Thursday, March 30, 2017

Shanghai's largest vacant building: A mall in the shape of Pentagon

It looks just like the US Pentagon but it's double the size! This Chinese knockoff is the largest unoccupied building in Shanghai according to media reports. A classic case of Chinese overspending, Pentagonal Mart, located in Shanghai's Nanhui district, spans out a massive 70 acres (compared to 34 acres for the Department of Defense headquarters in Washington DC.)

Most of the building has been unoccupied since construction ended in 2009 due to the mall's confusing interiors. The mall failed to attract retailers and according to media reports hope remained alive in the form of the Shanghai Disney Resort which opened in June 2016 and it's located just 8 km (5 miles) away.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

The Scottish ghost village of Polphail

During the 1970's the UK government was looking for locations on the Scotland coast where it could construct sites to build oil platforms, based on forecasts for future demand. Polphail, on the west coast of the Cowal Peninsula, in Argyll & Bute was one of the locations chosen, as it provided a sheltered port where a a dry dock and a construction yard could be built. Land was purchased by the government and a village that could house up to 500 workers was built between 1975 and 1977. 

However, the village of Polphail was never inhabited. Structural design issues of the oil gravity platforms, cost implications and inflexibility in the sector at the time led to no orders being placed at the yard. Polphail was now a ghost village. In 2009 it gained some publicity as an artistic collective visited the empty streets of Polphail to create a graffiti art gallery with paintings of figures, faces, abstract designs and haunting images, before all structures are demolished.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The abandoned Buffalo Central Terminal

Buffalo Central Terminal opened on June 22, 1929 with a grand celebration attended by 2,200 invited guests. The new train station of Buffalo, New York had been built by New York Central Railroad to replace the several other train stations that served the city. 

Designed by architects Fellheimer & Wagner in art deco style and build in Buffalo's Broadway/Fillmore district, the station had been considered too huge even from its early days. The 17-story building consists of several structures some of which are connected, while others were formerly interconnected. The main concourse is 225 feet (69 m) long, 66 feet (21 m) wide, and 58.5 feet (17.8 m) tall. t (21 m) wide, and 58.5 feet (17.8 m) tall. The concourse included various rental spaces, a restaurant with a dining room, lunch room, and coffee shop, a Western Union telegraph office; and a soda fountain, along with standard station necessities. The train concourse is 450 feet (140 m) long and includes 14 high-level platforms. 

Although at first Buffalo Central Terminal served 200 trains daily, the Great Depression which began shortly after the terminal opened, as well as the rise in use of automobile, hurt passenger levels. World War II brought an increase in traffic but the decline continued after the war. In 1966, some secondary buildings of the terminal were demolished due to the decrease of passenger revenues. Amtrak tried to add new routes in the late 1970's but soon services moved to the smaller Buffalo–Exchange Street station as the Central Terminal was too expensive for the financially strapped passenger carrier. The last train departed the terminal at 4:10 am on October 28, 1979. 

On the same year the building was sold for $75,000 to a local builder with plans to convert it into a 150-room hotel named Central Terminal Plaza but he could not find investors for the project. He finally only created an apartment for himself and lived there until 1986 when he declared bankruptcy. Following that, the terminal changed numerous owners and fell into disrepair. Vandals destroyed whatever could not be stolen as the building wasn't guarded. A volunteer organization bought the terminal in 1997 for $1 and the assumption of approximately $70,000 in back taxes. Since then it has hosted multiple fundraisers and has been able to restore some small parts of the terminal.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned railway stations around the world // More abandoned places in the state of New York // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Thursday, March 16, 2017

An abandoned Soviet turbojet train

During the 1960's, Americans, followed by the Soviets, experimented with turbojet trains. The idea was that, like a jet aircraft, the train is propelled by the jet thrust of the engines, rather than by its wheels. Turbojet engines were built with the engine incorporated into a railcar combining both propulsion and passenger accommodation. As turbojet engines were most efficient at high speeds, they were applied to high-speed passenger services, rather than freight. 

The Soviets built their own turbojet train, known as SVL (High-speed Laboratory Railcar), in 1970. With a mass of 54.4 tonnes (including 7.4 tonnes of fuel) and a length of 28 metres (92 ft), it was able to reach a speed of 250 kilometres per hour (160 mph), although there were plans for it to reach 360 km/hour (224 mph).

Despite its high speed, the model was considered inefficient due to the very high fuel consumption of the jet engines which made it very expensive to run. Today, the test train still exists in a dilapidated and unmaintained state.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Rio's Olympic venues, abandoned 6 months later

6 months. That's how long it took for Rio's Olympic venues to fall into disrepair. It looks like Rio didn't learn any lesson from Athens, Beijing and Sochi, cities which built a great number of sport venues and facilities to host the Olympic Games without having any solid plans about the future. 

But it's not just the lack of planning. Brazil was already into an economic crisis while the Olympics were held there and the situation hasn't gotten any better. There are simply not enough money to maintain, or even guard the Olympic facilities, even if it's the Maracana stadium we're talking about. Once the largest stadium in the world, Maracana, has now remained empty and unused, as clubs and authorities argue over who should manage it. Although it is owned by the Rio de Janeiro's state government, officials have stopped paying for maintenance and security. According to media reports and photos, Maracana stadium has been looted and even cables have been stolen. 

Rio's the Olympic Park, which is now owned by the city of Rio, has remained deserted since the end of Paralympics as the city failed to find a new operator. Similarly, Rio's $19m Olympic golf has remained abandoned as the cost of maintenance is too high for the city. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

The ruins of Fort Macomb in New Orleans

Fort Macomb was constructed by the United States in 1822, outside the city of New Orleans. It was after the War of 1812, when the British forces invaded New Orleans, and the brick fort was constructed to protect the area. Although today the area is part of New Orleans, back in the day Fort Macomb was some miles outside the city.

The first name of the fort was Fort Wood, but it was renamed to Fort Macomb in 1951, for General Alexander Macomb, former Chief of Engineers and the second Commanding General of the United States Army

In 1861, early in the American Civil War, Fort Macomb was occupied by the Confederate States Army. A year later, the Union Army regained control of the fort as well as the city of New Orleans. In 1867 the fort was largely abandoned after the barracks got fire. It was finally decommissioned in 1871. 

Today Fort Macomb belongs to the state of Louisiana. Although it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places no reconstruction work has taken place and the fort sits largely abandoned and in need of structural stabilization. 

During the last years, Fort Macomb has been used in filming: for the first season finale of the tv series True Detective, for tv series Into the Badlands and for portions of BeyoncĂ© visual album, Lemonade.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Baker Island: A deserted atoll in the Pacific Ocean

Halfway between Hawaii and Australia lies the lonely Baker Island, a tiny atoll with a shoreline of just 3 miles (4.8 km). The island is almost flat, with sandy terrain and four types of grass. There are no trees, fresh water or people. Baker Island is inhabited by seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife, some of them endangered. 

Baker was discovered in 1818 by Captain Elisha Folger of the Nantucket whaling ship Equator, who called the island "New Nantucket". It got its final name from Michael Baker who visited the island multiple times starting from 1832. He claimed the island in 1855 and sold it to a group who later formed the American Guano Company. Two years later though, the United States government claimed Baker Island under the Guano Islands Act of 1856. Baker Island remains an unincorporated and unorganized US territory till today and it's part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands.

From 1859 to 1878 the American Guano Company mined the island's guano deposits. A short-lived colonization attempt was made in 1935. A lighthouse was built along with some buildings on a settlement called Meyerton. In 1943 the US Army constructed a 5,463-foot (1,665 m) airfield that was subsequently used as a staging base by Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberator bombers for attacks on Mili Atoll. The airfield was abandoned by 1944. From 1944 to July 1946 the island hosted a LORAN radio navigation station. 

Today, debris from past human occupation -mainly from the US Army occupation - is scattered throughout the island and in offshore waters. The most noticeable of them are the abandoned airstrip which is now completely overgrown with vegetation and the island's lighthouse. There is also debris from several crashed airplanes and large equipment such as bulldozers.

From 1974 the island became part of the Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge. In January 2009, that entity was redesignated the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Baker Island is visited annually by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service