UFO Houses: The “Ruins of the Future”

Image by cypherone - Taiwan

Image by cypherone - Taiwan

Some buildings are way ahead of their time, blazing their own trail decades ahead of the curve.  Sanzhi Pod City is one such place – abandoned two years after it was begun, it lay abandoned for 28 years before finally being torn down.  Up until that time, it was known as the mysterious “ruins of the future”.

Images via cypherone - Taiwan

Images via cypherone - Taiwan

The weird and wonderful Sanzhi Pod City, also called Sanzhi pod houses or Sanzhi UFO houses (on account of their flying saucer-like shape), was an abandoned resort complex in Taiwan.  Built in 1978, Pod City was marketed as a holiday resort for U.S. military personnel posted to East Asia.

Image by sci_ck

Image by sci_ck

Soon after, the project was abandoned in 1980 due to financial losses, lack of investment and a number of deaths during construction.  Left to the mercy of time and vandalism, the deserted Santzi Pod City found itself on the tourist map because of its wacky architecture and other-worldly appearance.

Images via yeowatzup

Images via yeowatzup

The abandonment, finding its way onto many a list of eerie old ghost towns, has come to be known informally as the “ruins of the future”.  During its dereliction, Sanzhi Pod City has served as the subject of a film and been used as a filming location by MTV.  It has been photographed countless times, appeared in numerous great articles (see here, here and here for starters) and contributed to the clamorous chatter of online discussions.

Image by yeowatzup

Image by yeowatzup

Despite an online petition to restore one of the buildings as a museum, Sanzhi Pod City was completely demolished at the end of 2008.  Developers hope to turn the site into a tourist attraction with hotels, beaches and other amenities.  Hold on a sec… haven’t they already tried that?

Image by yeowatzup

Image by yeowatzup

Legend has it that the doomed resort and associated loss of life can be attributed to a Chinese dragon sculpture that was disturbed in order to widen an approach road during construction.  Others suggest the site was once a burial ground for Dutch soldiers, when the Netherlands established Taiwan as a colony after 1624.  (Travel to more fascinating abandoned towns and cities of Asia.)

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