Architecture and design are at the core of our towns and cities. But in a post-industrial age, the changing face of the urban landscape has seen many (often ornate) structures abandoned and even demolished, as well as an emerging emphasis on re-purposed buildings and adaptive reuse that puts a creative twist on modern architectural design.
One of the more weird and wonderful attractions along historic Route 66 near Barstow, California is Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch, made from hundreds of empty bottles mounted on recycled scrap metal poles.
It looks like a crashed flying saucer, but this abandoned retro-futuristic home is a Futuro House, designed by Matti Suuronen during the late 1960s. Only about 100 were built, of which perhaps 50 still exist across the globe.
This somewhat retro-futuristic theatre in the coastal desert city of Namibe, southwestern Angola, is one of many buildings abandoned in the wake of Portuguese colonial decline in the region.
Britain’s beautiful abandoned swimming baths – such as Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham and Victoria Baths, Manchester – are a dying breed of historic buildings widely documented by urban explorers.
The Glass House in Copenhagen’s Freetown Christiania is a unique piece of recycled architecture described as an example of modern “architecture without architects”.
The MyShelter Foundation is using water bottles, known as “solar bottle bulbs”, to provide light to a million poor homes in Manila by 2012 though the Isang Litrong Liwanag project.
This old Anglican church, established 1883 in the village of Braddeck, Cape Breton Island, is one of several places of worship that have served the community over the years, but appears to be leaning towards the camera. Optical illusion, or sinking foundations?
The story behind the Dome Home at Cape Romano, Florida, is (almost) as strange as the abandoned building itself. A long term victim of decay, the house was originally built in 1981 and become a tourist attraction in its current state of abandonment.
The Isle of Tiree in the Scottish Inner Hebrides has remained remarkably true to its roots despite its proximity to mainland UK, with 48 per cent of its population speaking Gaelic and its own unique brand of vernacular architecture.
The grand yet neglected Palace of Industry is the only remaining structure built for the British Empire Exhibition of 1924 – 1925. Standing in the London suburb of Wembley, it is reportedly now used as a warehouse.
Those familiar with the project will know that this incredibly creative piece of urban art in Houston, Texas, was less demolished than deconstructed during its final days. But what finally happened to the inspired Tunnel House?
I searched Google Street View after learning of an overgrown graveyard that once belonged to the Zion Congregational Church in Sheffield. It alluded me, but I did (re)discover the former Zion Sabbath School, now a motor mechanic’s shop.
Seasteading – the concept of creating autonomous communities at sea – offers a sustainable solution to dealing with abandoned oil rigs and other redundant offshore platforms. Such oceanic dwellings could even be a reality by 2014.
Among the ruins of abandoned buildings in the ghost town of Rhyolite, the “bottle house” is made up of 50,000 discarded beer and liquor bottles, many collected from more than 50 saloons that once served the old mining settlement.
The red telephone box is as quintessentially British as fish and chips, the Shipping Forecast and eccentric place names. But after years of dedicated service, this icon of cities, towns and villages has largely become a thing of the past.