Take the Faculty of Architecture, a particularly lively and noisy place over four months ago. Now it feels cold and chilly. For months there hasn't been a move in the building. All doors and windows are closed. I look inside, and I hold my hand above my eyes, a light tension rages through my body. It’s hot outside, and I sit down on the floor in the faculty’s shadow, my focus is on the orange hall. Slowly, I disappear into my daydream. In my head, I start walking through the faculty. What is going on here?
With small steps, I walk through the long corridors and carefully look around me. Occasionally, I hear crackling, and my heart makes a little leap. I open a door and look around the corner. There is a model, On a black table in the corner, unfinished. Now and then, the glue is loosening because of the heat, and a stick falls. Will the owner get it back?
Luckily, it's cool in the shade here, the sunlight barely penetrating the surrounding trees. The same trees that were bare four months ago now are in full bloom thanks to the sun of the last months. I walk further to the model room. A thermometer is not necessary to know that trees do not surround this place: it’s too hot to breathe here... Longing for a little water, I open the tap of the toilets. At first, nothing happens, but after a while, a thick black sludge comes out. What is this?
Last year I stood here every hour filling my water bottle. During this activity, I often had a chat with my classmates. Now it is dead quiet here; you could hear a pin drop. The cozy noise of architecture is gone. When will it come back?
The bushes around the faculty are deserted. The gardener hasn't shown himself for weeks, and the branches are slowly bending towards the wall. Looking up, I see a wall of leaves scattered over the windows. Insects soon find their way between the overgrown bushes. I have to stand on my toes to catch a glimpse of the main entrance. Will there be a day when we can go back inside?
The above questions can only be answered in the future. Right now, because of the coronavirus, more buildings have become abandoned more ever. Abandoned buildings can be scary and fascinating at the same time. There are many photogenic abandoned buildings all over the world, each with their own story. Let your imagination flow, would the faculty be overgrown by plants after two years standing empty, or will it look like these five abandoned buildings. The following are the stories behind five abandoned buildings…
Land van Ooit, Drunen, Netherlands
Kloontje, the Giant Child, once stood at the head of the invented Land van Ooit. The inhabitants, the Ooiters, had their own currency and rules. Here, children were the bosses. For fifteen years, the giant amusement park in Drunen was a great success, but after financial setbacks, the park went bankrupt for the second time in 2007. Although the municipality of Heusden bought the area, the amusement park completely fell into disrepair. The Pink Castle stood disconsolate, the paths were overgrown and the Lazy Lakei, Sap the Earth Root, and the Soldiers of Napoleon were still preserved there smiling, with frightening stares. One of the most deserted places in the Netherlands is no longer there.
Swimming pool complex Tropicana, Rotterdam
Tropicana was put up for sale in 1990 and sold to a catering entrepreneur in 1993. Over the years, the new owner carried out renovations and adjustments which have modified the original concept. This caused financial problems. Besides, the swimming pool also suffered from a negative image, fuelled by stories about group rapes, brawls, and other naughty behaviours. Razors were also said to have been attached in various slides. The stories have never been proven, but the suspicion has not helped the image of the once-popular swimming pool any good.
Now, entrepreneurs are trying to make the best of it, and they have transformed it into an exclusive hospitality venue.
Beelitz-Heinstätten hospital, near Berlin, Germany
The history behind the Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital, 48 kilometres southwest of Berlin, is as scary as it looks. A worker's health insurance corporation designed this hospital complex of 60 buildings. In 1898, the doors opened as a sanatorium where patients were treated for lung diseases. During the First World War, it served as a military hospital of the Imperial German Army. In 1916, Adolf Hitler was admitted after he his leg was injured during The Battle of Somme. The Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital was later used again as a field hospital to treat wounded Nazis in the Second World War.
In September 2015, a 21-meter high platform called Baum und Zeit (Tree and Time) was opened. The purpose was to make the abandoned hospital complex more accessible to visitors. The platform hangs above the ground of Beelitz-Heinstätten and continues for about 213 meters.
Teufelsberg, Berlin, Germany
The Teufelsberg (literally ‘Devil's Mountain’) is not a natural hill, but a large, wooded garbage dump built from the rubble of the Second World War. During the Cold War, it was decided to use this 80-meter high artificial mountain as a base for an eavesdropping station. And so, in the 1950s, a handful of buildings and three iconic domes were built on top of the hill. From this strategic location in the heart of East Germany, it was possible to overhear up to 300 kilometres away. There were plans to build luxury apartments here, but it never came to be. Now, Teufelsberg is a creative breeding ground, with lots of art and graffiti on the buildings.
Château de Noisy, Celles, Belgium
This castle, built-in 1866 as a summer residence for the Liedekerke-Beaufort family, can be found in the Ardennes. It has had several uses over the years. For example, it was also known as Home de Noisy when it still served as an orphanage.
Now, many years later, nature has slowly but absolutely taken the building under its power. Since 1991 the castle has been empty and has fallen into disrepair, so now it looks more and more like a haunted place. Even though the municipality of Celles has already made several bids to buy the castle and the land, the family does not want to give them up.
After this inventory of buildings, I hope there will be various scenarios in your head about what could happen to the faculty, which will allow you to add a story to the faculty building. But of course, we hope that all these scenarios won't be true. And that we can harmlessly speak of an urban legend…