Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Communist era bunkers in Albania

During the 40-year Communist leadership of Enver Hoxha, more than 700,000 bunkers were built across Albania. Beginning in 1967 and continuing until 1986, the Albanian government carried out a policy of "bunkerisation" that resulted to 1 bunker to be built for every 4 citizens.

The bunkers were built in literally every possible location ranging from "beaches and mountains, in vineyards and pastures, in villages and towns, even on the manicured lawns of Albania's best hotel". They were constructed from concrete, steel and iron and their common type is that of a small concrete dome set into the ground with a circular bottom extending downwards, just large enough for one or two people to stand inside.

Bunker construction stopped shortly after Hoxha's death in 1985 but today thousands of them still dominate the Albanian landscape. Although they never served their purpose during Hoxha's rule, bunkers were used to temporary shelter Kosovo Albanian refugees during the 1999 Kosovo war. From the 90's and onwards bunkers have often been used as houses. There have been various suggestions for what to do with them: ideas have included pizza ovens, solar heaters, beehives, mushroom farms, projection rooms for drive-in cinemas, beach huts, flower planters, youth hostels and kiosks.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

BBC Television Centre: The end of an era

For more than 50 years, BBC Television Centre in West London has been the headquarters of BBC Television. Some of the best known BBC productions have been filmed in its studios, including Fawlty Towers, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Doctor Who, and most of the BBC drama series.

During the last decades, TV Centre has also been the headquarters of BBC News, housing the department's central newsroom as well as the studios for BBC News and BBC World News tv channels and other tv and radio news bulletins.

BBC TV Centre opened its doors in 1960, after 10 years of planning and construction. From the air, the overall design has the shape of a question mark. The studios, offices, engineering areas and the News Centre are built around a central circular plaza with the statue of of Helios, the Greek god of the sun in its centre, symbolizing the radiation of television around the world. Its studios are of various sizes and Studio 1 with a surface of 995 square metres (10,250 ft²), is currently the 4th largest studio in the UK.

In 2009, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport decided to list at Grade II parts of the building, due to their architectural and historic interest.

In 2007, BBC announced that it will sell the Television Centre and relocate its staff to the New Broadcasting House in central London as well as to MediaCityUK in Salford, near Manchester. The relocation, which started in late 2011, is to be completed by the end of March 2013, and currently most of the TVC is empty. After renovations will be completed, BBC is going to lease some of the refurbished studios and use them for its productions. The rest of the building will include a mix of leisure, office, and residential space.

Although it is not and will not be abandoned, here are some photos of one of the most iconic buildings of British television.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

The abandoned towns of Fukushima

Two years after the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing and displaced more than 300,000, the surrounding towns of Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant remain abandoned. Even today, tens of thousands of survivors live in temporary housing as the area surrounding the nuclear plant remains too contaminated by radiation for residents to return for more than short visits.

SEE ALSO: This photographer went inside Fukushima's nuclear disaster exclusion zone // Inside the Fukushima evacuation zone // More abandoned ghost towns around the world // More abandoned places in Japan // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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A deserted street in the town of Namie
A street light at the abandoned town of Iitate, outside the nuclear exlusion zone
Drinks and rice vending machines in the abandoned town of Naraha, inside the exclusion zone

The destroyed Tomioka station in the town of Tomioka

A tennis court in the abandoned town of Iitate

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Abandoned TV studios in Hong Kong

Near the Che Kung temple, in Ho Chung village of Hong Kong there is an old industrial building. A factory at first, it was later converted to TV studios for Hong Kong's ATV channel. The studios were abandoned during the 2000's as the channel moved to modern facilities. Today, this huge urban space is being reclaimed by nature, and graffiti artists. And as it often happens with abandoned buildings, many claim that the site is haunted. 

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