Throughout history shifting economies, disasters, regime changes, and unsuccessful projects caused the evacuation of impressive architectural structures. And, without regular maintenance, structures deteriorate. Architecture, despite its resilience, scale and relevance is, sooner or later forgotten. Even if the original function of a building can be terminated, leaving it to deteriorate, some structures around the world have gained aesthetic significance because of their decay and its enhancing character. Every abandoned building has a story about how it got that way, whether it's an urban legend or the truth.
Nature always has dominant role in these processes. The way the building deteriorates, when nature starts to take over, reminds us that everything is transient. When the roof is falling apart and water comes through the ceilings, moss and lichen grow. If the windows are closed it can get very warm in summer and plants start to take over. There's a feeling that it is the end of time and you don't find that kind of atmosphere anywhere else.
These places aren't graves, they're secret histories waiting to be read.
Ladeira da misericordia (Brazil)
The Ladeira da Misericordia is an important historic street connecting the Pelourinho and the commercial district of Salvador de Bahia, the upper and lower sections of the city. Although today the street is mostly abandoned and with access restrictions, in the 1980s the site became the location of a visionary project by Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi. She restored four derelict and abandoned buildings which were converted into social housing and a restaurant, the Coaty Restaurant. It became a much-loved culture center for residents, but its success was short-lived. The building is the only remnant of Lina Bo Bardi’s pilot project for her plan to rehabilitate Pelourinho.
Chapelle de L’ange au Violon (France)
The Chapelle de L’ange au Violon is a crumbling chapel located in the south of France. This dilapidated family chapel lies within the grounds of a house; the house itself is inhabited. Both the house and surrounding grounds are well-kept. The tall vaulted Gothic ceiling is collapsing. Most of the stained-glass windows lay empty, the glass naturally dislodging as the decades progressed. The chapel was built in the 19th Century and it’s a relatively famous French abandoned chapel. Perhaps, part of the charm of La Chapelle de L’ange au Violon is the air of mystery.
Since Victorian times the Gas Holder has been a prominent feature on the urban skyline across the UK. Built to hold large quantities of Gas, at one time there were 1000s across towns and cities around Britain. With the discovery of Gas in the North Sea in the 1960s and the development of Gas Pipeline technology the Gas Holder slowly became redundant and now each one has closed. These distinctive and often intricate structures, each different in design, have sat empty for years. With most of the Gas Holders now being demolished to use the land for other purposes, the photographer captured many of these structures across the UK before they are lost forever.
In 2005 the government of the border state of Mexico City launched a program called “Bicentenary Cities”, with reference to the two hundredth anniversary of the Mexican Independence. This program proposed a careful land-use planning and the creation of services and infrastructures for the population Despite that, neither the state or the private developers fulfilled their commitments. The aim of building a model city, self-sufficient, well planned and highly competitive, got lost between the change of governments and the uncontrolled growth of housing. Inhabitants, through self-construction, have adapted their houses to their living needs without a construction plan or any concern for safety standards.
Robin hood Gardens (England)
This residential estate in Poplar, London was designed in the late 1960s by architects Alison and Peter Smithson and completed in 1972. It was built as a council housing estate, characterized by broad aerial walkways. The estate was in serious decay, in spite of the fact that there has been no maintenance work undertaken since the year 2000, and was slowly abandoned by the residents. Despite the objection of the Council and many architects, the redevelopment scheme called Blackwall Reach involving the demolition of Robin Hood Gardens, began in December 2017. The site will contain 1,575 residences. Part of the building has been preserved by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Dom Sovietov (Russia)
This is an unfinished building in the center of Kaliningrad designed by architect Yulian Lvovich Shvartsbreim. Construction started in 1970. The building stands on top of the ruin of the former castle of Königsberg, severely damaged during second world war and later demolished, because was seen as a symbol of fascism. The project was intended to be a 28 floors mixed use building but, given the condition that the terrain was swampy, its foundation proved inadequate so just 21 floors where built. In 1985, the regional committee ran out of funds to continue with the development of the House of Soviets, leaving built only the gross work of an imposing example of brutalist Soviet architecture.
Città dello Sport (Italy)
The innovative City of Sport project, designed by Santiago Calatrava was an integral part of the city of Rome's bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics and would have hosted the volleyball, gymnastics, trampoline, and basketball finals. The two main buildings of the project the Sport Forum and Swimming Forum are symmetrical; each of them is about 21,600-square-metre in area and about 75 m in height. The complex, whose construction began in April 2007, was to be completed in 2009 in time for the 2009 World Aquatics Championships is one of the many incompiuti (unfinished projects) spread all over the country.
Kolmanskop was at its liveliest in the early 1900s, when German miners came to the area to hunt for diamonds. With them, they brought German architecture, giving the desert area an opulent, out-of-place look. The town featured a ballroom, a hospital, and a bowling alley among other amenities. The town's decline began shortly after World War I, but the final nail in the coffin was the 1928 discovery of a diamond-rich area along the coast. Most of Kolmanskop's residents hurried to the new hotspot, leaving their belongings and the town behind. The desert has slowly been taking over Kolmanskop ever since.
Article By Team Faber-