Abandoned projects including building, engineering and infrastructure development projects litter the whole of the world.
Most of them were started to symbolise a country’s prosperity and vision but after years of abandonment, stalled development and economic crisis, some of the world’s most amazing projects have been abandoned and now have come to epitomise national struggle.
From Bangkok’s ‘Ghost Tower’ which was abandoned after the 1997 financial crisis to the Tower of David, here is a selection of some of the world’s most famous abandoned and incomplete projects in no particular order.
1. Bangkok’s ‘Ghost Tower’
On stormy days debris from this unfinished and abandoned skyscraper rains down on the streets of Bangkok
A towering waste. It’s called Bangkok’s ‘ghost tower’. This 49-storey prominent unfinished skyscraper in the Thai capital city of Bangkok was destined to be a state-of-the-art office and residential complex, but has instead become a destination for urban explorers. Planned as a high-rise condominium complex, construction of the building was halted during the 1997 Asian financial crisis when it was 80% complete.
Now the 174-meter graffiti-covered building mainly houses squatters.
2. The “Tower of David”
Torre de David (The Tower of David) named after David Brillembourg, the tower’s main investor who died in 1993 has been depicted as a haven for drug lords and assassins in the TV series Homeland, lauded as an experiment in social empowerment at the Venice Architecture Biennale and featured in countless articles and documentaries around the world. In May 2014, the tower was also featured in the BBC World News documentary, Our World.
For eight years, the Tower of David a half-built skyscraper in downtown Caracas the capital of Venezuela. was home to thousands of squatters who transformed the abandoned block into a ghetto complete with grocery shops, tattoo parlours, internet cafes and a hair salon.
Construction of the tower began in 1990 but was halted in 1994 due to the Venezuelan banking crisis. As of 2016, the building remains incomplete.
This vertical ghetto can be seen from almost every corner of this densely populated capital.
In 2014 Ernesto Villegas, the minister for the revolutionary transformation of greater Caracas, said all the tower’s residents would be relocated to “dignified homes”. “This is not an eviction, but rather a relocation,” he told reporters. Villegas said several children had fallen to their deaths from the tower, which in some places is lacking walls or windows.
The newspaper Tal Cual reported that Chinese banks were interested in buying the tower and renovating it for its original use.
3. Mothballed Oil Rig
Oil rigs definitely fall into the mega category when it comes to size.You might think of them more as structures than machines. The rig above is a accomodation platform rather than an oil drilling rig, re-built in Belfast in the late 1990s. Mothballed as opposed to completely abandoned, the rig stands alongside the derelict area of the old Harland and Wolff shipyard.
Today modern redevelopment is breathing new life.
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5. Project Babylon
Project Babylon: The Story of Saddam’s Supergun
Project Babylon was a project with unknown objectives commissioned by the then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to build a series of “superguns”. The Iraqi government engaged world-renowned artillery expert Gerald V. Bul whose lifetime obsession was a the construction of a “Supergun,”. The design was based on research from the 1960s Project HARP,
In early April 1990, United Kingdom customs officers confiscated several pieces of the second Big Babylon barrel, which were supposedly disguised as “petrochemical pressure vessels”. Components, such as slide bearings for Big Babylon, were seized at their manufacturers’ sites in Spain and Switzerland. After the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq confirmed the existence of Project Babylon, and permitted U.N. inspectors to destroy the hardware. A section seized by UK customs officers is on display at The Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich, London.
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a World Heritage Site and has been visited by the Pope. Inspired by Gaudí’s vision, and funded almost exclusively by the millions of tourists who flock to it every year, today, the Sagrada Família is more than halfway done, with a estimated completion date of 2026. The lead architect is confident that it will be finished “ within the next century.
It’s one of the most famous and beautiful churches in the world and is by all accounts an architectural masterpiece, however, it’s never actually been completed. Westminster Cathedral must also be one of the busiest churches in the United Kingdom.
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Work is still ongoing, supposedly. Work began in 1895, but apparently it’s been too expensive to finish decorating the mother church of literally all of England and Wales. However, the unfinished internal brickwork is amazing.
Westminster Cathedral is the architectural master-work of John Francis Bentley (1839-1902). Bentley was a Victorian church architect of great accomplishments. It was to buildings such as Hagia Sophia, San Vitale in Ravenna and St Mark’s, Venice, that Bentley turned to for inspiration to prepare himself mentally and spiritually for the work of designing the Cathedral in 1894.
The whole building, in the neo-Byzantine style, covers an floor area of about 5,017 square metres (54,000 sq ft); the dominating factor of the scheme, apart from the campanile, being a spacious and uninterrupted nave, 18 metres (59 ft), covered with domical vaulting.