Ghost Town Architecture You Must See

1. Kolmanskop, Namib Desert, Southern Africa

Situated in the middle of the South African desert, it is fascinating to see an abandoned town made up of houses, schools, a hospital, and even a casino fashioned after the German architecture. Around the 1900s, German miners began settling in the area due to its abundance in diamonds. Most of the residents enjoyed great wealth and lived comfortably despite the harsh conditions of the desert. Some even kept lush gardens as supplies of fresh water were made available through the railway and then stored into large tanks. However in 1956, it was completely abandoned as the last of its residents decided to transfer to neighboring towns with much richer diamond deposits. Nowadays, the empty rooms which were once bustling with activity and decorated with such opulence are being reclaimed by the desert and are slowly being filled up with sand.

2. Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan

Hashima Island used to be one of the densest place in the world reaching more than 5,200 residents living in such a small area at a time. The island was a coal-mining facility, jam-packed with concrete residential building blocks and was even mistaken for a battleship from afar thanks to its impressive concrete sea walls. But Hashima had a bitter history of forced labor.  It was said that thousands of Korean and Chinese prisoners were forced to mine coal in the island during the World War II. But several years later, as petroleum replaced coal in Japan, the facility was shut down and the residents were mandated to leave. Today, the island is completely deserted and only the debris of the enormous concrete buildings remain.

3. Kayakoy, Turkey

Greek Orthodox Christians and Anatolian Muslims lived harmoniously side by side in this once thriving town nestled beneath the Taurus Mountains. But nowadays, the houses where weddings and such other festivities were held sat empty and were gradually deteriorating; the fountains and reservoirs which provided the whole town with water were dried up; and the roofs which sheltered the residents caved in. The World War I, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Greco-Turkish War, and even a strong earthquake all factored in for the residents leaving the town for good. The ruins of this abandoned town continue to stand to this day as some sort of reminder that we can live in harmony amidst diversity.

4. Hirta, Scotland

Hirta is the main island of the Scottish archipelago of St. Kilda. The landscape of this lonely island is breathtaking, with barren high slopes only covered in grass and devoid of trees. Very little architecture is present due to its openness. Some of the islanders claimed to have never even seen a tree that is until they saw one in the mainland! Living in Hirta can be hard, what with the limited resources found in the island, its tempestuous and unpredictable weather, and its inaccessibility from the mainland. The seas are turbulent even during the summer so booking a boat to get to the island is quite an uncertainty. No wonder that on 1930, the last of the inhabitants petitioned to evacuate the island and be relocated in the Fiunary Forest, where there were plenty of trees as far as the eye could see.

5. Gouqi Island, China

Gouqi Island, which forms part of the Zhoushan Archipelago in China, is now gaining interest among the tourists. The town used to have a thriving fishing industry but because it was more economical for the fishermen to work and sell their catch in the mainland, the town was left behind in the early 1990s and was completely forgotten. However, nature seemed to have embraced the ghost town as vines and moss grew in the abandoned buildings, covering the architectural structures and creating such a marvelous and picturesque scene.

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Concrete Architecture Designs

Concrete is a blended substance made of diverse aggregate that’s been bonded together with a chemical binder.  It’s a popular architectural material because of its look and durability.  Concrete is easy to pour and mold into a variety of shapes, and the options for designs are nearly endless when the substance is combined with an array of other chemicals, additives, and reinforced materials.  Rebar is one example of that, which increases the strength of the concrete by helping to support the overall structure.  This is a preferred solution of concrete contractors everywhere because of that.

Concrete work is evident across the globe in everything from a home pool deck to a famous architectural structure like the Parthenon in Greece.  The Parthenon serves as a great example of the power of this material because the amazing temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, is still standing after hundreds of years of weathering and erosion.  Certain areas in Florida showcase more modest architectural designs primarily for residential structures.  There is a plethora of concrete companies in Orlando, Florida that build patios, sidewalks, pool decks and more using variations of this material.  Whether it’s ready mix concrete or pre-formed slabs, regional contractors install and repair things every day.  Most of the contractors serve homeowners only due to job size logistical issues, but you can still find a few that specialize in commercial concrete.

Famous Architectural Structures Around the World

Architecture is like any other form of art: it is an expression of an artist’s vision and frequently evokes feelings and emotions from those who view it. However, architecture takes artistic expression to a new level, creating a piece of art that is not just visual but also tangible and usable.

Numerous buildings around the globe are architectural masterpieces while also serving a practical purpose. The combination of form and function is what sets architecture apart from other art forms.

So, with that in mind, here is a list of some of the most beautiful architectural structures in the world.

Fallingwater

A list like this one wouldn’t be complete without including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Built in 1935 as a weekend home in southwestern Pennsylvania for Kaufman family.

The home consistently is rated as Wright’s best work and frequently is listed as one of the best pieces of architecture in America as well as bucket list must-sees.

Inspired by Japanese architecture, Fallingwater builds off of the surrounding landscape and interpenetrates interior and exterior spaces. It is a balance between man-made structure and nature and a leading example of organic architecture.

The Lotus Temple

Located in Delhi, India, the Lotus Temple is a Bahá’í House of Worship dedicated in 1986. This building’s famous lotus shape has made it a notable attraction and one of the most visited buildings in the world.

Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba’s design has won numerous architectural awards and even been called “the Taj Mahal of the 20th century.”

Habitat 67

This unusual piece of architecture is a model community and housing complex found in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was designed by Moshe Safdie, an Israeli-Canadian architect, as his master’s thesis.

It was built as a pavilion for the 1967 World’s Fair and remained one of the most well-known landmarks in Canada. Its design has led many architects to rethink high-density housing and the future of housing complexes.

Kuggen

Swedish for “cogwheel” and home to real estate company Chalmersfastigheter, this building follows Sweden’s tradition of environmental stewardship and incorporates green technologies including adaptive ventilation and lighting, interactive heating and cooling, and effective use of sunlight.

The building is designed to create the most space while using the least amount of area. The architecture firm who designed the building,  Wingårdh Arkitektkontor,  accomplished this through its circular design and added bays on each floor that adds to its size.

Kuggen was built in 2011 and has won several awards for its structural design and eco-friendly elements.

Kinkaku-ji

One of the most famous buildings in Japan, this ZenBuddhist temple is located in Kyoto and is a designated World Heritage Site.

The temple has a tumultuous history. Initially built in 1397, it was burned down during wartime in the mid-15th century, rebuilt, and then burned to the ground once more in 1950.

The temple’s architectural design incorporates shinden, samurai, and zen throughout its three floors and emphasizes the surrounding landscape. Besides an attraction for tourists, the temple remains symbolic for the elements of religion, death, and nature.

Resilient Design in Architecture

Resilient architecture and sustainability connect– genuinely sustainable buildings can withstand disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, as well as the test of time. As natural disasters become ever more prevalent, architects and builders must think about resilient architecture when building new structures and improving old ones.

Resilient design isn’t solely for individual buildings; cities built around this idea would benefit the most from resilient architecture, especially during natural disasters. However, before architects begin creating resilient structures, there are several factors they must consider in the design.

The first is the significance of the building’s function within the community, and its role said function fulfills in the business or institution is a part of. The second thing to consider is the effect of the damage from a disaster and the recovery for the community and environment. And last, the economic importance of a timely recovery.

While there are other factors that architects must consider in the design of resilient structures and cities, these are important because some buildings, such as hospitals, are crucial to the function of cities. It is also essential for architects and builders to think about the future stress buildings will have to endure. Climate change means that past data cannot be relied on as often and future trends must be the primary consideration.

Resilient design isn’t just important in the event of catastrophes. It can also improve the function of buildings on a day-to-day basis. For instance, green roofs and walls help slow the absorption of rainfall and collect storm runoff that could otherwise overwhelm drainage systems on the street. Green roofs and walls also have the added benefit of providing extra insulation and improving air quality for city dwellers.

Developments in building materials for durable and resilient structures are also on the rise. As technology improves, better and stronger materials will emerge on the market making resilient design a viable candidate for building design and city planning.

Stronger building materials such as impact glass like the kind used in cars can also provide durability during intense storms. Bendable glass, which is currently in its development stages, would also provide added resilience against high winds during hurricanes by bending rather than shattering.

Another material that could potentially become more common in resilient architecture is ultra-high-performance concrete or UHPC. This new type of cement is six times stronger than its regular counterpart and, like bendable glass, has some give when rocked by buffering winds.

However, materials like the ones listed above are often a lot more expensive than standard construction materials and may require extra licensing and training, especially in regard to UHPC. This could be a turn off for builders who want to cut costs wherever possible. 

There are many reasons why cities and individual buildings should transition to a more resilient design. As climate change accelerates the damage that natural disasters cause, a shift towards this form of architecture will have to occur. It is the best way to protect citizens around the globe and make a recovery as smooth as possible.

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