Gilding wants an open field full of abandoned and rusted vintage cars in her hometown backyard!
Russian photographer and bloger, Ilya Varlamov, used clever lighting to capture these eerie photographs of abandoned vintage cars rusting away in this known field in Russia.
Located in Lede, the smallest of Belgium’s municipalities, in a park close to the village center, stands the decayed castle Koninklijk Gesticht van Mesen, named after its last owner. At least, according to this photoblog by Rene Knoop, compiled in 2008, the castle still stands, though talks of demolishing the castle have been in circulation since the late 70′s, after procedural mistakes revoked the once in place historic preservation act that had been protecting it. A more recent protection request was submitted for the preservation of the castle, but the ravages of time and nature on its remnants outweighed the proverbial costs it would take the repair it, so the protections proposal failed.
Built in the 16th century, the castle remained in the family Bette until the 1800′s when it was used for the local gin distillery, a sugar refinery, a potash refinery, and a tobacco factory, which was housed in the caves of the castle.
In the 1900′s the castle was sold to a religious order who bult an impressive neo-gothic chapel. After the First World War an institution bought the castle and established a school for the local children, in which a new aisle was added as well as a Dutch pavillion and a boarding school. adding more buildings to the already expansive property that included several outbuildings, like stables and an orangery. In total, Mesen takes up a total of 7 hectares, half the total size of the city of Ledes itself.
Photo by Past Glory.
Sentinels, photo by Opacity.
Forbidden-Places has some really nice comparison images of the current building and the way that same photograph looked in the castle’s prime, as well as more history on the castle. Past Glory also has more photographs and history on Castle Mesen. Both websites, also, have several archives of other abandoned ruins explored.
And just for shits and giggles, telefuncker has a whole thread on abandoned Belgium castles — or slightly smaller but equally majestic mansion.
And to thing, Gilding could have lived a little like a Jetsen.
Nestled along a short stretch of coastline in Northern Taiwan sits this abandoned complex known as The San-Zhi Pod Village. The futuristic, what would have been luxury vacation spot, is a hulking mystery amongst tourists and locals alike as several stories float around as to they Why? they were abandoned and the cirsumstances that led up to its abandonment. What is known is that it was originally constructed for wealthy urbanites looking to escape the city on the weekends.
The most popular of the stories explaining the complex’s sudden abandonment is that there were a number of mysterious accidents ending in several deaths. Locals believe the area then to be haunted by their unresting souls. For this reason too, no one will tear down the abandoned complex — you know, bad feng shui, juju, and all.
Other theories about this 1970′s era construction’s abandonment include poor insulation in a difficult climate. In fact, this first hand account of traversing the abandoned site talks about its obvious poor construction and craftsmanship. Another theory is that of a dissolution of partnetships, though that one doesn’t make too much sense as it was supposedly built by the government of Taipei. Lastly is a prediciton that the failure of a regional real estate bubble as the cause.
More pictures of the pod city can be seen on Craig Ferguson Images along with his first-hand account of touring the ruins, and Cypherone has a flickr set, as well as this flickr set by Yusheng. This site is in Taiwanese but it has some really neat pictures of the complex as it was being built — just keep scrolling, they’re located throughout the page.
Editors Note: According to Cypherone, Taipei government ordered the demolition of San Zhi after it was decided that the structures were a public hazard and an eyesore to the image of the capital city. Demolition of the site began in December 2008. The pod city has since been demolished and the land cleared.
In the best translation Gilding can find, these photographs come from a box of rejected slides and negatives of the architecture of Soviet Moscow that somehow nomadd had gotten a hold of. “Putting it mildly” he says, they were “not [in an] especially good state.” Among them were these photographs of the Melnikova house objects and “round house [Arbate]” though Gilding isn’t quite sure who are what the significance of the home(s) are. nomadd then spent countless hours scanning, retouching, and restoring the photographs seen in this set.
Gilding found these particularly inspiring.
It is Gilding’s goal in life that if she must come to accept her mortality and that with it will come a certain certainty that she shall at some point in her frailty of age fall and break her hip, then by God she will do so while exploring some gorgeous abandoned building in Russia where the continuous shot option on her camera will catch every second of her descent in vivid photographic detail!
Until then, check out these photos of an abandoned railway station in Abkhazia, a former Russian territory. Since the collapse of the USSR, the railway connection of Abkhazia and Russia has stopped, leaving this railway station to be abandoned by humans and re-inhabited by nature.
Also to be found in the Abkhazia region, located along the Black Sea, in the once beloved home to Russian upperclass known as the “Russian Rivier” is this one time Prince’s home. Also a unique example of Russian architecture, this home, as well as the region, was once under Russian rule before communists came to power and nationalized most of the luxury property. During this time of Soviet era, the house was turned into an elite summer residence for Moscow higher-up men. But before all that, the home was built nearly two centuries earlier by special royal order.
This is what’s left of it today
The home has been abandoned for more than 20 years now. When the Soviet Union collapsed and every state asked for “as many independence as they could carry” (that is not Gilding’s bad grammar, its a direct quote, but we’ll cut them some slack, they are translating from Russian to English. Anyhoo…) this part of the Soviet state was left to Georgia. Then the war began. Now regions between parts of Georgia and Russia are independent. During this time, however, many of the villages and towns were abandoned and gorgeous monoliths of Russian architecture, such as this Prince’s home and the village underneath, have been left to ruin.
Gilding once, some time long ago, saw this show in which they toured the home of some model whom had remodeled an abandoned concrete factory into this chic modern home. At the time it was an unusual thing but it was the start of what would become a trend in the world of remodel. It was then that Gilding fell in love with the idea of purchasing some abandoned industrial building and turning it into a home built of dreams and oodles and oodles of cash.
Its not just the sqaure footage — though the sqaure footage of an industrial building is obviously a built in perk in roominess — and its not just the concept of sustainable living by repurposing whats already there to fit new needs with little more impact on the environment. But its the unique architecture that is afforded with such a building. True, doing the same with a modern, fairly newly built but no longer used industrial building that was designed more for purpose and profit only and less for aesthetic doesn’t afford for the architectural beauty one desires of a home. But industrial buildings of yore, like those built in the 1900′s and even as late as the 60′s have so much character and regal elegance that is rarely recreated in new construction.
It’s probably just a pipe dream — the money to purchase an abandoned industrial goliath is hardly cheap and reoutfitting one for suitable living wouldn’t be either, but wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to. Here are some inspiring abandoned substations and power plants that would be just architecturally delicious to turn into a home — and just by the sqaure footage of some of them, a mansion.
Photos by Mark Obstfeld
Built in 1930-5 for the Westminster Electric Corporation to the designs of C. Stanley Peach, with C.H. Reilly as assistant, the Duke Street Electric Substation in London sits just off Oxford Street, a main shopping street. The building actually rose to greater heights than the original designs had comtemplated, with a balustrade all around, Diocletian windows along the sides to light the galleries of the engine rooms which occupied deep basements, and a garden above that was paved and allotted trees and tubs that no longer exist. More information on the building can be found on the English Heritage site.
Image from Jakob Ehrensvärd
This is but one of some fifty underground bunker substations built in Sweden during World War II. Concealing powerful generators, the substations were bomb-proof and cooled by underground rivers.
This appealingly gothic-like abandoned hydroelectric power station belongs to BC Hydro in Vancouver, Canada; one of a couple. Built in 1903, for (at the time) a staggering $1.3 million, the power station operated until 1964.
Another power station on the Indian Arm, near Buntzen Lake, Vancouver, Canada.
Built in 1906, the Glenwood Power Station in Yonker, NY, was abandoned in 1960 and has never been used since. Like the New York Power House, this plant was built to power the electric railroad system. this one also happens to be a personal favorite of Gilding’s.
Via Dark Roasted Blend.
Mid-Century Modern architecture fans and followers will love this as for a mere $995,000 they could own architect R.M. Schindler’sC 1940 Albert Van Dekker house.
Built as one of the architect’s largest homes, it was built for an early Hollywood actor and his family. Tucked away in the woodland hills south of Ventura Boulevard, the home remains intact in virtually original condition, all except for the ravages of time and the elements upon it. The rustic country house was an exeuction in sophistication in a modern vocabulary, introducing asymmetrical copper-clad cables, exposed wood interiors, blue-green flagstone patios and fireplace inglenooks in a nod towards Wright’s Taliesin West. The innovative architect’s designs also included tightly interlocking volumes, foled planes, butt-glazed corners, sloping walls and ceilings, and polygonal windows — all features that were ahead of its time by about 70 years.
The Van Dekker home boasts seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, 2,300 Sq. feet, and sits on almost half an acre.
Unfortunately the beauty in the very first picture has turned into the image above as the home looks like today. The home is, in fact, in much need of major repairs. According to one source, Schindler was an amazing architect, but not so much a contractor. Schindler often used materials that were never meant to last the test of time, such as his Freeman house which used building paper on the roof facia, and tar paper roofing for the Packard House in Pasadena. While the other homes were bought by families with the ability to restore these messy building imperfections, the Van Dekker home fell into the hands a of frail elderly man in his 90′s bereft of the age of financial situation that would have allowed him to repair the home as the elements took over.
In 2003, archeologists in Italy unearthed two skeletons thought to be 5,000 to 6,000 years old. The discovery was made just outside of Mantua, about 25 miles south of Verona.
The pair, most certainly a man and a woman, are thought to have died young, as it indicative by the state of their teeth, most of which are intact.
What makes this discovery so unique — “something special” — is that never before had a double burial been found in the Neolithic period, much less two people held in an embrace — “…and they really are hugging,” said Elena Menotti, chief archeologist.
Link: BBC News
Ah, ruins, ruins. Gilding is aparently in a ruinous form tonight. So yadda-yadda, here’s some more ruination…yeah, Gilding was going to right some gilded banter about the blog but, meh, she’s going to leave you with its name and a link — Dark Passage Travelogue — and go get some Kevin Smith action on — an Evening With…Part Deux.
Oh, OK. She’ll leave you with this, Dark Passage is a New York based organization with an eye towards are and play in ruins. While Dark Passage is dedicated to the exploration of ruins all around, be sure to check out their interesting take on their website in regards to hospitals. Cleverly named Hospital Hopscotch, these ruins are focused on that of hospitals left free to succumb to its own mortality. Its deeper exploration is into the irony of the disintegration of these buildings and the mockery with which it makes of the order and hygiene formerly attempted with them. The hospitals have become their own funeral parlors. Hospital Hopscotch essentially performs a hospital autopsy: “As it was forbidden centuries ago to peek inside a dead body, we are likewise now told that the innards of these institutions are things we are not meant to see.”
Balaban and Katz, architects who were largely responsible for popularizing the motion picture palace, and owned and operated dozens from the 1920′s to the 1970′s, found their crown jewel to their theater chain in Chicago’s own Uptown Theatre. The Spanish Revival style design was loosely derived from Spanish Baroque architecture and included nearly 4,500 seats, making it the second largest movie palace in the United Stated — after New York’s own Radio City Music Hall. Consisting of a five story main lobby and two other side lobbies, an eight story facade, a large Wulitzer organ, marble statuary and oil paintings, much of its inner glories were sold off to pay for the care of place as the reputation of the area slowly declined and the cost of upkeep, its size, and competition with the Riviera and Aragon became financial hardships.
Its original venue being silent films complete with full orchestra , the stage has also seen musicals, concerts, television shows, company meetings…
In the 1970′s, the Uptown was used, in large, as a concert venue, having such memorable concerts as: Bruce Springstein in 1980, Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia, Elvis Costello, Prince, Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel, Charlie Daniels’ Band, The Kinks, and Foreigner. It was, however, about this time that the theater was sold, boarded up, and plans as to what to do with the massive, archaic behemouth were being formed. Frozen water pipes, however, put a halt to that when they burst inside the theater causing severe damage.
Though the Uptown currently stands protected as one of Chicago’s landmarks, its future still remains uncertain as efforts are underway to raising money (some have speculated nearly 4 million) needed for the restoration.
Some really fantastic images of the interior of the Uptown can be found on Undercity.org, a website dedictated to exploration of abandoned and hidden urban sites by a “guerilla historian in Gotham”. Second City Warehouse on flickr also has some images, and were actually the first ones Gilding found which sent her on this web-historic search on the Uptown.
Gilding could have sworn she wrote on this, like months ago — months — but damned if she can find it. So this may be a reapeat but, meh, its a repeat with new pictures…she thinks.
Neslted on an island in the Hudson stands the remnants of a Scotsman’s fortress, Bannerman Castle. Beneath the brittle body of the century old castle walls and hidden over by tangled vines lie Civil War bayonet scabbards and the ashes of Irish linen bed sheets.
Part of the New York Parks Department and on the historic register, Bannerman castle was built 70 years ago, not as a home, but as an arsenal for the castle’s builder, Frank Bannerman VI’s, immense collection of weapons. Bannerman was a Scottish patriot, proud of his descent from one the few Macdonald’s to survive the massacre at Glencoe in 1692. Legend has it that the Macdonald clan, upon the King of England’s demanded allegiance and their subsequent slow ness to answer, were slaughtered by a rival family, the Campbells, acting on the behalf of the king. Macdonald males ages 12-70 were killed, save one, who escaped to the hills with the clan banner — from that day forward the family name becoming Bannerman.
The Bannerman family immigrated to the United States in the mid 1800′s to settle in Brooklyn. Establishing a family business of selling flags, ropes, and other acquired articles at Navy auctions, Frank Bannerman VI’s father joined the union during the Civil War, leaving 13 year-old Frank to run the business. At the close of the Civil War, the U.S. government auctioned off military goods by the ton, young Frank capitalizing on what the army was mostly scrapping for their metal as something that could be sold on the market for higher value. Bannerman’s, opening a storefront that took up a full city block on Broadway, became the world’s largest buyer of surplus military equipment.
But it wasn’t until the close of the Spanish American War, when Bannerman purchased 90 percent of all captured goods in a sealed bid, that it became necessary to find a secure place to store their large quantity of volatile black powder. Scouted by his son, David, Pollopel Island, in the Hudson, was purchased in 1900, and became the future home of Bannerman Castle.
During the next 17 years, Frank Bannerman personally designed the island’s buildings, docks, turrets, garden walls, and moat in the style of old Scottish castles. Elaborately decorated, the castle featured biblical quotations cast into all the fireplace mantles, a shield between the towers with a coat of arms, and a wreath of thistle leaves and flowers.
Frank Bannerman’s grandson, Charles, married Jane Campbell, bringing a happy union on American soil to an ancient Scottish rivalry. Now an active widoe in her 80s, Jane is involved in the Bannerman Castle Trust. an organization dedicated to stabilizing the ruins of Bannerman Castle and opening the island to the public.
Also scattered about the castle during its heyday were invaluable relics such as a table owned by General Washington and arctic equipment once used by Admiral Perry on his trip to the North Pole. Fascinated travelers once passed by on railroad and the Dayline steamer; their access barred by armed guards, watch dogs, warning signs and red flags.
In 1967, the Bannerman family sold Bannerman Castle to New York State, which took possession after all the old military merchandise was removed and the relics given to the Smithsonian. NY State had plans to open Bannerman Island as a park, and for a short time in 1968 ran tours of the island. But a raging fire of unknown origin destroyed all of the buildings in August of 1969. The island has since then been declared off limits; sort of an island legacy since its first neighboring inhabitants, Native Americans and Dutch settlers, avoided the island fearing it was inhabited by spirits and goblins.
And while the island has been barred to public access by the Taconic Park Commission, God love people who break the rules so we don’t have too. Images taken of Bannerman Island can be found all over the internet by these law breaking adventurers .^_~.; the ones featured here are by Shaun O’Boyle
Always new the door to Hell would be created by man. Some 35 years ago in the small town of Darvaz geologists, while drilling for natural gas, opened up an underground cavern that covered the expanse of their entire drilling site. Unwilling to enter the cavern while poisonous gasses were still detectable, the geologists set fire to the cavern hoping that it would “burn off” the gasses and clear the air for further exploration. What they got instead is a continuous 35 years of burning inferno. Ceasing to stop burning, the site has become known by locals as “The Door to Hell”.
Link: English Russia
“Huế originally rose to prominence as the capital of the Nguyễn Lords, a feudal dynasty which dominated much of southern Vietnam from the 17th to the 19th century. In 1775 when Trinh Sam captured it, it was known as Phú Xuân. In 1802, Nguyễn Phúc Ánh (later Emperor Gia Long) succeeded in establishing his control over the whole of Vietnam, thereby making Huế the national capital.
“Huế was the national capital until 1945, when Emperor Bảo Đại abdicated and a Communist government was established in Hà Nội (Hanoi), in the north. While Bảo Đại was briefly proclaimed “Head of State” with the help of the returning French colonialists in 1949 (although not with recognition from the Communists and the full acceptance of the Vietnamese people), his new capital was Sài Gòn (Saigon), in the south.
“In the Vietnam War, Huế’s central position placed it very near the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The city was located in the South. In the Tết Offensive of 1968, during the Battle of Hue, the city suffered considerable damage not only to its physical features, but its reputation as well, most of it from American firepower and bombings on the historical buildings as well as the now infamous massacre at Huế committed by the Communist forces. After the war’s conclusion, many of the historic features of Huế were neglected, being seen by the victorious regime and some other Vietnamese as “relics from the feudal regime”, but there has since been a change of policy, and some parts of the historic city have been restored.
“Huế is perhaps best known for its historic monuments, which have earned it a place in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The seat of the Nguyen emperors was in the Citadel, which occupies a large, walled area on the north side of the river. Inside the citadel was a forbidden city where only the concubines, emperors, and those close enough to them were granted access, the punishment for trespassing being death. Today, little of the forbidden city remains, though reconstruction efforts are in progress to maintain it as a tourist attraction as a view of the history of Huế.
“Roughly along the Perfume River from Huế lie myriad other monuments, including the tombs of several emperors such as Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Duc, and others. Also notable is the Tien Mu Pagoda, located not far from the city centre along the river, the largest pagoda in Huế and chosen as the official symbol of the city.”
Link: Wikipedia — Huế
Photographs shown in this post are by ph. Chris Warren.
Originally built around 1900 as a TB sanitorium, Beelitz Military Hospital, located near Berlin, Germany, consisted of some 60 buildings, creating an entire complex nestled deep within a green environment, and able to accommodate 1200 patients at any given time.
Occupation by the Soviet Union during World War II saw the sanitorium become a military hospital, one of the best equipped military hospitals, in fact, outside of the Soviet Union. Russia retained control of the hospital complex until finally abandoning it in 1994, where it remains derelict.
A bit of notable history on the hospital: It was here that Lance Corporal Hitler was treated after being wounded in Somme in 1916. He makes mention of his stay here in his dictated book, Mein Kampf.
Some of the buildings found further use as a large block of them became home to a center that cares for people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and Coma. Another small block was turned into a hotel and a former gate house was turned into an ice cream parlor. Only a few of the complex’s building have been restored while the others are in decay. Recently and investor bought the whole area. What will become of these buildings remains unclear.
photographs shown here by ph. Chris Warren.
Decades old stories of a decaying Qing Dynasty retreat within the Forbidden City, the imperial behemoth that anchors the Chinese Capital and boasts a whopping 8,700 rooms, are once again resurfacing. The World Monuments Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving imperiled historic sites, has spent the last six years and some $3 million to restore the first building of the Palace of Tranquility and Longevity, Juanqinzhai, and will open its doors to the public in the coming months.
A compulsive poet, Emporer Qianlong, oversaw the unprecendented expansion of China’s borders and began creating the refuge in 1771, at 61, for his golden years. The refuge took the finest craftsman of the day five years to build the fanciful collection of pocket gardens, banquet rooms, prayer halls, and a single-seat opera house. Conceived as a pleasure pavillion, its simple rectangluar architecture is gilded with translucent embroidered screens, jade-inlaid wall hangings and distinct carved decorations involving layering bamboo skin atop dark zitan wood. And most importantly to the pavillion are upholstered thrones and cloisonné tables bearing Qianlong-inspired couplets.
However, the Emporer died at 89 without ever having spent a night in the palace. And though emporers came and went, Qianlong’s two-acre jewel box remained untouched, and in 1924 the gates to the miniature palace were chained shut and largely forgotten — but for the stories.
Contrary to the country’s usual form of historic preservation — razing a structure and replacing it with a brightly painted replica — Juanqinzhai restoration is a milestone in its faithful replication, setting what conservators hope will be a precedence for the next eight years as the remaining 26 buildings in the complex are refurbished.