As the saying goes – they probably seemed like good ideas at the time. The world is peppered with examples of incredible engineering projects and buildings designed to make life easier for those that used them, amaze those that came to see them, and make money for those that ordered, designed and built them. They were the stuff of dreams. Often enormous engineering problems had to be resolved, obstacles overcome and new innovations employed just to get them built in the first place. Alas, a great number of these remarkable structures have now been abandoned, cast aside like enormous expensive out-of-date toys, never to be used in the ways for which they were intended. Each and every one of these extraordinary places is home to a wealth of powerful and compelling stories. We’ll see and hear about some of the most spectacular examples of abandoned engineering the world has ever known. We’ll show how and why they were built, consider the financial and social costs of their failure and examine the environmental and ecological impacts. And just when it seems that the engineering follies and disasters are going to leave behind monstrosities that will blight us forever, some very clever people come up with a plan to make something beautiful or useful from the ruins. Look no further than the Nazi ‘Holiday Camp’ in Prora Germany, New York’s High Line, the SS Oriskany in Florida and the Foreshore Freeway, Cape Town South Africa – all abandoned and seemingly useless constructions that have been given new vibrant leases of life.
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