5 Buildings That Were Never Finished

Sometimes architectural projects prove too cumbersome or costly and are left abandoned.
Sometimes architectural projects prove too cumbersome or costly and are left abandoned.

A construction work on some buildings may either be abandoned or put on hold at some stage of the building or a building may only exist as a design on paper. An unfinished building may also refer to a building under construction or whose construction work has progressed extremely slowly, taking years and sometimes even decades. Several buildings around the world have remained unfinished or partially completed. However, some of these buildings are in use even in their incomplete state. Some of the buildings were intentionally left with the unfinished appearance. Some of the buildings have been in a circle of perpetual construction with the building work taking as long as decades or centuries to complete. Construction work may be abandoned for several reasons including lack of financial resources to complete the building, civil unrest around the construction site, or disputes over the ownership.

5. Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle is currently a major tourist attraction in Upstate New York, United States. The castle is in the Heart Island which is part of the Town of Alexandria. The castle was a private mansion which was built by George Boldt for his family. George launched the campaign for the construction of the massive masonry structure in 1900 engaging the services of the G W&W D Hewitt architectural firm. The six-storey castle was meant as a present to his wife. However, the construction of the castle ceased indefinitely in early 1904 following the death of Boldt’s wife with George Boldt never returning to the Heart Island. The castle, together with other stone structures was left unattended and exposed to harsh weather for 73 years. The Thousand Island Bridge Authority acquired the island including the castle in 1977 with an agreement that all the proceeds from the castle operations would be used towards its restoration. The authority has carried out major restoration and improvement to the castle that has included modern innovation. First floor rooms are finished while the second floor to the top floor rooms remains unfinished. Today, the castle opens to the public seasonally between May and October and can be accessed by ferry or boat from Alexandria Bay.

4. Prora

Prora was intended to be a beach resort on Rugen Island, Germany. The building is known for its large Nazi-planned tourist structure build between 1936 and 1939. The eight identical buildings were never used for the intended purpose with none of the 10,000 rooms never put to use. Prora is located between Sassnitz and Binz regions and extends over 2.7 miles. The sandy beach was intended to provide adequate relaxation to tourists visiting the resort. Prora was designed to accommodate over 20,000 tourists and was designed by Clemens Klotz who was recognized by Adolf Hitler for the marvelous work. The rooms were intended to overlook the sea. Hitler wanted the building to be convertible into a military hospital in case of war. The construction of Prora began in 1936, but the construct was halted with the onset of World War II in 1939. A military base was set up at Prora in 1945 with the Soviet Army occupying the block 5. The German Democratic Republic took over the building after the German Reunification. Currently, four of the Prora buildings are being renovated while the fifth is being used as a youth hostel. The other three buildings are still in ruins.

3. Ryugyong Hotel

Ryugyong Hotel is 105-storey building in Pyongyang, North Korea. The unfinished pyramid-shaped building is also known as 105 building because of the number of floors it had and was intended for several uses including a hotel. At 1,080 feet tall, Ryugyong Hotel is a prominent feature of the Pyongyang skyline and also the tallest structure in North Korea. The construction of the building began in 1987 and was intended to be completed in 1989. However, the problems with building material delayed its completion. The construction was halted in 1992 as a result of the economic crisis which followed the fall of the Soviet Union. The work on the building resumed in April 2008 with an expectation that the hotel would be completed by 2012. However, the reopening of the hotel which was planned for mid-2013 was delayed with suspicion of economic risks and further delay on construction. The hotel remains unopened to date due to unclear reasons. Ryugyong Hotel remains the tallest unoccupied building in the world.

2. Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic Church building which is located in Barcelona and was was designed by Antoni Gaudi. Its construction work began in 1882 with Gaudi involved as the head architect from 1883. Gaudi combined Gothic, and Art Nouveau forms to transform the architectural and the engineering style from its original style. He devoted his life to the project until his death in 1926 when the building was less than 25% complete. The construction work progressed at snail pace since it relied on private donations and was also halted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Sections of the building were destroyed during the war. The construction work resumed in the 1950s with the building passing its mid-point 2010 with an anticipated completion pushed to 2026 during the centenary celebration of Gaudi’s death. Much of the reconstruction and development has disregarded Gaudi’s design leading to a protest in 2008 calling for respect to Gaudi’s original plan. Part of the Sagrada Familia is a World Heritage Site due to Gaudi’s creative architectural development on the building.

1. Szkieletor

Szkieletor is 0.06-mile high-rise building that is still undergoing construction. The building is located in Krakow, Poland and was initially designed to be the head office for the Main Technical Organization. The building of Szkieletor started in 1975 but was halted in 1981 due to the economic crisis and political unrest that was brought about by the imposition of the martial law in the country. The building which was known as Unity Tower now resembled a skeleton and was nicknamed “Skeletor” who was a celebrity in Poland at the time of its construction. Different companies and investors have expressed interest in taking over the building but have not been successful due to the legal status of the land on which Szkieletor stands and the high cost of renovation or demolition. The building has been made available for some of the largest advertisement around Poland. Currently, the building is under construction with the construction work expected to be completed by the end of 2017. However, it looks as if people may wait a bit longer to use the second tallest building in Poland after K1.


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