On the verge of extinction – 2

continued from Part 1, which you can read here : On the verge of extinction


(13) HASANKEYF, Turkey : This ancient town along the River Tigris has a history that stretches back 1000s of years, but that might come to an end in 2015, with the completion of a dam that will likely flood it, affecting about 50,000 people.  Controversy around the project and loss of International funding have deterred Turkey from continuing construction, with the promise that artefacts will be re-located and the townsfolk compensated.


(14) BATTERSEA POWER STATION, London :  The area surrounding one of London’s most “iconic” buildings, is now a construction site of 1,300 apartments, a hotel and 350,000 sq.ft of retail and restaurant space.  The chimneys of the power station are currently being demolished and replaced..  Even though the developers must respect the building’s status as being of special architectural or historic interest, Grade 11*, new high-rise blocks will soon obscure some of the most dramatic views of the station.

Machiya House Japan

(15)  MACHIYA HOUSES, Tokyo : The oldest among these traditional townhouses date back to the 17th century, but they are disappearing rapidly to make space for modern buildings. : their maintenance is difficult and construction of new ones has been prohibited since the end of World War -2.  After the World Monuments Fund put them on its “watch list”, a private company has started refurbishing some of them as “tourist accommodation”.


(16) PICASSO MURALS, Oslo :  Picasso’s first attempt at concrete murals adorn the walls of 2 government buildings in Oslo, called H-Block and Y-Block.  Both were heavily damaged during the ANDERS BREIVIK bombings in 2011, and, given the high cost of repairs —- estimated to be $70million —- a proposal has been made to demolish them and re-locate the murals.  But the public opinion is divided, as the artwork was designed specifically for these buildings.

Robinhood Gardens London

(17) ROBIN HOOD GARDENS, London :  This “streets in the sky” housing estate, in East London, is yet another example of British BRUTALIST architecture in Britain.  Demolition has already started at the site with a “last-ditch bid” on-going to stop it.  Previous attempts to get the structure listed as a “historical landmark” have failed, notwithstanding the support from several famed architects, including ZAHA HADID.


(18) ISLAND OF MOZAMBIQUE :  A unique blend of Portuguese influence and local architecture has granted the inclusion of this fortified city on UNESCO’S World Heritage List in 1991.  After destruction caused by a typhoon in 1994, it was also included in the World Monument Fund’s “watch list”, a warning confirmed last year due to new threats from an anticipated growth in tourism and the necessity for a sensible conservation plan.

Portland public services building

(19) PORTLAND PUBLIC SERVICES BUILDING, Portland, USA : This 15-storey municipal office block was completed in 1982, but due to structural problems, it already needs renovations to the tune of $175million.  An early example of “post-Modernism” in a major city, it attracts diverging opinions, with many supporting its proposed demolition to make space for something new entirely.  Yet, in 2011, it was included in the US National Register of Historic Places.

Little Green Street

(20) LITTLE GREEN STREET, Kentish town, London : Immortalized by the KINKS in their 1966 video for the song DEAD END STREET, this is one of London’s few “intact Georgian streets” –It hasn’t changed much since 1780.  The dozen houses in the cobblestoned thoroughfare are protected historical buildings, but the land behind them is sought after by developers to build a new “gated complex”, which would turn the delicate 2.5-metre-wide street into a “truck route”.


(21) POMPEII, Italy :  This world-famous Roman site is slowly crumbling to pieces : rainstorms have become harbingers of destruction as water has never been drained properly and the soil is now highly unstable.  With 3 distinct walls and an entire building coming down in just the last 5yrs, Italy’s UNESCO Commissioner has recently declared that “Pompeii is destined to collapse entirely”.


(22) PRESTON BUS STATION, Lancashire :  Opened in 1969, the massive bus station in the Northern England city of Preston, is an “iconic” example of BRUTALISM, a movement named after the materials, not the aesthetics —— it originates from the French —- BETON BRUT or RAW CONCRETE.  Avoiding demolition in 2013, the building is now the subject of an international competition to turn it into a YOUTH CENTRE.


(23) MELNIKOV HOUSE, Moscow : Designed by famed Russian avant-garde architect —————- Konstantin Melkinov —– this iconic “cylindrical” building, finished in 1929, was for long his private residence and stands in stark contrast with traditional Soviet structures.  Now inhabited by the designer’s grand-daughter, it is risk of collapse due to excavation works for a nearby underground parking lot, which have already caused cracks in the structure.


(24) ROYAL PALACE at CASERTA, Italy : The “world’s largest palace” (by volume) ——- over 2million cubic metres ——- this 18th century UNESCO HERITAGE SITE was commissioned by Bourbon King Charles — 111, to rival France’s Versailles.  It has appeared in STAR WARS and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE films.  But the structure has faced chronic neglect : a roof section collapsed in 2014 and renovation plans have been slowed down by bureaucracy.

House of Wonders

(25) HOUSE OF WONDERS, Zanzibar :  In 1883, when it was built, this was one of the most modern buildings in East Africa : the 1st to have electricity and an elevator.  Situated in STONE TOWN, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, it is today a museum of Swahili culture, but work needs to be done to preserve its structural integrity, after a corner of the structure collapsed in 2012.

Go see these magnificent and iconic structures ——- before it’s too late :  threatened by neglect, the elements, changing architectural trends or ruthless developers, they are all FIGHTING A HARD BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL.

———— Jacopo Prisco (CNN)


4 thoughts on “On the verge of extinction – 2

  1. Pingback: On the verge of extinction – 2 | oshriradhekrishnabole

  2. Pingback: On the verge of extinction – 2 | oshriradhekrishnabole

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