The city of Jericho sits in the hot, flat Jordan Valley down the hill from Jerusalem. Jericho has bragging rights as one of the oldest towns on Earth. But one of its newest homes looks like it might have arrived from outer space.
Ahmad Daoud hired a firm of young Palestinian architects to build this house. Like Jericho's original homes, it is built of dirt. This one has a contemporary twist, though: It's constructed with earth compacted in bags that are then stacked and plastered over.
Daoud loves the domed rooms, the nod to the past and the environmental advantages.
Mitchell Joaquim of the architecture group Terraform One has been thinking about unusual ways to build homes. What if we could "grow" them, like plants? After pursuing this line for awhile, designing projects that fall somewhere between art and science, someone challenged Joaquim to go further. He'd designed homes out of vegetables, how about a home made of meat?
When I meet Jake and Cathy Jaramillo, they tell me they consider Seattle a world-class city when it comes to public stairways. According to Jake, Seattleâ€™s 650 stairways put the city in the top three for US cities with stairways, with Pittsburgh in first place and San Francisco in second. And since they moved here in 2001, they've been climbing Seattleâ€™s stairs to meet people and uncover some of the cityâ€™s hidden nooks and crannies.
American history is full of stories of disenfranchised women who assert their rightful role in society and in so doing, open up the culture. Author Julie Otsukaâ€™s family was interned following the bombing of Pearl Harbor; her father was arrested as a potential spy. She told that story in her award-winning first novel, â€śWhen the Emperor Was Divine.â€ť Her second novel, â€śThe Buddha in the Attic,â€ť reaches farther back to explore the lives of brides sent from Japan to America between the wars, andÂ the strain of traditional values in a nation that promised opportunity for all. The writer Julie Otsuka joins us.
Correction: An earlier version of the story stated that buildings cannot be nominated for landmark status if they are too small. The story has been corrected to say that while small buildings can be nominated, they do not automatically trigger a landmark review.
South Lake Union in Seattle was once home to timber mills, commercial laundries, warehouses, even a factory making Ford Model Ts. Itâ€™s now being targeted for major new development, with the cityâ€™s mayor proposing raising building heights dramatically in the low-rise district. But historic preservationists say the plan does not adequately address the area's unique history and they worry it will result in the obliteration of many of the old buildings that provide the cityâ€™s connection with the past. Â