A building is never just that. It can be a place we call home, a repository for memories, an intimate space where we share even more intimate ideas; it’s one of the ways we as people lay physical claim to the world in which we live. And just as a building is more than its material components, the same can be said for a building in shambles. Evocative of our own limits, mortality and time’s dominion over all, these abandoned structures provide as much aesthetic interest as they do opportunities to consider our place–however temporary–in the world:
Across the world are cities and places that once thrived but now lay in ruins. These abandoned cities, which are often referred to as ghost towns, can be as beautiful as they…
As of July 18, 2013, the Motor City officially ran out of gas. Filing for for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, Detroit’s debts–a whopping $18 to $20 billion–represent the largest municipal filing for bankruptcy in United States history. And as its solvency has gone down the drain, so too has its population. In 1950, the burgeoning industrial city was home to nearly two million Americans. But today, as Detroit’s population has dwindled to a mere 700,000, the only boom Detroit has seen rests in the number of abandoned buildings popping up within city limits.
As evidenced by the following photos of an abandoned Detroit, those remaining might have a hard time forging optimism about the future when constantly surrounded by brick laid ghosts:
Looking at abandoned photographs, we are reminded of how quickly paint cracks and peels, and we, too, grow old and fade away. To view an abandoned space is to acknowledge the existential emptiness that defines us and yet drives us to fill it with the company of others, a good book, and a handful of living, breathing memories. In this series of abandoned photographs, time is presented as the ultimate source of authority: it weathers trains, sinks stadiums, and causes castles to crumble. The pictorial message is chilling yet also somewhat liberating; here are 40 of the most evocative abandoned photographs:
Hotly contested by first the Swedes and then the Russians and Finnish, the Karelia seen today serves as an architectural reminder of the inevitable toll that war and nationalism takes on a community.