A building’s design is a time-consuming and expensive process that necessitates great preparation and preparation. As a result, buildings are often restored or refurbished to prolong their lives, while unsuitable structures on particularly attractive sites are often destroyed to make room for new components. 

But some buildings fall victim to unique events that lead to them becoming completely deserted. Once serving an important purpose but now forgotten and standing eerily frozen in time. These are the world’s most intriguing abandoned architecture. Below are mentioned 15 such examples.

1. City Hall Subway Station – New York, USA

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With the opening of the city’s first subway line in 1904, Newyork finally had a rapid transit system to rival those of other cities like Paris and London. City Hall subway station was the grandest on the entire network, with a gracefully curved platform, vaulted arch ceilings, decorative mosaics, intricate skyline, and impressive chandeliers. While the grandeur of the underground station was widely admired, commuters quickly realized that the nearby Brooklyn Bridge station offered a much more convenient transport connection. Onto Brooklyn and further downtown significantly reducing the number of passengers using city hall stations. 

Additionally, as the popularity of the system grew along with it grew the length of the trains’ carriages. These longer carriages were unable to make the journey through the station’s loop as the curve design of the system prevented them from pulling up alongside the platform without creating dangerously large gaps between the train and the edge of the platform. 

By 1945 the number of passengers reduced to a mere 600 per day and the decision was taken to close the station. While no 6 train still uses the loop to turn around, the station has remained unused for passenger purposes ever since. However, due to its protected underground location, 

This abandoned structure has fared much better than some of the others on this list. Shielded from the elements, much of the original intricate design has survived to the present day 

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2. Buzludzha – Bulgaria

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A historical landmark built for the Bulgarian Communist Party. It was finished in 1981 after 8 years of construction. It was abandoned in 1989, the same year that the Belgium communist regime fell. Today it’s off-limits to the public but that didn’t stop a crew of videographers to get inside and explore the structure also known amongst the locals as Bulgarian UFO. 

The crew managed to document the entire structure. The domed building had a wide seating area which was used for state meetings and festivities.

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Also, the room’s interior was covered in murals honoring Marx and Lenin, As well as the iconic hammer and sickle symbol on the ceiling boldly placed in the center of its vast ceremonial hall. The monument is a relic of its time not too long ago and a testament to how quickly time changes.

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3. NICOSIA International 

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From its construction as a strategic Royal air force base for the British in 1939, Nicosia International serves as an international airport for Cyprus. However this came to an abrupt end in 1947 when a coup against the then-president forced the airport to close stranding citizens and foreign nationals alike, reopened to allow foreigners to leave the island, and the Turkish invasion just two days later, saw the area come under heavy fire. 

Resulting in the facility immediately being evacuated and several aircraft being left abandoned on the runway. While no longer at war the island remains divided to this date with the airport now lying at the United Nations buffer zone between the two communities.

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New airports were constructed by both the communities hence functions never retired to this airport. A portion of the airport is still used as a headquarter for the UN’s peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. The remaining building remains eerily abandoned and has fallen into decay.

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4. Hashima Island – Japan

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What was once home to over 6000 people, Hashima island was Japan’s first city built entirely on top of a standalone island. This former city invites a troubled past to its previous residents with 15 apartment buildings surrounded by hundreds of shops, they lay untouched and reclaimed by nature. 

Concrete walls of these buildings surround the perimeter of the island making it just visible from nearby towns. Its residents are left with only 5 days in hand and most of their personal belongings left behind due to the short notice by government officials. Nature has the most drastic effect on Hashima Island since its previous predecessors. Commonly called Cuckoo Jima, This name translates to battleship island because of its unique shape. 

The Hashima story ended in 1974 due to insufficient funding, 1960 petroleum took over coal, shutting down coal production drastically resulted in the government pulling out funds from Hashima Island.

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5. Canfranc International Railway Station – Spain

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Constructed in 1928, the Canfranc International Railway Station in the Pyrenees was the second largest railway station in Europe at that time, measuring some 240 meters long and became dubbed the titanic of the mountains. The station was intended to operate as an interchange between France and Spain. 

Despite its then state-of-the-art system, The station was never used to its full potential, Due to the Spanish tunnels being sealed off by Spain during the Spanish civil war and dwindling use by civilians during the second world war. The final blow for the train station came in the 1970s when the international rail services were permanently halted following a train derailment and a subsequent bridge collapse on the french side of the Pyrenees. 

Facing financial pressure french government decided not to rebuild the bridge and instead replaced the rail crossing with a bus service. While it was still functional from the Spanish side, the economic impact of the station now being a terminus and not an interchange saw the population of nearby Canfrac fall sharply. 

The structure now parched the building with intentions of restoring the building and turning it into a hotel, there are also plans to reopen the railway lines connecting the region to Bordeaux in France.

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6. Ryugyong Hotel – North Korea 

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Perhaps the most well-known building on this list is the 105 story Ryugyong Hotel. A vast tower that rises 330 meters above North Korea’s capital Pyongyang. With Construction work originally commencing in 1987, The building is a contender for the world’s tallest hotel building, The project was abandoned in 1992 following the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent economic crisis that engulfed the country thereafter. 

Though the building had reached full height before being abandoned, no interior or exterior finish has been applied to the structure and it stood as a hollow concrete skeleton over the city for many years, giving its famous nickname “ The Hotel Of Doom” internationally. In 2008, the North Korean government began a joint effort with an Egyptian company to bring the hotel to completion and start its operations by 2012. 

Through this joint venture managed to finish the facade of the building, the interior was never finished and no hotel operator could be secured hence resulting in this project being abandoned once again and living up to its name of “Hotel Of Doom”.

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7. Maunsell Sea Forts – United Kingdom

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Guy Maunsell, a structural engineer, suggested bringing the battle to the sea to protect the British Isles from the German Luftwaffe. This concept was released in the Thames Estuary, where a series of anti-aircraft sentry towers were connected by catwalks a few miles off the mainland. The sea forts, which were built in 1942 and decommissioned a decade later, played a brief but essential role. 

The sea forts were briefly used to relay rogue, uncensored pirate radio transmissions in the late 1960s, even though the scheme was formally abandoned in 1958.

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8. Michigan Central Station – United States 

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The world’s tallest train station, hotel, and office tower opened in 1914 as a grand Beaux-Arts train station, hotel, and office tower. Detroit’s rail industry started to falter as the city reached its golden age. The location was engulfed by interstates in the 1960s and 1970s, and the station continued to lose lucrative routes. 

The last Amtrak train departed the station in 1988, signaling the end of the building’s commuter service; the building was reopened as a freight train station in 2000, although this only lasted until 2004, and the station has been deserted since then. Given the building’s grim outlook, Michigan Central Station’s new owners successfully finished a project to repair the building’s walls.

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9. Sanzhi Pod Houses – Taiwan

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The Sanzhi Pod Houses were conceived as a fun collection of modular holiday houses located just outside of New Taipei, Taiwan. The project was doomed from the outset, with work beginning in 1978 and still running over budget and behind schedule. 

The houses were dubbed “haunted” by the media after a series of construction workers died soon after they opened. The forward-thinking pods were never inhabited indefinitely and were destroyed without fanfare in 2008.

10. Buffalo Central Terminal – United States

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Another art deco rust belt train station makes the list, which is unsurprising. Buffalo Central Terminal opened in 1929 and during the city’s heyday, it operated up to 200 trains a day. The station was forced to close in 1979 when production was continually outsourced and cars became more prevalent. 

The building was left to rot for years before it was recently acquired by the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation. They intend to return the station to its former glory, a mission that is both difficult and inspirational.

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11. Pripyat Amusement Park – Ukraine

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The Soviet Union’s national holiday, May 1, 1986, was meant to be a joyful day. The meltdown of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26th, less than a week before the opening of Pripyat’s new amusement park, unfortunately, followed “May Day.” 

The town was abandoned, and no one ever rode the nuclear Ferris wheel. It’s still there, rusted and overgrown, frozen in time, after 31 years.

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12. Six Flag – New Orleans, USA

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Originally named Jazz Land, The park was purchased in 2002 and reopened under the banner of Six Flag in 2003. Plans were developed to expand the attraction with additional rides and water parks to match with other Six Flag resorts. 

Sadly, These plans were never realized. In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Overwhelming flood defenses, and devastating most of the city. 

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The Park sat submerged under 7 feet of seawater for over a month before pumps could dewater the site. with 80% of the park being destroyed because of rust and air, Park was closed indefinitely. With Six Flag filing for bankruptcy in 2009, Park is now owned by the New Orleans Government and remains closed till this date. 

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13. Dome Homes – Florida, USA

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The Cape Romano Dome House is an abandoned house made up of six dome-shaped modules set on stilts about 100 meters off the coast of Cape Romano Island, Florida. The Dome Houses were built in the 1980s to be a futuristic holiday home. Because of the rough weather in Florida, the shorelines have deteriorated, making this architectural project unsuitable.

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14. Heilstätten Hospital – Beelitz, Germany

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This abandoned hospital complex of approximately 60 buildings is situated in the Beelitz Heilstatten district of Germany and was built in 1898. It served as a military hospital during World War I, treating the first patients, including Adolf Hitler, a young soldier who was blinded by a British gas attack and shot in the leg at the Battle of the Somme.

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15. Power Plant IM – Charleroi, Belgium

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The Power Plant IM, which was built in 1921, was once one of Belgium’s largest coal-burning power plants. However, great power comes with great pollution, and this particular plant was responsible for 10% of the country’s overall carbon dioxide emissions. 

The platform was shut down in 2007 after Greenpeace objected. The demolished towers offer plenty of dystopian and eerily majestic vistas, even if the power plant no longer produces energy.

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References

Block, I., Astbury, J., Adey, S. and Block, I., 2021. Abandoned buildings | Dezeen. [online] Dezeen. Available at: <https://www.dezeen.com/tag/abandoned-buildings/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].

Musca, T., 2021. 8 Extraordinary Examples of Abandoned Architecture. [online] ArchDaily. Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/874242/8-extraordinary-examples-of-abandoned-architecture> [Accessed 28 March 2021].

Simoes, E., 2021. 10 abandoned structures and the ruins of modern architecture – DesignWanted. [online] DesignWanted. Available at: <https://designwanted.com/architecture/10-abandoned-structures/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].

Author

Tushar is currently an architecture student in VIT. Whenever he finds time from browsing through memes, he's constantly lost in dreaming about new conspiracy theories. He is constantly trying to stay awake through online classes one class at a time.

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