7 Abandoned Buildings We’d Like to See Fixed Up

From mysterious prefab homes to secret subway stations, these properties offer incredible potential

A general view of one of the factory buildings in FordlandiaPhoto: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Fordlandia (Aveiro, Brazil)

Fordlandia sounds like it should be an amusement park for car lovers. While it never housed rollercoasters or fun houses, the Brazilian city was indeed the brain child of Henry Ford. The industrialist had big plans for the community: Not only would it bring thousands of jobs to the area as a manufacturing plant for rubber, but it would be a social utopia built on the philosophies Ford believed would better society. When he famously raised the wages of his workers to five dollars per day, the increase came with stipulation that staff would’t drink alcohol, be physically abusive toward their family, or take in boarders. Employees were also required to contribute to a savings account and keep their homes clean.

His desire to “improve” his factory workers evolved into a need to do the same with whole cities. Enter: Fordlandia, which grew to include a hospital, library, school, and dance hall. Ford chose the Amazon jungle for a variety of reasons, most importantly believing it would be an ideal place to grow rubber trees. But the project ultimately failed. Factory-trained employees originally ran the plant instead of botanists or horticulture specialist, which meant the trees didn’t flourish like they were supposed to. There were also many riots and disputes as local Brazilian workers were treated differently than American ones, and the land was eventually sold back to the Brazilian government. While people do still live in some of the buildings, much of the city is abandoned.

Undeniably, though, the bones of the structures are aesthetically enticing. After all, the renovations of factories into lofts has a long history of creating subtly cool, brutalist-adjacent living spaces. Of course, understanding the needs of local residents and the climate, which Ford appeared to have ignored, would be integral for a renovation project.

The abandoned Victorian Crystal Palace SubwayPhoto: Sam Mellish/In Pictures/Getty Images

Crystal Palace Subway (London, England)

The Crystal Palace Subway was created to provide easy access to its namesake, the Crystal Palace, a cast-iron-and-glass building once located in Hyde Park in London. Built in 1865, the Victorian station is now one of the last-remaining relics of the iconic attraction, which was destroyed in a fire in 1936. Though the station remained open after the blaze—it even briefly served as an air-raid shelter during World War II— it officially closed in 1954. Still, its red-and-cream-tiled pillars make it among the most beautiful subway stops in the world, and would serve as a striking backdrop as an event space. Luckily, restoration work is actively underway. Thomas Ford & Partners, a conservation architect, is leading the plans, which will include “the rebuilding of existing walls, construction of new parapet walls, and a roof structure.”

big unfinished castle seen covered with snow at Lapalice village in Kashubia region.Photo: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Łapalice Castle (Łapalice, Poland)

Łapalice Castle is not as old as it appears: Construction started on the Renaissance-inspired castle in the late ’70s. According to Atlas Obscura, the structure was built by Piotr Kazimierczak, a Polish artist, who wanted the compound to serve as his home and studio. However, he ran out of money before the project was completed and reportedly only had a permit to build a small cottage, not a huge castle. Forced to abandon his dream, the half-finished palace has now become a popular destination for urban explorers. Quite literally a shell, there is infinite potential in the almost estate.



Bay of abandoned hotels in Kupari CroatiaPhoto: Pawel Klobukowski/Getty Images

Kupari Resorts (Kupari, Croatia)

There is a whole bay of abandoned hotels in Kupari, Croatia, less than 10 miles from Dubrovnik. Once a collection of seven luxury properties, the complex could host thousands of guests in the 1960s. While not built just for officers of the Yugoslav People’s Army, their families, and other national officials, these were the primary clientele, as it was difficult for anyone without connections to get a reservation at the popular attraction. The complex was destroyed and abandoned during the Croatian War of Independence and never rebuilt. Now overrun by nature, the modernist buildings still offer striking views of Adriatic Sea.

An abandoned yellow rusty UFO house near a forest in Wanli UFO Village TaiwanPhoto: Wirestock/Getty images

Wanli UFO Village (New Taipei, Taiwan)

The homes in Wanli UFO village look a bit like what futurists of the 1950s thought the 21st century would look like—minus, of course, all of the overgrown nature and crumbling interiors. Located an hour north of Taipei, the abandoned neighborhood is a combination two prefabricated home models, Venturo houses, single-story square homes, and Futuro houses (the orb-like abodes seen above). Reportedly, the homes were planned as vacation rentals during Taiwan’s martial law era, when many beaches were closed. However, Taiwan’s economy slowed, leaving the resort—and many others—without customers.

Even so, there is still a fair amount of mystery surrounding exactly why the homes were abandoned, and according to Remote Lands, a luxury Asian travel company, some of the homes are in fact occupied. Still, seeing these properties fixed up would offer a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience an all-but-forgotten view of what the future was once believed to look like.


Via Architectural Digest

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