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History's Most Notorious Unfinished Buildings

09:30 - 9 July, 2018
© Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família
© Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família

Both today and in centuries past, it is a reality of building that not every project is destined for success. Financial issues or unrealistic timetables can complicate a building’s construction but, while usually the final result eventually meets the initial expectations, other times the worst-case scenario of a building being abandoned during construction becomes a nightmare come true. Unfortunately, these failed projects have an extensive history. Economic factors are the most common cause of unfinished construction, but buildings have also been stranded in limbo by wars, geopolitical shifts, epidemics of disease and other unpredictable obstacles, leaving partial structures as haunting reminders of what might have been.

Whether partially completed and left as ruins or still under construction decades (or centuries) after initial groundbreaking, unfinished buildings offer an alternative history of our built environment, promising long-delayed gratification or examples of design so ambitious that they prove impossible to realize. Initiated by civilizations across the globe, the following list details just a few examples of history’s most interesting and infamous unfinished construction projects.

Image by Ilya Ilusenko <a href=''>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain) © <a href=''>Flickr user hisgett</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY 2.0</a> © Raphael Olivier © <a href=''>Wikimedia user Colin</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-SA 4.0</a> + 12

If Your Annoying Coworkers Were Indiscreet Buildings

09:30 - 13 February, 2017
If Your Annoying Coworkers Were Indiscreet Buildings

The connection here is plain and simple: bad coworkers, bad architecture, perfect pair. It's not uncommon for architects to take inspiration from the human body, but consider these eight pairings to be what would happen if your least favorite coworkers were reincarnated in building form.

The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built

04:00 - 24 January, 2017
The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built, Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco
Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco

As long as there have been buildings mankind has sought to construct its way to the heavens. From stone pyramids to steel skyscrapers, successive generations of designers have devised ever more innovative ways to push the vertical boundaries of architecture. Whether stone or steel, however, each attempt to reach unprecedented heights has represented a vast undertaking in terms of both materials and labor – and the more complex the project, the greater the chance for things to go awry.

Ryugyong Hotel. Image © José Tomás Franco Robot Building. Image © José Tomás Franco CCTV Headquarters. Image © José Tomás Franco Cayan Tower. Image © José Tomás Franco + 21