This report on the visit I did in November 2015 will display the amazing SF architecture of several unfinished-abandoned buildings found in Datong…
Strange buildings, aren’t they? Before presenting more closely their amazing architecture, I will explain where they come from…
The five major equipments project (五大场馆): a semi-failure
Datong, a city in Northern Shanxi province, famous for its long history and for its coal mining industry, became one day the object of a radical makeover. In 2008, Datong’s former Mayor Geng Yanbo decided it was time to redesign the city image and not only did he rethink the inner city development, he also introduced ultra-modern architectural buildings on the city Eastern outskirts. The problem is that in 2012, Xi Jinping started a strict anti-corruption campaign, and at the same time, a rationalization of public spending by local administrations. At the beginning of 2013, Mayor Geng was « promoted » to the capital city of Shanxi province, before achieving his many planning projects. The ongoing construction work was suddunly interrupted by the new Mayor, who did not have the same priorities. In this context, there are many unfinished-abandoned projects in Datong, but this is the most fascinating one. On a large (mainly pedestrian) area, the project was supposed to bring together a group of five new major equipments (五大场馆) to the city: a sport centre, a city museum, a museum of fine arts, a theater and a library. In January 2015, only the Datong City Museum opened its doors, while the rest of the square remained a paralyzed « work in progress ». You get a clue that a place is abandoned when the few people that walk by are all city cleaners or museum employees. It was one of the best urbex experiences so far, to find all these futuristic unfinished-abandoned buildings, without security guards or locked doors! Here are pictures of some of them.
Imbricated pyramids: the unfinished Museum of Beaux-Arts (美术馆)
The Museum of Beaux-Arts was designed by the world famous Foster+Partners, and was supposed to open in 2013, according to this company’s web page. It looks unfinished already on the outside, compared to the final project image.
The facade is still hidden under scaffolding.
The views from outside and from inside are all quite beautiful.
A few weeks later, I noticed several workers on this building, maybe the construction will continue somehow.
Jellyfish: the unfinished Theater (大剧场)
The Theater was almost finished when construction was blocked. On the outside it looks quite like the project, designed by Isozaki, Aoki & Associates. Even if the architects conceived it as a natural landscape inspired by the Yungang Caves (as they explain on their web page), it reminded me of a more organic texture and I called it the Jellyfish.
But if one looks closer, one can notice many unfinished parts already on the ouside structure, which is also starting to fall apart. The inside really took my breath away: an amazing architecture, especially beautiful in this raw state.
If you were interested by this failed project in Datong, you can also read my second report about this place here.
N.B.: Pour une traduction française de l’article, cliquer ici.