6 popular abandoned buildings
Whilst many abandoned buildings and sites have become popular tourist venues, there are hundreds of buildings, sites and islands waiting to be rebuilt and restored around the world. We look at six buildings which have become derelict but would provide further joy to the public.
1. Kolmanskop, Namibia
Situated 10km from Lüderitz, Kolmanskop was once a prosperous town as a result of the diamond boom in the 20th century, becoming a main site for mining precious finds.
After the First World War the town deteriorated with the uncovering of further diamond locations, alongside the crash of diamond prices. The last residents left the area in the 1950s.
Now a renowned tourist destination, Kolmanskop has become a ghost town where all buildings have succumbed to the desert, with a museum developed by De Beers at its centre.
2. The Abandoned City Hall Subway Station, New York
Opening in 1904, the City Hall Subway Station was the first subway station to be built in New York. However, it closed in 1945 due to being unable to cater for the increased demand and was overtaken by the more popular Brooklyn Bridge Subway Station.
Now only accessible through a guided tour, it is already fully booked for 2016 and has become an iconic landmark within New York.
3. Hashima Island, Japan
Standing at 6.3 hectares, Hashima Island is one of the most iconic abandoned islands, with derelict buildings which still contain personal belongings of its past citizens.
Once famous for coal mining under Mitsubishi with a population of over 5,000, the company built concrete apartments in addition to extracting coal from sea mines until its closure in 1974.
Now under Nagaski city, the island is popular with tourists and is now known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also famously seen in the James Bond film Skyfall in 2012.
4. Beelitz Military Hospital, Germany
Beelitz Military Hospital has a dark past, and its abandoned state makes it all the more unsettling. Although part of the hospital is still used for rehabilitation, the majority of the building has been sectioned off and remains derelict.
Built in 1898 and used as a hospital in the First and Second World Wars, the hospital is famous for treating Adolf Hitler and injured Nazi’s It was also used by the Soviet Military until 1994.
5. Miranda Castle, Belgium
Built by architect Edward Milner in 1866, Miranda Castle has remained abandoned since 1991.
The castle was previously occupied by the Nazis, but has also been an orphanage and holiday camp for unwell children.
It has succumbed to a fire in the 1990s amongst raging storms, but will hopefully be restored to its former glory.
6. Lake Dolores Waterpark, California
Opening in 1962, Lake Dolores Waterpark now lies in disrepair, but is visited by tourists who wish to view the waterpark that once was.
Situated near the Mojave Desert, the waterpark has been closed since 2004. The attractions and slides once iconic to the waterpark are now gone and the site is in tatters, falling victim to vandals and individuals who have sought to steal vital parts for other potential projects.
Read the August 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
Research reveals 164% rise in searches for loft conversions
Market research conducted by building supply specialist Insulation4Less has revealed that searches for ‘Loft Conversions’ rose by a staggering 164% between May and June of this year, while searches for ‘Loft Conversion Ideas’ jumped by 186% as people spend more time on home renovations this summer.
The company also found that the most popular use for a loft conversion is for an additional bedroom, while an extra bathroom was the second-highest search term. Walk-in wardrobes came in third, beating out a home office in fourth while converting a loft into a home cinema round off the top five.
According to a recent study, a loft conversion can add roughly 20% to the value of a property. With the average UK house price standing at £267,000 in January 2021, this represents an average increase in value of more than £53,400.
Johnpaul Manning, Managing Director of Insulation4Less, said: “If the last year has taught us anything, it's that having space is essential to our mental health and wellbeing, so it's no surprise that people are taking the time to focus on home improvements to help them make the most of their home.
As one of the most under-utilised areas in any property, loft conversions represent a great opportunity to maximise the use of space that not only improves quality of life but also has the capacity to add value to the home”, he said.
Manning added that it's important to remember that a loft conversion isn't just your average DIY project, and should never be done on the spur of the moment. “A significant amount of planning needs to happen to make it a reality, and an understanding that life can be disrupted while the build is taking place.
“While it's definitely a worthwhile project, I'd recommend that anyone considering a loft conversion should do some in-depth research to really understand what's needed to make it a reality”, Manning said.
Is Your Loft Suitable For a Conversion?
While loft conversions do look amazing and add an extra element to a property, not all homes may be suitable. Insulation4Less says that this is due to a variety of factors.
“It's important to make sure that your roof is structurally sound enough to handle a conversion”, the company said. Although there are different types of roof structures, they mostly fall into two distinct categories: a traditional roof, and a trussed roof.
A traditional roof: was typically found in pre-1960s houses. Rafters on traditional roofs run along its edges, leaving a good amount of free space. However, they might still need new or extra support. Trussed roofs, on the other hand, have ‘W’ shaped rafters that support the roof and the floor structure. Even though truss roofs may appear to be harder to convert, it’s not impossible; the ‘W’ shaped rafters can be replaced with an ‘A’ shape structure which creates a hollow space. While this can add additional costs, it could be a worthy investment, so take this into consideration during your planning process.
“Another thing to consider is the roof's height and pitch, and how that will impact the amount of space you’ll have. You’ll need a minimum height of 2.2m to ensure proper clearance. While you might be happy to settle for something a little shorter on paper, make sure your happy with the height you have and the effect it could have on the enjoyment of the space”, Insulation4Less advises.
The company recommends doing research before going to an architect or contractor. “Ultimately, look for other conversions on your street or in similar properties, and if you feel comfortable, ask if you can have a look and discuss how their project came together - you’ll find a wealth of information that could really help your own project in the future”.
Information credit: Insulation4Less.