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  2. Abandoned Architecture

Abandoned Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

Dust, Cracked Walls, and Enchanting Artwork

Magic lies in architectural ruins. Beneath the dirt and mold, fractured walls and deserted rooms still stand, preserving the remains that have lingered long after their owners' departure.

During his explorations of abandoned places across Europe, photographer Romain Veillon stumbled upon enchanting frescoes and paintings that were left to fade in the parlors of the aristocrats. Veillon became keen on finding more of these imaginary museums across the continent, and to his chance, managed to discover many in France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and Portugal.

Before their art is forgotten and their houses quietly rust away, Veillon captured the murals found in these haute bourgeoisie family houses, which illustrate stories of the cities they lay in and the people they once belonged to.

© Romain Veillon © Romain Veillon © Romain Veillon © Romain Veillon + 37

The Belgian City Doel is a Canvas for Street Artists - But is Art Enough to Save it?

Street art has long surpassed mere trend to become an integral part of cities' cultural identities. What was once considered vandalism is now not only accepted but encouraged. The works of once-prosecuted artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey are now collector's items; murals can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 or more. Through their works, artists may even have the power to save cities.

Abandoned Soviet-Era Infrastructure Captured by Danila Tkachenko

Last week, we covered the work of Moscow-based visual artist Danila Tkachenko, whose “Monuments” project appropriated abandoned Russian Orthodox churches with abstract modernist shapes. Tkachenko’s further work, “Restricted Areas” is equally as impressive, focusing on the human impulse towards utopia through technological progress.

The “Restricted Areas” photography set distills humanity’s strive to perfection through recording abandoned Soviet infrastructure. Traveling to now-deserted landscapes which once held great importance as centers of technological progress, Tkachenko captured images of “forgotten scientific triumphs, abandoned buildings of almost inhuman complexity” and a “technocratic future that never came.”

© Danila Tkachenko © Danila Tkachenko © Danila Tkachenko © Danila Tkachenko + 15

The Abandoned Architecture Series for your Next YouTube Binge

Designers and the general public alike have an endless fascination with abandoned architecture. Throughout history shifting economies, disasters, regime changes, and utter incompetence have all caused the evacuation of impressive architectural structures, which today serve as curious, sometimes eerie monuments to a bygone era.

Such is our fascination with these structures, YouTube is awash with videos and series of curious explorers documenting their daring, sometimes dubious adventures within abandoned architecture. One such channel, with a keen eye for architectural cinematography, is The Proper People.

Japan's Bet on Adaptive Reuse to Alleviate an Emerging Housing Crisis

Half a century after the new suburban tract home was the dream of many a young American family, refurbished properties are gaining in popularity. This trend extends beyond North America, with exciting renovations of existing structures popping up all over the world, from Belgium to Kenya to China. The attraction to this typology likely lies in its multiplicity; renovations are both new and old, historic and forward-looking, generative and sustainable. 

Nowhere is this trend more visible and popular than in housing, where the transformation is often led by the owners themselves. Loosely grouped under terms like “fixer-upper” and “adaptive reuse,” these projects begin with just the structural skeletons and the building’s history. At the personal scale, renovation/refurbishment is an opportunity to bring a part of yourself to your home - but do these small projects together have the potential to turn around a housing crisis?

The Architecture of Chernobyl: Past, Present, and Future

Abandoned amusement park, Pripyat. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/oinkylicious/2329332355/in/photolist-4xQrmF-Zy21ao-Kk1D9g-Gb2HP2-Gbd54x-JowQgL-Gbd2dH-kmncdm-HhH4ar-vjHaG4-UEr5H6-a18skw-4Jfgyq-a15xDt-b8aKqR-79Cs8L-7f8k5o-6mTumV-AchudK-nMskBH-21Paa6J-YtFY7A-Zym38a-GqNxX-Zu4Rj7-Zvy49y-o4Cvtz-GvJskr-Zvy4ZV-a18r3j-nMrmxp-22mw4E4-a18sfj-9pfhyd-a18srJ-6mTu12-8AFucS-6mTu6v-6mXBWu-a18q1b-6mXBNJ-a18rMf-a15AuP-a15Aor-aR4JPT-CJcGwg-d7Z5uq-GqPr6-GqKb1-a15B3P'>Flickr user oinkylicious</a> licensed under <a href=' https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>
Abandoned amusement park, Pripyat. Image © Flickr user oinkylicious licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

April 26th saw the 32nd anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, with the explosion of the Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine causing the direct deaths of 31 people, the spreading of radioactive clouds across Europe, and the effective decommissioning of 19 miles of land in all directions from the plant. Thirty-two years later, a dual reading of the landscape is formed: one of engineering extremes, and one of eeriness and desolation.

As the anniversary of the disaster and its fallout passes, we have explored the past, present, and future of the architecture of Chernobyl, charting the journey of a landscape which has burned and smoldered, but may yet rise from the ashes.

Reator 4, Chernobyl has been encased in the world's largest movable metal structure. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/entoropi/35375407185/in/photolist-VU1d6x-ikWQJ1-TsSEwh-9qYCRm-9r6pCQ-5m9uAf-hQxGTt-9qW5dX-9qZ86h-ikXxJp-VGwNBV-9r3mCk-9qW8b4-JnBeTu-JEs1bN-JPwDqi-5m9uKY-VTZpwk-9qW1gt-pquPBw-o5xhEA-o5CtPv-ikXzoX-9qYYe5-9qW5Cv-ViPtB3-a1f2LP-24v4vJn-ikXG5T-ikXae5-ikXbbA-HS2sCx-ikX47f-JFgyt9-ikWQvz-JFuDgD-4JaWEF-9qYUAA-4JaXwp-ikX25w-ikX5uL-9r3dEz-21K4gzj-VLhgQ8-9qZaH1-9qVN4v-9r3vVX-9qYCb9-qVuDsv-9qW9kr'>Flickr user entoropi</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a> The unfinished 5th reactor at Chernobyl. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/spoilt_exile/35540029246/in/photolist-W9xWuW-8EJWzQ-8EFKjR-nYASP9-b5mfSF-KaKzfq-JoyU1p-LeqYKQ-db7Rjb-g9sy6Z-eFjTwt-8EJRUJ-9HxbYc-9ChyMP-eFqD41-9r6syY-b5jZX8-8E3Gq8-UBvtEu-eFjVJH-2cMJbu-S1h3Ni-G8UJNf-HbTHda-oDXEJ-SSthoT-JFpB8R-oDXyo-76kFmX-sfX8km-atjDdx-8EJBQm-GbcxvD-GbcuAR-FL67kj-FfKC19-G8UGMb-Gbchbv-25mkvaF-FBeQuK-HgSNsj-8EJX9S-5m9vfu-22Epjzj-fai36Q-8EJP1W-4jMERm-JFuDgD-YYzhkv-eFqCuS'>Flickr user spoilt_exile</a> licensed under <ahref='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Abandoned swimming pool, Pripyat. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/22746515@N02/26563907296/in/photolist-GtmYaE-eLaenJ-eeUnTA-SF9h32-Bo4Gq1-7f8nJw-uQ48C-6qxrvs-9BV2oD-HFWifd-6qxqAm-eLaehW-4JEQH3-RX8AcC-SNS9DU-RPNywP-TC6jR6-7FU6vg-D3PFi5-UYXshy-eLaeey-SSsDqz-V3p7Lt-TNWtAx-TNRUWT-TKSjx9-V3se2D-TKVEVC-TKWHey-6w9yh1-TNqymV-TNVDBr-RX6McY-V3r94z-TNpNft-RzXz6U-6jNwgu-TNsYHr-UN3K7h-UQEByr-V3rvgz-UYsKFu-UQKsgt-TKrHko-UMYEZY-9dGEHv-XRsh7D-7f8k5o-XArcfz-UsfA6W'>Flickr user Bert Kaufmann</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/'>CC BY-NC 2.0</a> Abandoned amusement park, Pripyat. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedakotakid/6216419723/in/photolist-atjM1p-9qZbyw-fai36Q-VU1fxr-fahXd9-o1wcX3-Dy5et5-VU1d6x-ikWQJ1-TsSEwh-9qYCRm-9r6pCQ-5m9uAf-hQxGTt-9qW5dX-9qZ86h-ikXxJp-VGwNBV-9r3mCk-9qW8b4-JnBeTu-JEs1bN-JPwDqi-5m9uKY-VTZpwk-9qW1gt-pquPBw-o5xhEA-o5CtPv-ikXzoX-9qYYe5-9qW5Cv-ViPtB3-a1f2LP-24v4vJn-ikXG5T-ikXae5-ikXbbA-HS2sCx-ikX47f-JFgyt9-ikWQvz-JFuDgD-4JaWEF-9qYUAA-4JaXwp-ikX25w-ikX5uL-9r3dEz-21K4gzj'>Flickr user thedakotakid</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> + 18