Abandoned houses as a lost art form
Behind the modern and the new stands abandoned and destroyed. Forgotten dwellings stand empty near dense skyscraper plantations. The world that tells about new heights and architecture of the future must also tell about the world of lonely and forgotten places. And this second world is not parallel at all — there are more abandoned houses than you think.
“Abandoned” is not about the top 10 creepiest buildings, it's not about ghosts, trash, and vandalism. Of course, most YouTube videos show the worst side of these places from the right perspective. But "abandoned" is not always equal to "terrible". There is far more beauty than in models of contemporary architecture.
Where does the abandoned architecture come from?
Someone forcibly leaves their home. Someone turned bankrupt. Someone does not want to renovate the house because it is expensive. It is also expensive to break down the old house which cannot be reconstructed. Besides, there are exclusion zones and cities where life has gradually disappeared. Long story short, there are two main reasons: the lack of an owner and the lack of funds. But almost every case hides its "cockroaches", so one formula may not always be relevant.
In America and Europe, the research of abandoned houses have changed their direction to 360º. Many photographers now dedicate their work to old interiors and architecture. There is even a term “Urban Exploration”, which means industrial tourism. It is the psychological or aesthetic pleasure of exploring abandoned structures. The photos tell of a tragic fate that has befallen much of the once-famous buildings and reminds us that this can happen to anyone.
We will recall five different, but equally unfortunate stories. The forgotten architecture will be heard.
1. Château Lumière, France
In the 1900s, the Strasbourg architects Gottfried Julius Berninger and Gustave Henri Krafft designed a home for Jules Burrus and his wife, the owners of tobacco factories. After Jules' death in 1911, all his possessions passed to his son, Maurice Burrus. However, he was arrested, so the house was first occupied by German officers, then bought by a religious congregation, and subsequently owned by an individual. Yet, everybody left the house. It stood empty for a long time, so in the '90s its condition worsened significantly after numerous acts of vandalism. In 1993, it was listed as a historic monument of France. Despite this, no one plans to give him a second life.
Photo: Adam X
2. The Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria
Among the Balkan Mountains at a height of 1,441 meters above sea level stands a mountain named after the Bulgarian military commander Haji Dimitra, whose detachment lost in an unequal battle with the Turks in 1868. The monument-museum of the Bulgarian Communist Party designed by architect Georgi Stoilov was erected here to commemorate this tragedy.
This project won the competition in 1964, but construction was really difficult due to the landscape and weather conditions of the area. The opening took place in 1981. The 12-meter memorial was so significant that even free buses went there. The interior is decorated with mosaics with portraits of well-known communists, designed by 60 artists, sculptors, and about 6,000 workers. In 1989, after the fall of Bulgaria's communist regime, the building lost its value. Over the entrance, someone left a red-paint message: "Forget your past".
Photo: flickr creative commons
3. Beelitz Heilstätten, Germany
The complex designed in 1902 in Germany by the Berlin workers of the health insurance corporation, includes approximately 60 buildings. Until 1930 it was a health center for people with lung diseases and was considered one of the best centers in the country. During the First World War, it was used as a military hospital. In autumn 1916, Adolf Hitler, a young infantryman, was treated here after being wounded in a battle on the Somme. After the Second World War, the Red Army captured the hospital and the complex became the largest Soviet hospital beyond the native land. However, despite the large territory, no one was interested in resuming the institution after the Russians left its walls.
In this hospital was produced the film “The Pianist” by Roman Polanski, which was awarded with 3 Oscars, the Palme d'Or and was also included in the list of the best movies on the planet. Some buildings are still used, and one of them was even bought by a Berlin architect. Nevertheless, most of the complex has long forgotten how it is to let people into its walls.
Photo: Matt Biddulph
4. Michigan theater, the USA
Вesigned by famous architects Cornelius W. and George L. Rapp, the theater was built in 1926 in the Renaissance style. It is the very place where Henry Ford built his first car. The theater was forecasted to have a career of Detroit’s new pearl with its extravagant interior details and velvet columns. The theater looked more like a museum with so many paintings and sculptures. Having barely survived the Depression period in the USA, already in the mid 60's the number of visits to the theater significantly decreased due to the development of television. The building was no longer profitable, so it was sold. And then again, and again. The owners changed, as did the purpose for which they used the theater.
In 1972, it was transformed into a nightclub. Then to a concert venue where David Bowie and the Aerosmith played. Vandalism after rock concerts caused the death of the theater. Eventually, the building became a parking area for employees of the neighboring office center and all the furniture that was left in the theater was taken away by an architectural antique company.
Photo: Ioanna Sakellaraki
5. Sathorn Unique Tower, Thailand
The largest abandoned skyscraper in the world is located in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. In 1990, the country was experiencing a significant economic boom, so the architect Rangsan Torsuwan planned to build a reinforced concrete skyscraper with 600 luxury apartments. 7 years later, the Asian financial crisis overtook the country, after which there were more than 300 uncrowned high-rise projects, including Sathorn Tower. The skyscraper has become a popular destination for industrial tourism but in 2004 there was found the body of a Swede who committed suicide. After this incident, the authorities questioned the safety of the skyscraper, but no one even thought about rebuilding the skyscraper or at least forbidding the entry there.
Such houses-castles-complexes-skyscrapers are scattered around the world. There are more than enough of them. Once they saw life, but now they are too tired of waiting for new owners. They just want peace. They just want to be remembered.