Deceptively Reflective: 12 Mirrored Buildings Trick the Eye


[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

mirror buildings ring lapierre 3

Intentionally fooling the eye to either completely disorient you or focus your vision on a certain part of a scene, these mirrored buildings reflect their surroundings, often seeming to disappear entirely when viewed from certain angles. Hopefully, all of these deceptive reflective surfaces aren’t killing too many birds.

Reflective Roadside Cafe
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mirror buildings roadside cafe 2

The branches of an adjacent row of cherry trees are multiplied many times over in the polished mirrored surfaces of this roadside cafe by japanese firm Bandesign. The trees are a tourist draw during bloom season, so putting the focus on them helps draw in business for the cafe owners.

Chateau de Rentilly: Mirror-Clad French Country House
mirror buildings chateau 1

mirror buildings chateau 2

Mirrored panels completely transform a 1960s country house, Le Château de Rentilly, in the French countryside. Architecture studio Bona-LeMercier worked with artist Xavier Veilhan and set designer Alexis Bertrand to enhance the structure itself and also put the focus on the picturesque hillside setting. The former home is now a permanent gallery for Frac Île-de-France, the region’s contemporary art fund.

Invisible Barn

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A combination of see-through portals and mirrored surfaces make this structure seem like a mirage as you approach the little park in which it stands. Designed for the 2014 Folly Competition, the mirrored barn isn’t actually a three-dimensional structure but rather a house-shaped wall.

Optical Illusion Street Facade Art

mirror buildings street facade 1

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Ordinary passersby suddenly become talented acrobats when they interact with ‘Bâtiment,’ an installation by Leandro Erlich on display at Le 14 in paris as part of the In_Perceptions exhibition. The project added a massive mirror to the vertical facade of a real building, reflecting a fake facade that was applied to the sidewalk in front of it. The result is a fun optical illusion that made participants appear to defy gravity.

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Radiocative Chernobyl: New Aerial Drone Footage of ‘The Zone’


[ By WebUrbanist in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

gif rezided

Satellite images and pictures from the ground tell a limited story of one of the world’s most dangerous abandoned places – this flyover footage fills in the gaps, covering the 20-mile nuclear wasteland with uncannily captivating footage.

Postcards from Pripyat was filmed by Danny Cooke on a trip to Ukraine as part of a 60 Minutes story aired on CBS about the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear incident and ongoing efforts to cap the remains of the reactor. Of his adventure, he recounts: “During my stay, I met so many amazing people, one of whom was my guide Yevgen, also known as a ‘Stalker’. We spent the week together exploring Chernobyl and the nearby abandoned city of Pripyat. There was something serene, yet highly disturbing about this place. Time has stood still and there are memories of past happenings floating around us.”

chernobyl from above

abandoned waterfront

abandoned ferris wheel

The incident turned Pripyat from a city of 50,000 into a ghost town overnight, and that was just the beginning – fallout spread to neighboring countries and continues to leak out locally. Residents were told to evacuate but that they could return within a few days – a promise that could not be kept. Mice in the area have been recorded as having 10,000 times more radioactivity than normal rodents.

abandoned interior

abandoned pripyat


Today, the focus is on containing the problem. “With funds from over 40 different countries, 1,400 workers are building a giant arch to cover the damaged reactor. It will be taller than the Statue of Liberty and wider than Yankee Stadium — the largest movable structure on Earth. Until the arch finally seals up that stricken reactor, and no one knows when that might be, something like that could happen again. Unlike other historic relics, Chernobyl does not belong to the past; its power will never die. Chernobyl is forever.”

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24 Global Tales of Ghost Towns and Abandoned Cities

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Exclucity: Unique GoPro Footage of Pyongyang, North Korea

Notoriously restrictive of the media, the North Korean government surprisingly granted the request of an outsider seeking to shoot a virtually unprecedented ... Click Here to Read More »»

No Child Left: 10 Eerie Abandoned Daycare Centers

Won't somebody please care for the children? Sorry, Helen Lovejoys of the world, these 10 eerie abandoned daycare centers just don't care any more. Click Here to Read More »»

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Racked: 10 Abandoned Pool, Billiard & Snooker Parlors


[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

No doubt these abandoned billiard parlors & snooker halls are in trouble… trouble with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for pool!



The Thien Tien pool hall in Inala, Australia may have had a “grand” opening but it seems the good times didn’t last for long. Flickr user Feeeeeeee (burntfeather) photo-documented both the inside and the outside of the now-decrepit snooker hall on October 28th of 2012 and by the looks of it, vandals and graffiti artists have had plenty of time to rack, er, wreck the facility.



Inala, a suburb of Brisbane in Queensland, was established after the Second World War in response to a severe housing crisis. Homes and accompanying commercial/recreational buildings were constructed of local materials and reinforced concrete, which in the case of the Thien Tien pool hall resulted in some very attractive buildings. It’s a pity the vibrant, multicultural population of today’s Inala isn’t able to relaunch or repurpose this cool abandoned pool hall.


You’d have to go to George Costanza’s old bedroom at his parents’ house in Queens to find a pool parlor smaller than Scott’s Pool Hall in Middlegrove, Illinois. The image above is part of DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern. Perhaps the copious clouds of cigarette smoke emitted by countless pool sharks over the decades turned Scott’s into a Superfund site.


pool hall, Bodie State Park

Check out these timeless shots of the abandoned Wheaton and Hollis Hotel & Pool Hall in Bodie, California – and dig that funky pool table! We say “timeless” because like most of Bodie’s buildings, the pool hall remains in a state of semi-suspended animation since the Mono County town officially became Bodie State Historic Park in 1962.


According to the photographer, Flickr user, this is a single-table “pool room” on board an abandoned Russian ship. Presumably the table was equipped with a sophisticated gyroscopic balance system or games were only played when the waters were mirror-calm.

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Shop in a Swimming Pool: Neglected Space Turned into a Store


[ By Steph in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

swimming pool store aoyama 1

Until recently, this indoor swimming pool on the vacant ground floor of a 1970s apartment building in Tokyo was just an empty space, dry and disused for years. Now it’s a pop-up shop by Nobuo Araki known as ‘The Pool Aoyama‘ hawking clothing, accessories and swim-themed promotional items. The designers left the pool almost entirely intact, installing a glass floor that mimics the look of water.

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The shell of the abandoned pool and its steel ladder have become key elements of the final design, with the pool walls defining the space of the shop. Wooden stairs on either side of the pool meet to create a sort of bridge across the glass. White shelving units are mounted along the edges to display goods, and U-shaped stainless steel clothing racks hanging from the ceiling echo the look of pool hand rails.

swimming pool store aoyama 2

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The designers were drawn to the soft light, charm and quirkiness of the space, and the shallow depth of the pool lends itself well for adaptation into a showroom. A newly installed glass ceiling floods the room with natural light, and the bathrooms were turned into fitting rooms.

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Entering the shop feels a bit like gaining access to a secret underground space that few are savvy to, as the door is simply marked with an inconspicuous sign reading ‘The Pool.’

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Waste Not: 1890s Urinal Turned into a Sandwich Shop

A Victorian-era underground restroom that had been abandoned since the 1960s has been renovated into a restaurant, with cafe seating in the former urinals. Click Here to Read More »»

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Vertical City Farming: Undulating Mixed-Use Urban Community


[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

urban farming city concept

Designed to provide a spaces for public gardening as well as senior living, this hybrid complex has a rich array of green roofs, terraces and facades allowing for locally-grown produce as well as civic interaction.

urban farm terrace plan

urban farm gardening community

Responding to the fact that by 2030 a full 20% of Singapore’s population will be retirement-aged, SPARK Architects sought to address high-density housing, sustainable architecture and urban agriculture in this complex.

urban farm design concept

urban farm walkway singapore

The layered concept involves ground-level farms and gardens open to the citizenry as well as individual, upper-level plots that retired persons can work at their leisure.

urban farming design section

urban farming aquaponics module

urban farming design diagram

Further, “the environmental sustainability and efficiency of ‘Home Farm’ [is] enhanced by proposed features such as the collection of rainwater, for use in aquaponic systems, and the use of plant waste for energy production.”

urban farm ground floor

urban farm undulating form

The curvilinear master plan provides maximum sun exposure and variegated views throughout the complex, encouraging residents to walk around to exercise, interact with neighbors and experience a diverse set of internal and city views.

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3D City Farms: 5 Urban Design Proposals for Green Towers

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Built for Bond: 10 Impossibly Luxurious Spy-Inspired Designs


[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

James Bond Boat House large

Over the past half-century, the James Bond movie franchise has inspired countless suits, man caves and cheesy spy gadgets, but it has also led designers and architects to create some pretty incredible luxury yachts, jets, houses and accessories. There’s even a fan-designed laser watch that can light a match from across a room.

James Bond Aston Martin – Spectre

James Bond Aston Martin 1

James Bond Aston Martin 2

The luxury vehicle maker Aston Martin has been collaborating with the James Bond movie franchise for half a century, and recently unveiled its latest model, ‘DB10,’ for the upcoming ‘Spectre’ film. The British carmaker has designed a car for each of the 24 movies, but this one was developed under close watch of director Sam Mendes in order to create ‘Bond’s ultimate vehicle.’

James Bond-Inspired Boathouse Built Over a Cave

James Bond Cave House 1

James Bond Cave House 2

James Bond Cave House 3

McKenzie Strickland Associates essentially designed the Balnearn Boathouse, located on the shore of Loch Tay, after a James Bond movie marathon, envisioning a house that looks deceptively small and simple (if beautiful) from land, but boasting a fun secret. The home was built over an artificial cave that’s invisible from shore, so a speedboat can be driven in and tethered to the ceiling.

Futuristic Avro Business Jet by Design Q

James Bond Avro Business Jet 1

James Bond Avro Business jet 2

Futuristic aircraft designer Design Q has proposed a luxurious jet called the Avro Business Jet, an airplane “that James Bond would have loved.” Named for the character of ‘Q,’ who designs all of the cool gadgets hidden in everyday objects in the films, the jet is designed “to appeal to dynamic and forward-thinking owners who live life in the fast lane; the interior is bristling with technology and gadgets that are discretely concealed in the hand-crafted furnishings but available at a moment’s notice.”

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Lowline NYC: World’s First Underground Park Slated for 2018


[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

lowline prototype rendering

Using fiber optics as “remote skylights” to pipe illumination down from the surface, this bold plan aims to transform a century-old trolley station into a bright and green subterranean park. New York City is a natural candidate, having already inspired rail-related and elevated parks around the world with its innovative High Line Park.

the low line diagram

the lowline abandoned station

Located beneath Delancey Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal is adjacent to active lines but has itself been abandoned for over 50 years. Proposed as the site of the Lowline, the space is being vetted for structural feasibility as well as civic funding – discussions with the MTA as well as the city are ongoing and progressing.

lowline test area subterranean

lowline installation prototype mockup

lowline light collector demo

As shown above and below, the group behind the project is already working with the city on prototypes that demonstrate the technologies to be deployed on the target site, including illumination levels and interaction with greenery.

lowline surface generated solar

lowline real life test

Boasting 20-foot ceilings and multiple blocks of open space, the dilapidated station still has a lot of deserted-place charm including old cobblestones, trail tracks, vaulted ceilings and vintage signage.

lowline technology lights plants

lowline conept design

lowline rendering

Much of this will be preserved, rehabilitated and otherwise highlighted in the renovation, creating a balance between new design, urban exploration and historic context. “To explore our vision in greater detail, we commissioned a preliminary planning study in 2012 with Arup, the global engineering firm, and HR&A Advisors, the leading consultant behind the High Line. The study concluded that the Lowline was not merely technically feasible, but would also vastly improve the local economy and the adjacent transit hub. Once built, the Lowline would be a dynamic cultural space, featuring a diversity of cultural programming, youth activities, and popular retail.”

underground solar collection stratregy

lowline tree underground

lowline conceptual design phase

The ingenious sun-redirecting technology has already been tested, and works as follows: “Designed by James Ramsey of Raad Studio, the proposed solar technology involves the creation of a “remote skylight.” In this approach, sunlight passes through a glass shield above the parabolic collector, and is reflected and gathered at one focal point, and directed underground. Sunlight is transmitted onto a reflective surface on the distributor dish underground, transmitting that sunlight into the space. This technology would transmit the necessary wavelengths of light to support photosynthesis, enabling plants and trees to grow. During periods of sunlight, electricity would not be necessary to light the space.”

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Outcast Checkpoints: 8 Abandoned Border Crossings of Europe


[ By WebUrbanist in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

crossroad border abandoned places

Nearly two decades ago even short trips across Europe could involve multiple stations, guards, lines and stamps, but the open-border policies in effect today have transformed many of these once-busy hubs into miniature ghost towns.

deserted fancy border cross

Photographer Ignacio Evangelista has been traveling European highways and documenting the leftovers of stations found at national borders along the way, often found in various states of abandonment and disrepair.

deserted german border crossing

Without the choke points created by checkpoints, much of the commerce (including illicit activities like gambling and prostitution) surrounding these boundaries has dissipated.

deserted czech republic border

Still, instead of wiping the slates clean, most countries seem to have left the infrastructure that was there largely intact, ranging from painted road signs telling people to stop to small empty toll booths on rural roads and entire immigration-related structures alongside major freeways.

deserted street stop sign

Of his work on this series, the photographer writes: “Border crossings have a function of geographical boundaries, but also an coercitive role, since they prevent the free passage of people between one and another state. So, they are places that, along with a cartographic dimension, are provided with historical, economic and political reminiscences.”

deserted immigration booth stop

Over time, however, “these old border crossing points are slowly disappearing; some are renovated and reconverted to new uses, some are destroyed for vandals, and some other just fall down due to the passing of time. So, after some few years there will be no possibility to look at this strong signs and symbols of the recent European history.”

deserted border marked creepy

“When I am at the border point, I am confronted with all kinds of signs and barriers which at some point have regulated movements, itineraries, and behaviors,” Evangelista told CityLab. “Now they appear absurd and out of context.”

deserted border covered rroad

CityLab puts the transition and photo series in cultural and political context: “Despite the irrationality sometimes associated with national borders, the Schengen Treaty is as much an anomaly as it is an achievement. Many nations within the Schengen Area—Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain, France, and others—once represented a web of ambitious empires. The sudden abandonment of border crossings displayed in Evangelista’s work, therefore, offers a reminder that Europe is in fact enjoying an historic era of peace.”

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Wax Off: 12 More Abandoned & Closed Car Washes


[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

Abandoned car washes are oddly abundant – you’d think they invented the self-cleaning car! Here are 12 more car-less washes left high, dry and brushed-off.




This opening quartet of images depict a VERY dry-looking abandoned car wash located on Hempstead Rd. – that’s all Flickr user Edna J Sandoval is stating and that’s fine with us. Why give vandals, graffiti-artists and possibly even arsonists (more on that later) a gift-wrapped invitation to destroy somebody else’s property? Sandoval snapped a dozen choice views of the unnamed car wash on May 9th of 2011.

Wash Out


Flickr user Wayne Wilkinson (wayne’s eye view) applied some freaky faux-lomography processing to this photo of an lonely abandoned car wash taken in June of 2012. While many photos of abandoned buildings and businesses stand on their own when it comes to evoking a certain atmosphere, skillful image processing can enhance the emotional content to near-palpable levels.

Yet Another BP Disaster



At least no wildlife was made to suffer when operators of a Mobil/BP petrol station near the Bramham Crossroads, North Yorkshire, UK decided to close and abandon its Wesumat Soft Wash W86.1 car wash system. Credit Flickr user AquaValet with this pair of strikingly gloomy yet inexplicably beautiful images of the car wash as it looked on October 1st of 2009. “The petrol station is in a fairly rural location and not fenced off at all,” explains AquaValet. “Inside the actual wash bay I had to be careful not to fall down the sludge pit, which was full of nasty fluids.” BP… bringing you nasty fluids since 1908.

Home For The Homeless


Lone Star Auto on Broadway St. in San Antonio, TX has been abandoned since December of 2009 according to The Sample Spoon. In the above image taken in mid-April of 2012, it can be seen that some life does stir amid the stilled brushes and congealed wax at the ex-business’s car wash as local homeless folks have taken advantage of the structure’s protective overhang and plentiful hooks and shelves.

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