The House on Derby Road

When property prices reach such outlandish heights as in Hong Kong, it creates some peculiar distortions in the local market. Whenever I walk around Kowloon Tong, a wealthy, low-rise neighbourhood not far from my apartment, I’m surprised by the number of derelict and seemingly abandoned houses. Kowloon Tong was first developed as a garden suburb […]

Architects Who Understand

The Venice Biennale of Architecture closes this week, which has given me opportunity to think back to its opening days in late August. I was there to cover the Hong Kong exhibition, but I had a bit of time to soak up the rest of the show. It was big, unruly and dramatically uneven, but […]

The Slow Demise of Long Spring Lane

A little north of Shanghai’s Suzhou Creek, nestled behind the cacophony of Qipu Lu’s hectic wholesale clothing district, lies the entrance to Changchun “Long Spring” Lane (长春里). It is a crumbling longtang* (弄堂) marked by one of Shanghai’s ubiquitous brick archways, which lies under the lane’s name, chiseled in stone. And it has a very auspicious address: 858 Tanggu […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific by Sue Anne Tay Comments Off on The Slow Demise of Long Spring Lane , , , ,

Halloween in a City of Ghosts

There’s something undeniably creepy about Nam Koo Terrace, an abandoned red-brick mansion on Ship Street in Wan Chai. Nearly seventy years ago, the house was used as a military brothel during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, and the ghosts of so-called “comfort women” are said to haunt the house today. In 2003, a group […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, History, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Halloween in a City of Ghosts , , , ,

Obsolete Modernism

You can see the Pekeliling Flats from the platform of the Titiwangsa monorail station, just north of Kuala Lumpur’s city centre. The grounds between each apartment block are unkempt; the flats themselves look ransacked, with doors knocked out of their frames. Though the flats haven’t been abandoned for very long, they are already being reclaimed […]

The Industrial City Deconstructed

[vimeo][/vimeo] Détroit: Ville Sauvage (Detroit Wild City), film de Florent Tillon (2010), présente de façon particulièrement poétique et imagée la réversibilité du processus d’urbanisation. Dans le cas très précis de Détroit, il s’agît d’un phénomène directement lié à la baisse de production dans l’industrie automobile américaine et des pertes d’emplois qui sont une conséquence directe […]

Empty L.A.

Photo by Matthew Logue The density of urban slums once drove city planners and social workers mad — and, in some cases, still does today. But perhaps because of the vicious crime that followed mass abandonment of cities like Detroit, or the specter, for the first time, of an entire city’s virtual erasure in the […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Books, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Empty L.A. , , ,

Unbuilt Cities

Satellite views of California City (above) and Lehigh Acres (below) from Google Maps The world is filled with mad dreams only partly come to life. In Eastern Europe, half-built skyscrapers that neither communist governments nor their free market-friendly successors could complete form ironic landmarks, totems of ideological overconfidence. In China’s Inner Mongolia province, authorities built […]

Vertically Challenged

The Midtown West intersection was windswept and deserted, save for two fighting children. To their right, a weed-strewn lot, some freshly-painted tags, a shopping cart filled with someone’s belongings from some far-off store called “Buy Buy Baby”, a long-unnecessary construction cone. To their left: an empty, suburban-style Mercedes dealership, out-of-place, surreal — just a little […]

The Old Steel Foundry

My first experience of urban exploration came thanks to an abandoned steel foundry on St. Ambroise St. in St. Henri, on which there was still a piece of 1995 referendum-era graffiti urging us to vote “Oui.” My girlfriend and I walked around the building, exploring some of the more easily accessible areas on the ground […]

Posted in: Canada, Interior Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The Old Steel Foundry , , ,

End of the Line

At the southeastern corner of Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood — the cape that put the Hoek in the area’s original Dutch name, Roode Hoek — almost nothing is used according to its original purpose. A rail barge has been repurposed as a waterfront museum, a warehouse has become a massive Fairway supermarket, some streetcar tracks […]

Suzanne Takes You Down…

John Allison’s 1983 photos of Montreal’s Old Port reveal a neighbourhood essentially unchanged since Leonard Cohen wrote his 1966 song “Suzanne.” Looking at the half-abandoned streets, flanked by greystone warehouses still bearing the imprint of their past occupants, sidewalks claimed by cracks and weeds, it’s hard not to recall the lyrics from that song. Suzanne […]

Posted in: Canada, History by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Suzanne Takes You Down… , ,

Scaling an Abandoned Silo

Next to the Redpath Lofts, on the Lachine Canal, is an abandoned sugar silo. Somehow, we ended up at the top.

Illicit Rooftop Views

I took these photos from the roof of an abandoned grain silo on St. Patrick Street in Point St. Charles, right next to the Lachine Canal. I was there, in the company of two Montrealers who have snuck up to dozens of roofs over the past few years, for an article that will appear soon […]