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Airbnb Is Giving Away $1 Million to Develop the World’s Wackiest Vacation Rentals

There’s no shortage of beautiful, one-of-a-kind, and downright strange home shares on Airbnb. We’ve covered the site’s breadth of rentals from stunning Airstream trailers to bourbon stillhouses to retro-future-submarine-inspired Scottish cabins. Now, the company is looking to get a little weirder by expanding its portfolio of unique and fantastical rentals.

The Unique Airbnb Fund | Only On | Airbnb

Last week, Airbnb announced the Unique Airbnb Fund. The initiative will award a total of $1,000,000 to 10 designers who propose the “most unconventional and unusual spaces on the planet.” They’ll each receive a $100,000 grant to turn their creative concept into a livable, rentable reality. According to the official application site, Airbnb is looking for “homes with built-in creativity. The wilder, the better. Your design should reflect a fresh perspective visible in every detail. A successful entry will be full of surprises, inside and out.”

The Unique Airbnb Fund
The Unique Airbnb Fund

The panel of judges includes Emmy Award-winning actor and style icon Billy Porter, Kristie Wolfe (owner and Airbnb Superhost of a hobbit house, a treehouse, and the Big Idaho Potato Hotel), and contemporary architecture firm MVRDV. Together, the three will judge applicants based on a variety of components, including not just creativity, but sustainability and feasibility of construction. The use of smart home systems, recycled materials, and clever waste reduction techniques are all plusses. Bonus points will also be given to designs in unusual locations and those with a unique story to tell.

The Unique Airbnb Fund
The Unique Airbnb Fund

Of his excitement for the competition, Porter said, “The only thing better than pushing the boundaries of style, is empowering others to do the same. I’m thrilled to join Airbnb in this global search for the most outrageous, spectacular home ideas ever. I can’t wait to see these concepts developed by design lovers from around the world firsthand.”

The Unique Airbnb Fund
The Unique Airbnb Fund

Given Airbnb’s existing catalog of out-of-this-world rentals, applicants will face stiff competition. The site already offers travelers the opportunity to stay in almost any style of home imaginable. There are UFO-shaped houses, a fantasy house shaped like a giant boot, floating vacation homes, and rooms in the back of old-timey, Wild-West-style wagons. The list goes on. Applicants will clearly need to think far outside the box to stand out.

The Unique Airbnb Fund
The Unique Airbnb Fund

Applications to the Unique Airbnb Fund must be submitted by April 15, 2020. Just remember that creativity is key. Whatever design route you choose, follow Austin’s lead and “Keep it weird.” Airbnb will announce all ten winners on May 15, 2020, and the houses are expected to be built by the end of the year.

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
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