The world is a cycle of time. One person is influenced by three phases of their life – past, present, and future. Sometimes we are so into the present that we don’t care about the past and future, whereas sometimes we are so worried about the future that we forget about the present and past, and sometimes we are so into our past that we just leave our present and future. But this is not right, one should always balance three of them together. But is there any need for these talkings right now? Well, this theory applies to everything. When we are studying architecture or researching about building here also it is very important to know every aspect of that. But isn’t it true that we lost lots of major things in our past?? Yes, we do and here in the history of architecture also we lost a lot of valuable architectural buildings throughout time. We are not able to see them as some of them got demolished due to purpose, whereas some became collateral damage, and some just got destroyed by time or nature. These buildings also have a lot to offer and hence it’s really necessary to know about them. So, let’s just talk about them.

1. Original Penn Station, New York | Architectural buildings

Penn Station was a historic railroad station built in New York City. The main designer of the building was McKim, Mead, and White which is built on 8-acre land. It was completed in 1910. Its ceiling was 138 feet high. The place handles more than 200,000 passengers each day. It was designed as beautiful structures, showing off a city’s engineering prowess and fine aesthetic sensibility.

In 1963, the station was demolished to give room to a huge field house, Madison Square Garden.

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The original Penn Station was a stunning Beaux-Arts structure_©Wikimedia
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Interior of the Penn station_©Cervin Robinson
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The aerial view of the Penn station_©United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs

2. Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan

In Buddhas of Bamiyan, there were two monumental statues of the 6th century carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamiyan valley of central Afghanistan standing together. As these are great examples of a confluence of Gupta, Sassanian, and Hellenistic artistic styles, once they were the most important standing status within the world. These two Buddhas are just part of the structure all around the valley like stupas, smaller seated and standing Buddhas, and wall paintings in caves, spread in and around surrounding valleys.

In march 2001 the Taliban began to destroy the two monumental Buddha statues in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley. They began to destroy the structure with guns and artillery and when these supplies proved ineffective, they progressed to mines and a rocket. This led to global criticism. Now the Bamiyan Buddhas are displayed there in  3D projections and the event is called “A Night with Buddha”.

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East Buddha_©Pierre Le Bigot, NC-ND 2.0
East Buddha, c. 6th-7th c C.E., stone, stucco, painted, 120 feet high, Bamiyan, Afghanistan, destroyed 2001_©Dr. H. Crane
West niche, c. 6th-7th c C.E., stone, stucco, paint, Bamiyan, Afghanistan, Buddha destroyed 2001 _©Carlos Ugarte, CC BY-NC 2.0

3. Babri Masjid, India | Architectural Buildings

Babri Masjid was a mosque built in 1528 -29 in Ayodhya, India. It follows the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Its architectural style has also been seen in Delhi Sultanate and Jamali Kamili Mosque. But Babri was important because of its distinct style. This mosque was built by Mir Baqi by the order of Mughal king Babur.

This mosque was demolished by ‘kar sevaks’ who claimed that on the land in which this mosque was built is the birthplace of Hindu god Ram. On 6th December 1992, it was demolished by Hindus due to this dispute. After a 28-year dispute on 5th august, 2020 Hindus won and it was decided to build a Ram Mandir on that land.

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The demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992_©Sanjay Sharma/INDIAPIX NETWORK
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Rear view of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya before it was demolished_©Wikimedia Commons

4. Crystal Palace, London

Crystal Palace was an iconic building built in 1851 on World’s Fair-type expo. Joseph Paxton was inspired by the structure of the giant water lily so he created this design in just 10 days. In just over 9 months this 108-foot-tall building was assembled in Hyde Park. To build this structure tons of timber and iron were used with 10 million feet of glass. After the exhibition, this structure was permanently located in Sydenham in southeast London. It was surrounded by a garden and fountain.

As the whole structure was mainly made of glass in 1866 it caught fire and destroyed the north transept. By the time the palace was losing money and declared bankruptcy by 1911 so the fountains were turned off so when the building caught fire in 1936, there was no water on hand to put out. The towers made it through the hearth but were destroyed in World War II for fear that they were easy markers for German bombers.

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The Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, London_©BBC Hulton Picture Library
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Illustration of the transept of the Crystal Palace_©Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Osler’s Crystal Fountain at the Crystal Palace Sydenham_©

5. Roman Theatre at Palmyra, Syria | Architectural Buildings

Roman Theatre at Palmyra is a Roman theatre within the Syrian desert. Until 1950 it was buried under the sand. The whole structure was made up of ashlar stones. It was mainly used to serve as a venue for the annual Palmyra festival. It was once called the pearl of the desert.

In May 2015 ISIS first captured Palmyra. ISIS partially destroyed the whole structure. When the government recaptured the area in 2016, they found it mostly damaged. 

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the Tetrapylon (Monumental Entrance)_©Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images
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Destruction caused by ISIS in the Museum Palmyra in March 2016_© Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images.
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The archaeological site and ruins of gates and columns_©Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

6. Church of the Archangel Michael, Poland

Church of the Archangel Michael was an orthodox church built-in 1814 in Warsaw. It was one of the military churches built for the Russian troops. The Russian Revival church was built by architect Captain Lüders. New churches were built to supply churches for individual Russian military units. It was the symbol of Russian power.

After world war I the Russian troops left Warsaw hence the church lost its original purpose. Due to the lack of maintenance of the church, it was demolished in 1923.

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The Church of the Archangel Michael was built as a house of worship for the needs of Russian military units_©WIKIMEDIA

7. Old Main Library, Cincinnati

Old Main Library was one of the most beautiful public libraries built-in 1874 by Architect J. W. McLaughlin. It has five levels of cast iron shelving, a fabulous foyer, checkerboard marble floors, and an atrium lit by a skylight ceiling. With a magnificent interior and huge collection of books, this library was the most amazing place. But it has lots of drawbacks too like according to the users the books were stacked beyond reach. Also, ventilation was poor, the air was stuffy and paint was peeling out. 

In January 1955 the library was torn down as a contemporary building was constructed just down the street to house the books. 

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five levels of cast iron shelving_©
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Interior of the library_©
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During demolition_©

8. Chicago Federal Building, Chicago | Architectural Buildings

The Chicago Federal Building was constructed for housing the federal courts, main post office, etc. The Beaux-Arts style building was completed in 1905 by architect Henry Ives Cobb. It was constructed with a steel frame with exterior walls of brick sheathed.

After only 60 years the building was demolished in 1965 and a new building was constructed over that place.

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The Chicago Federal Court_©WIKIMEDIA
Federal Building_©
Building plan and elevation_©

9. The Paleis voor Volksvlijt, Amsterdam

The Paleis voor Volksvlijt was a huge exhibition hall built in Amsterdam between 1859 and 1864. Architect Cornelis Outshoorn designed this palace after getting inspired by Crystal Palace, London. It was a major entertainment center, hosting concerts in its theatre and housing several shops. 

Like the Crystal Palace, this building also caught fire in 1992. Some of the parts still survived but in 1961 it was demolished.

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Paleis voor Volksvlijt_©WIKIMEDIA
Palace during fire_©
Exterior view_©

10. La Pagoda, Spain | Architectural Buildings

La Pagoda is also known as Jorba Laboratories built-in 1967 by Architect Miguel Fisac in Madrid, Spain. It served as the headquarters of pharmaceutical company Laboratories Jorba. The building was famous for its structural resemblance; each floor was rotated 45 degrees from the lower floor. It was joined with a hyperboloid ruled surface. It was recognized as one of the city’s architectural icons. 

In 1999 it was demolished as developers decided it would be financially beneficial to build a larger building in place of it.

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Jorba Laboratories, Madrid, 1967_©Fundación Miguel Fisac
Demolition of the Jorba Laboratories, Madrid, 1999_©Luis Asín.
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Jorba Laboratories, Madrid, 1967_©Fundación Miguel Fisac

Reference list

  • The Indian express. (2021). Explained: The legacy and return of the Bamiyan Buddhas, virtually.
  • The wire. (2020). Babri Masjid: The Timeline of a Demolition.
  • Anne Helmreich, “On the Opening of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, 1854”
  • Domonosake.C. (2017). ISIS Destroys Ancient Theater, Tetrapylon In Palmyra, Syria Says.
  • Kimmelman.M. (2019). When the Old Penn Station Was Demolished, New York Lost Its Faith.

A budding artist, poet and dancer by passion and an architecture student by profession pursuing 3rd Year in architecture from MBS SPA, New Delhi. Highly passionate about architecture also understands the language of art, currently running an art page showcasing her own art skills and now here to improve her skills on creative writing towards architecture. Life is a journey with lots of experience and she is here to acquire another set of experience.