In some ways, cities feel like living beings. They’re born, grow, develop cool counterculture that some worry is ruining the country, become successful, and then, eventually, get old. Parts become irrelevant and decay. Sometimes entire pieces just…die. In the end, you’re left with empty buildings and neighborhoods that were once bustling hubs of activity, work, and pleasure. Alone and abandoned.
This even happens in bits and pieces in the most populated metropolises on earth. In booming cities in which every square foot is claimed and coveted, massive buildings decay. It’s a shame, really. But from death comes rebirth and sometimes old structures find new life and new purpose in a world that’s turned its back on them.
We love witnessing the creative repurposing of such abandoned city spaces — factories that become cool lofts and offices, hotels that spring up out of old warehouses, and parks built atop old subway tracks. These reuses support the community and revive the decaying parts of a changing city, making it feel alive and whole again. By recycling materials, restoring historic details, and even wildly reimagining what a certain space could be, derelict buildings are allowed to live a second, purposeful life and, in turn, revitalize entire neighborhoods.
These are some of the coolest projects worldwide to feature reimagined abandoned spaces.
From A Church To A Skate Park — Kaos Temple, Llanera, Spain
One of our favorite repurposed projects was by street artist Okuda San Miguel. Basically, San Miguel became obsessed with an abandoned Spanish church, built in 1912, and adopted it as his passion project.
“I fell in love with it,” he told us. “I decided to talk with the owners. They knew my work, and they told me that I could do whatever I wanted.”
The project became Kaos Temple, a church turned into a skate park with San Miguel having painted every surface in bold color. The result: the run-down building is now brimming over with life and youthful energy. The church became a mecca for skaters, and also, launched the artist to worldwide fame.