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.
The strikingly colourful suburb of Bo-Kaap in the South African city Cape Town is a historic blend of unique architecture and heritage. Today the former township clings to its Muslim roots after becoming one of Cape Town’s most sort-after areas.
In 2003 the BBC produced a docudrama about Seven Wonders of the Industrial World that changed the face of the modern civilisation during the Industrial Revolution. All but one remain in use to this day.
Gregory Crawford’s The Afterwords Archive, including his forthcoming book Fall Apart Park, is a soon-to-be-launched publishing company dedicated to the reinvention of abandoned buildings and places.
The pretty village of Brightling is the ideal English rural retreat. But for all its antiquated cottages, ancient church and village pub, Brightling’s most striking feature is arguably “The Pyramid” tomb of former resident “Mad Jack” Fuller.
They say you can’t take your possessions to the grave with you. But that’s not strictly the case for one deceased car fanatic in London’s Manor Park cemetery, whose tomb boasts a granite sculpture of his favourite BMW M3 convertible.
If you thought garden sheds were for storing the lawn mower and patio furniture, you’d clearly not banked on the Shed of the Year Awards. Check out these eccentric offerings, from pubs and offices to eco and tardis sheds.
Detroit’s Michigan Theater has been transformed into an unofficial Italian Renaissance-style parking garage. Built on the site of Henry Ford’s first car workshop, the Michigan has ironically returned to the place from whence it came.
Urban Ghosts has explored dozens of abandoned cinemas, from forgotten Art Deco and Atmospheric to Classic picture palaces. But we haven’t paid much attention to surplus cinemas that have been creatively converted for other uses. Here are 25 examples.
Ruin and dereliction are often the unintended consequences of abandonment, but a little inspiration and imagination has seen some former churches repurposed for modern use. These range from contemporary homes to bars, bookshops, studios and garages.
Historic theatres and movie palaces appeal to a broad range of individuals, but most have either been torn down or stand derelict. The Victory Theatre in Holyoke, Massachusetts, is one of the lucky exceptions, set to undergo a $24 million renovation that will see it reopen in 2012.
Ossuaries are both fascinating and macabre places, but provide an economical solution to the problem of overcrowded churchyards. By categorising and stacking bones, countless human skeletons could be interred in a single – sometimes eerily decorative – tomb.
For the latest installment in our creatively converted chapels and churches series, they don’t come much more inspired than the Pitcher and Piano bar in Nottingham.
Methodist chapels were often simple and austere places, dedicated to the worship of God over the comfort of the congregation. But this Gothic example in Kingston, Devon, has been repurposed as an ultra-comfortable fishing lodge.
What do you do if you need somewhere to keep your car but the only shelter available is a derelict chapel round the side of your house? Well, you could always covert that into a simple yet imaginative garage, and finish it off with a nice garden bench!
Detroit was once a boom town accounting for one of the largest collections of architecturally inspired buildings in America – impressive structures that still stand today, albeit gutted skeletons of their former selves.