&Juana will debut Sobremesa, an interactive installation created for Design Miami/ in collaboration with Airbnb. The translucent house-like structure will serve as a gathering space that will be a hub for the duration of Design Miami/. Visitors are invited to socialize and to collaborate on the completion of the space, as anyone can add to it with a series of colorful tiles. The interior space of Sobramesa will be filled with objects and artisan pieces from Mexico City, sourced by Pedro&Juana and designed by locals. Sobramesa will be connected to an outdoor space, blending indoor and outdoor living—a tradition in both Miami and Mexico City Literally translated as ‘over the table,’ “sobremesa” is a concept, deeply rooted in Mexican culture, that loosely translates as the indeterminate amount of time people spend together lingering around a table after a meal to share in casual conversation. “The Mexican idea of ‘sobremesa’ is about not rushing but instead enjoying shared company and connecting on a personal level,” said Mecky Reuss, co-founder of Pedro&Juana. “It is something special to Mexican and Spanish culture that can be enjoyed by people everywhere.” Pedro&Juana will host a series of “sobremesas” in the space during the week, where they will invite visitors to share in meals, cocktails, and music at designated times. In addition, the designers will curate a playlist with Mexico City-based musicians including Trio Martino, Rulo, Los Shajatos, Sonido Changorama, and NAAFI, among others. “A lot of our work examines social spaces and how individuals interact with the built environment,” said Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo, co-founder of Pedro&Juana. “Working with Airbnb on this project is a great opportunity for us to build on this experience while also exploring elements of our home city, Mexico City.” Sobremesa is the latest in Airbnb’s collaborations with up-and-coming designers from around the world, exploring the concepts of domesticity, gathering, and shared living. Past projects include Sugi No Ie (Yoshino Cedar House) (Yoshino, August 2016), Makers and Bakers (Milan, April 2016), belong. here. now. (Miami, December 2015), Housewarming (Milan, April 2015), and A Place Called Home (London, September 2014). “What excites me about a project like this is that we can apply what we learn from it to the larger Airbnb experience,” said Joe Gebbia, CPO & Co-Founder of Airbnb. “Working with emerging designers like Pedro&Juana and giving them free reign to explore concepts around travel and sharing is enormously beneficial for us. Having a background in design myself, I am always curious to see how other designers think and what unique perspectives and insight they’ll bring to our brand.” Sobremesa will be on view at Design Miami/ November 30-December 4, 2016. Meridian Avenue & 19th Street Adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center Miami Beach, FL
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Why Airbnb should help save an architectural icon

If I had to guess, I would say that it has been forty years since Columbus, Indiana, was the hot topic of cocktail conversations at design-related get-togethers in New York City. In those days, it was the supercharged patronage of industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his relationships with designers like Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard that spurred a wave of innovative and provocative architecture in the small Midwestern town. Columbus, with a population of 45,000, has a Robert Venturi fire station, a John Johansen school, a park by Michael Van Valkenburgh, and several buildings by Eliel and Eero Saarinen, including the younger’s iconic Miller House.

However, Columbus is once again in the spotlight. Exhibit Columbus is an ongoing initiative that launched September 29 with a symposium that will set the stage for a large public design exhibition in 2017. Exhibit organizer Richard McCoy, with the assistance of local patrons and leaders such as president of the Wallace Foundation Will Miller, designer Jonathan Nesci, architect Louis Joyner, educator T. Kelly Wilson, and archivist Tricia Gilson, has built a local movement and amassed a group of world-class designers—Aranda/Lasch, Baumgartner + Uriu, Rachel Hayes, Höweler+Yoon, IKD, Ball-Nogues Studio, Johnston Marklee, Jonathan Olivares Design Research, Oyler Wu Collaborative, Plan B Architecture & Urbanism, and studio:indigenous—that are competing for the inaugural Miller Prize, an unusual head-to-head competition where ten teams will make site-specific installations for five sites in Columbus. Five will win the battle and build their proposals fall 2017.

All of this attention has once again launched Columbus into the design consciousness. Many people are excited to see what the 2017 exhibition will bring.

In parallel, there is another incredible opportunity in Columbus that could build on this momentum.

With renewed interest in the town, which thrives off of architectural tourism, the hospitality industry is booming. Notably, however, there are few Airbnb properties. A cursory search for a weekend in October returns only three listings, none of which are downtown where all of the action is. This matters because young tourists are looking for more exciting lodging options than a regular hotel. What would alternative lodging look like in Columbus today? There is a venue that would be perfect. The Cummins Occupational Health Association (COHA) was one of the most innovative buildings in Columbus, but it is now under threat because its owner, Cummins Inc., has no use for it. Originally completed in 1973 by Hugh Hardy of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, this late modernist, high-tech building is one of Columbus’s best-kept secrets. Its colorful, highly expressive exposed building systems celebrate building technology with mannerist exuberance. The spacious open plan is choreographed by a ramp that animates the space and was a revolutionary new way of building healthcare facilities in the 1970s. However, this ramp may render it inflexible for healthcare-related adaptive reuse in today’s world.

So what is the appropriate new life for COHA? One possibility would be lofts or student housing. While the town may not have the market for this typology, there might be another solution. If Airbnb bought the building, it could turn it into a cluster of rentals (like a hotel) that would be rentable on Airbnb and could piggyback off of its collaboration with Japanese architect Go Hasegawa in the Japanese village Yoshino. This project, Sugi No Ie (Yoshino Cedar House), acts as both a rental unit and community center for visitors and is owned by local community groups, thus giving back to the town and offering a community-based experience for travelers.

In this model, the town would own the space, and rent it out on Airbnb. Proceeds could benefit the Heritage Fund, which is invested in the preservation of the architecture through Landmark Columbus. Airbnb would be helping to preserve modern design.

The COHA building is perfect for this model. It needs a patron, and there is no cut-and-dry reuse for it. How cool would it be to stay or live in a radical, 1970s doctor’s office? Artists or designers could get long-term rentals, while visitors could stay for the night. It would take a visionary company like Airbnb that values design to revitalize this space into one of the world’s best design destination hotels. The company would be a hero. Let’s hope it can make this dream a reality.

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This new app from OMA and Bengler wants to disrupt the sharing economy

At the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, Rotterdam-based firm OMA and Oslo-based interaction designers Bengler debuted PANDA, a startup that addresses the social and political implications of digital sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, as well as their impact on the built environment. They explain that while Silicon Valley optimism sells itself as democratic and empowering—an alternative to centralized commercial and social structures—they are actually detrimental to the working classes that support these networks with their labor. The Silicon Valley approach fragments and atomizes the labor force by leveraging workers' private property while keeping them in a constant state of freelance contract work. For example, while Uber sells itself to drivers by offering them the opportunity to "own the moment," featuring a model in a suit getting out of a luxury car. However, we all know that this is not the reality for most drivers. Uber has a clause in their terms of use that states that drivers can only resolve disputes with the company as "individuals." As a result of maneuvers like this, many workers have almost no power to negotiate or bargain with the "new Rome," located somewhere near San Francisco. PANDA would locate and organize people into groups that have shared interests and resources to organize counteractions against these empires of Silicon Valley, or "algocrats," as the creators, OMA’s Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and Bengler’s Even Westwang and Simen Svale Skogsrud, explained. For example, Airbnb is trying to get into China. PANDA would identify people with "shared leverage" like potential drivers. Then, these people may be able to organize and effectively challenge them to get better conditions. Or, perhaps these groups could pool their money to buy a lawyer. PANDA creates webs of temporary alignment where discontent and leverage turn into action potential. For architecture, "Unrest is staged against app-based, short-term accommodation platforms and the conversion of entire buildings into de facto hotels," they explained. PANDA is a for-profit corporation and the owners claim that as it grows, it will become more powerful but will not overextend itself. By linking like-minded people together, the app would actively use the framework of sharing technology against itself. PANDA's language emerges from combining activism with the hyper-domestic offices of Airbnb, etc., as well as brainstorming culture and personal performance metrics.
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"House Vision 2" in Tokyo tackles a simple question: How can architecture connect people?

This summer, House Vision, curated by Muji creative director Kenya Hara, is showcasing a dwelling from Airbnb and Go Hasegawa (the Yoshino House), as well as a slew of Japanese architects including Sou Fujimoto, Atelier Bow-Wow, Kengo Kuma and Shigeru Ban. On display at the exhibition are twelve housing prototypes that respond to the theme of  "CO-DIVIDUAL̶ Split and Connect/Separate and Come Together." Architects and design firms were tasked with addressing the idea of connectivity between individuals. In a press release, House Vision stated: "Japan faces significant issues with this topic, as a country struggling with economic stagnation, a decreasing population, an aging society, disasters striking one after another, and increasing friction in interpersonal communication." "That is precisely why Japan is the ideal place to examine the form of the house from many different perspectives, exploring specific survival strategies with the potential to show how we will live in the future," the statement continued. Talks are due to be held at the exhibition, which runs through to August 28 of this year, at the Rinkai Fukuroshin, J­area, 2­1 A omi, Koto, Tokyo. Visitors to the exhibition can find the Yoshino House, a product of Airbnb’s newly announced design studio, Samara, who worked with Tokyo-based architect Go Hasegawa. Earlier this year, AN's senior editor Matt Shaw sat down with with Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia to discuss the house and the future of housing and community. Tickets for House Vision can be purchased here and as well as at the gate.