Captured: The Ruins of Detroit


Up and down Detroit’s streets, buildings stand abandoned and in ruin. French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre set out to document the decline of an American city. Their book “The Ruins of Detroit“, a document of decaying buildings frozen in time, was published in December 2010.

From the photographers’ website:

Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.

The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires. This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time : being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things.

Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state.

Michigan Central Station

Michigan Central Station

18th floor dentist cabinet, David Broderick Tower

United Artists Theater

United Artists Theater

Ballroom, American Hotel

Ballroom, American Hotel

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The Taj Mahal – In Bangladesh?


Wealthy movie director Ahsanullah Moni has built in 5 years what it took the Mugal Emperor Shah Jahan 20 years to build in the 1600s, The Taj Mahal.  Moni’s replica is located about 20 miles northeast of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.  With a pricetag of approximately £38M ($56.8 M USD) Moni has has imported marble and granite from Italy, diamonds from Belgium and used 160kg of bronze for the dome.

The Indians are not pleased at Moni’s replica of the Taj Mahal and are hoping to sue for copyright infringement.

Via Sky News. Video from Reuters.  More information and pictures can be found here.

UK – 35 acre underground Cold War city


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There is a 35 acre, secret subterranean Cold War city (code named Burlington) 100 feet beneath Corsham, in the city of Wiltshire, UK.

Built in the late 50s, this massive city complex (a interactive map here) was designed to safely house up to 4,000 central Government personnel in the event of a nuclear strike.

Located in a former Bath stone quarry the city was to be the site of the UK’s main Emergency Government War Headquarters – the hub of the Country’s alternative seat of power outside London.

Over a kilometer in length, this city has over 60 miles of roads. Blast proof (for weapons of that time) and completely self-sufficient the secret underground site could accommodate up to 4,000 people, in complete isolation from the outside world, for up to three months.

Although never actually used, the New York grid-style city of roads and avenues was equipped with all the facilities needed to survive. From underground hospitals, canteens, kitchens and laundries to storerooms of supplies, accommodation areas and offices.

This underground city was finally decommissioned in December 2004.

Skyscrapers – Burj Al Arab


Once a tranquil town, Dubai has transformed itself into a quintessential home of sand, sun, skyscrapers and shopping.  Today skyscrapers stand alongside the mosques and wind towers of Old Dubai.

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The Burj al-Arab (Arabic: برج العرب, “Tower of the Arabs”) is a luxury hotel in Dubai, the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates.  Designed by Tom Wright of WS Atkins PLC, it rises to 321 m (1053 feet) and is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel.  It stands on an artificial island 280 m (919 feet) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge.

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Designed to resemble the billowing sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel, the Burj Al Arab dominates the Dubai coastline.  At night, it offers an unforgettable sight, surrounded by choreographed colour sculptures of water and fire.

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The interior of the hotel is dominated by a massive atrium formed between the V shaped structure and its fabric sail, the tallest lobby in the world. The atrium takes up over one-third of interior space, and is over 182 m (597 feet) tall.

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Other features include a helipad, suspended near the top of the building, and a restaurant called Al Muntaha, (Arabic meaning “Highest” or “Ultimate”), which is 200 m (656 feet) high and supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 m (89 feet ) from either side of the mast.

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The hotel boasts 8,000 square meters (26,247 square feet) of 22-carat gold leaf and 24,000 square meters (78,740 square feet) of 30 different types of marble.

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Despite its size, the building holds only 28 two-story floors with 202 bedroom suites.  Every guest room is actually a duplex suite. The cost of staying in a suite begins at $1,000 per night and increases to over $15,000 per night; the Royal Suite is the most expensive, at $28,000 per night.  The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 square metres (1,819 square feet), and the largest one covers 780 square metres (8,396 square feet).  It is certainly one of the most expensive hotels in the world to stay in.

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Currently, the Burj Al Arab is the fifteenth tallest building in Dubai, however with the building spree the United Arab Emirates is on, that number is sure to change in the future.

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