Piers Secunda creates art out of history and ruin. The painter’s latest exhibition, What Remains, is now on display at the Imperial War Museum in London and is marked by a distinct materiality—works in the show are made with industrial paint, as well as charcoal from the ruins of Mosul, Iraq, ground into ink. Almost resembling individual plaster casts, Secunda’s unique painting method allows him to build his “canvases” into the third dimension. Resulting forms can be cut, carved into, sculpted, and painted over. The cast-like quality is also used more literally. For this show, the artist has used his material method to capture impressions of ISIS bullet holes and bombed building fragments collected on-site in Mosul. “I developed [these] systems of making works of art with paint, where I took the paint for a walk in three dimensions and I tried to figure out how I could enable the paint to grow without those traditional restraints,” Secunda told The Art Newspaper, “Since then, I've tried as much as I can to examine what the damaging of art means, especially if entire communities or ideologies systematically go about doing it.” The Imperial War Museum is exploring the theme of ruin and destruction over the past century in a free season of three exhibitions called Culture Under Attack. In addition to What Remains, the series zeroes in on the Nazi's targeted bombings of London during WWII and the Taliban's destruction of religious iconography in Afghanistan. These ruinations spark the conversation around cultural heritage and how it is both protected and restored. What Remains specifically focuses on the Mosul Museum, an ISIS target that was looted and burned by the group, sparking a worldwide outcry. It shows that the destruction of art is as powerful a symbol as the creation of art and has been exercised for millennia as a method for new leaders or regimes to assert dominance over prior systems. Secunda’s work reinvigorates and reinstates the destroyed art, creating something new out of the ashes, quite literally. His series of drawings, created as site studies from the artist’s photographs of various ruins, could become an exhibit unto themselves. Secunda created the drawings by grinding the charcoal from the burned buildings down with mortar and pestle and mixing it with alcohol and gum arabic, fixing it to the paper in a fluid motion. Secunda’s drawings incorporate a strikingly different process than his paintings since they are two-dimensional. But the artist comments on the two disparate ways of working, saying: “Drawing by comparison is like lightning—it's that immediate instant of expression and you can see the line grow.” In the interview with The Art Newspaper, the artist said he's eager to explore destruction Mali and Syria next.
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As the weather warms and flowers sprout, so too do a new crop of spring releases. A varied bunch of books offers everything from a meditation on the impermanence of inflatable architecture to a dense taxonomy of trees. So snag one of these new releases for when a sunny day in the park or a rainy spring day spent inside. Ruin and Redemption in Architecture Dan Barasch and Dylan Thuras (contributor) Phaidon $59.95 New A flashy split-tone coffee-table book cover belies a slick collection of ruin-to-redemption case studies. All types of buildings and infrastructure fall to the ravages of time. Some are icons that have been lost forever, demolished or repurposed in a way that destroys their original intent; some have been left dormant for decades and are actively being reimagined; others have been successfully transformed for a second chance at glory. This book takes a look at all types. In a nice touch, the abandoned buildings are all shown in black and white, while their transformed counterparts are rendered in full-color spreads. The “redeemed” buildings include a multitude of well-known rehabs, such as Heatherwick Studio’s Zeitz Museum of South Africa and Ricardo Bofill’s monumental transformation of a 33,000-square-foot Spanish cement factory into his personal home and office. The Architecture of Trees Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stagi Princeton Architectural Press $76.27 Any landscape architect worth their soil should pick up The Architecture of Trees, an all-encompassing atlas of all things tree-related. The massive 10-inch-by-15-inch compendium is a remastered English edition of L’Architettura degli Alberi, which has been out of print since 1982. Over 550 large-scale pen drawings of 212 tree species are provided at 1:100 scale, and each copy of the book comes with a large ruler-slash-bookmark that allows readers to visualize how tall each specimen would be in the real world. Lavish color studies of how the foliage of each tree changes throughout the seasons—as well as their relative canopy size—are also provided. Information on each family, genus, and species, leaf etchings, essays on utilizing public green space, solar studies for different tree arrangements, and more can be found in this 424-page doorstopper, the result of a twenty-year study. Toward a Living Architecture?: Complexism and Biology in Generative Design Christina Cogdell University Of Minnesota Press $31.35 The popularity of organic parametricism shows no sign of slowing down, especially with the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects and other internationally acclaimed studios continuing to champion the style. But, just because architects have sinewy curves, biomimetic facades, and other tools readily available in their kits, does that mean any of their work is truly sustainable? In Towards a Living Architecture, Cogdell refutes the argument that biological architecture, computer-driven iterative architecture, symbiotic architecture, etc., are inherently “better” or more sustainable. Instead, she calls for a lifecycle analysis of each project and technique and offers pointed questions to each technology in chapter-by-chapter breakdowns. Bubbletecture: Inflatable Architecture and Design Sharon Francis Phaidon $24.95 New Meet the hypersaturated, candy-colored younger sibling of Ruin and Redemption, a pocket-sized compendium to all things inflatable. Everything from inflatable stools to children’s toys to useable bridges are represented in Bubbletecture’s 288 pages and are helpfully coded by size. Colorful pieces from artists, ranging from Kapoor to Kusama and Christo, mingle with large-scale installations from BIG and Snarkitecture (and keep an eye out for the Trump baby balloon). X-Ray Architecture Beatriz Colomina Lars Müller $25.47 As architecture became more about analyzing fragmented portions of the building in the 20th century, so too did medicine. The advent of the x-ray coincidentally—or perhaps not, argues Colomina—came about in tandem with the rise of modern architecture. Buildings offered more light and more glass and became airier in the early 20th century, affording the general public with conditions previously prescribed to those suffering from tuberculosis. At the same time, armed with the ability to peer inside the human body and examine its underpinning structure, medicine became more architectural. Surveillance into either body, whether human-built or organic, increased—an obtrusion that’s continued into the current day.
Brought to you with support fromCompleted in June 2018, the Palace for Mexican Music is a bold intervention in the heart of historic Mérida, Mexico, that establishes a relationship with the surrounding century-old architectural milieu through lightly detailed limestone and dramatic matte-black steel ribs. The design team consisted of four local practices: Alejandro Medina Arquitectura, Reyes Ríos + Larraín arquitectos, Muñoz Arquitectos, and Quesnel Arquitectos.
Mayan structures. Seen from above, the nearly 100,000-square-foot Palace for Mexican Music is organized around a U-shaped courtyard, called the “Patio of Strings,” which faces the rear elevation of the four-century-old Church of the Third Order. A series of newly constructed alleyways rhythmically break the solid stone mass to provide routes of entry between the courtyard and the complex’s library, museum, and concert halls. Mayabtun Marmoles, a local stone supplier, harvested local Yucatán limestone, referred to as Crema Maya or Macedonia Limestone, for the project’s cladding and flooring. The panels, measuring 4 feet by 1.5 feet, are embellished with a polished or hammered finish. Each panel is fastened to the complex’s steel frame with aluminum holding brackets produced by Sistema Masa While the use of local building material is a direct visual nod to the physical character of the Centro Historico, the design team went a step further with the facades' stone and fenestration pattern. The vertical bands of stone are meant to serve as notational bars while the glass panels are notes from the popular Yucatan folk song, Esta Tarde Vi Llover. The 444 matte-black steel ribs are the defining element of the north elevation and courtyard. In both areas, the 30-foot hollow-steel ribs are fastened to an exterior rail that is in turn soldered to a series of corbels that protrude from the floor plates. Corridors within the courtyard are semi-open to the elements, wrapped by a glass balcony and sheltered by the stone-clad steel frame. To shield this area from sunlight, the steel ribs break into two planes, one vertical, the other slanted. For the four-firm team, the design of the Palace for Mexican Music is an attempt to "establish a new precedent for a public building to contribute to the revitalization of its surrounding space" through the use of contextual contemporary design and accessible public space. After a rigorous research and design process, their final execution has achieved that goal.The provincial capital of Mérida is located on the northern edge of the Yucatán Peninsula, a region noted for its distinct Mayan culture, and nearly two-thirds of the city’s population is indigenous. Mérida’s Spanish core consists of a broad range of colonial architecture built of locally sourced limestone, much of it ripped from
Search Twitter for #mallmonday and see a hilariously bleak photo series that profiles different malls, some dead, some impossibly sad, each week. Why are these depressing spaces so popular with architects? By giving new life to these huge, redundant spaces, architects tap into ruinophilia to feed a culturally ingrained desire for dramatic transformation and also temper the excesses of capitalism, maybe. In the Texas capital, Austin Community College annexed semi-vacant Highland Mall for a new campus, while NBBJ is reviving a dead mall in downtown Columbus. In Providence, Rhode Island, Northeast Collaborative Architects (NCA) handily combined dead mall revivification with micro-apartments, for an timely transformation of downtown's Arcade Providence, the oldest shopping mall in the United States. The 1828 Greek Revival–style mall was closed for the last three years. Designed by Russell Warren and James Bucklin, the three-story mall was America's first enclosed shopping arcade. In a $7 million renovation, Providence-based NCA turned the mall, a National Historic Landmark, into a mixed-use development with 17 retail stores on the ground floor and 48 micro-apartments on top. Apartments open out onto a shared walkway, an arrangement that would be penitentiary-chic if not for a skylit atrium. Unlike micro-apartments in New York, where market-rate rents at Carmel Place range from $2,540 to $2,910 per month, rents at Arcade Providence begin at $550 per month for a 225 to 450 square-foot one-bedroom, My Modern Met reports. (Two- and three-bedroom units are also available.) Those units come with a full bathroom, kitchenette, and a built-in bed with storage. Tenants have access to shared laundry, TV room, and game room, as well as bike storage, and parking. Right now, the only catch for prospective tenants is the 4,000 person waiting list.
On View> Glimmering light installation recalls the destroyed baronial towers of Bannerman's Castle near New York City
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home, … facing the stars hope—a new constellation waiting for us to map it, waiting for us to name it—together. —One Day, by Robert Blanco. Written for the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama, January 21, 2013. Melissa McGill's light-based public art project, Constellation, arises from the romantic ruins of Bannerman's Castle on Pollepel Island, a mysterious sight glimpsed from trains heading north 50 miles from New York City just shy of Beacon, and nearby to West Point and Storm King. If you’ve ever wondered about this fleeting apparition, this art installation, which will be up for two years, is the perfect vehicle for visiting the island or gazing from the riverbank. https://vimeo.com/105147110 Video shot by drone of Bannerman Castle. (John Huba) Starting in 1884, Francis Bannerman VI, a pacifist who hoped that future wars were unnecessary, was the world’s largest dealer of used military items, operating the first Army/Navy surplus stores through purchases of enormous quantities of government surplus goods at auction. After his largest purchase of 90 percent of the captured goods from the Spanish-American War in 1898, he had a dilemma—storage space was limited in New York City and authorities frowned on housing his vast cache of explosives at the company headquarters on lower Broadway. So he purchased Pollepel Island from Mary Taft of Cornwall in late 1900 and constructed a series of arsenals and houses of his own design in Scottish baronial style with Belgian influences, and a coat of arms with an invented crest including the Scottish flag, a grappling hook, and a flaming bomb. There was even a working drawbridge. Bannerman designed his castle as an optical illusion: it looked bigger than it actually was. In the spirit of surplus, he built it out of scrap metal, blasted rock, brick, and concrete, and used old bedframes as rebar, and buoys as decorative balls. Cannons were placed throughout the island. Two years after Bannerman’s death in 1918 (two weeks after the end of World War I), the castle’s powder house exploded. According to the New York Times the reverberations were heard 75 miles away and windows were blown out in towns along the east side of the river. Nearly 50 years later in 1969, most of the rest of the complex burned in a fire lasting three days, leaving only the remains seen today. What remains are thin stage-set facades seen from the riverbank, propped up by slanted long metal rods behind. Adding to the magic lantern quality is appearance by the Bannerman ruins in Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest (1959) flashing by from a train; a two-second appearance in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), along with Angkor Wat and the skyscrapers of Hong Kong, which serve as transporters to the inhabitants of the planet Cybertron to Earth; swum past by Joseph Fiennes in Against the Current (2009); and the secret location of George Washington's tomb built by the Masons in FOX TV’s Sleepy Hollow. It was also the site of the April 2015 death of kayaker Vincent Viafore, while out with his fiancé Angelika Graswald. Constellations are our ways of creating narratives to connect the dots—or stars—giving the seemingly random order in the form of a figure, an action, or a myth. McGill has created her own Constellation with lighted points referring to the Bannerman castle structure still standing, as well as components that no longer exist, thereby connecting past and present. She also delves even further back to the Lenape, the indigenous Native Americans of the area, referencing their term Opi Temakan which means the White Road or Milky Way. In McGill’s reading, the natural and manmade are intertwined. She says it is absence and presence; fragments and pauses. Booking Boat and Kayak Tours, and Best locations to see Constellation on land here. Audio Guide, Video, Tour Information and more can be found here.
3D projection technology fleetingly brings back the Bamiyan Buddha that was destroyed by the Taliban
The hollow in the sandstone cliffs of Bamiyan, central Afghanistan, still harks back to the looming Bamiyan Buddha statues that once emerged from the cliff-face, before they were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. A Chinese couple has created 3D projection technology to holographically recreate the destroyed statues which, standing at 180 feet and 120 feet respectively, lorded over the Bamiyan valley for 1500 years. https://twitter.com/alibomaye/status/607259092265148416/photo/1 Representing the classic style of Gandhara art, the monuments withstood the armies of Genghis Khan and the introduction of Islam to the region, as well as multiple artillery rounds by the Taliban, which eventually deferred to explosives when their firing failed to make a dent. “These idols have been the gods of infidels,” Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar reportedly declared in marking the statues for destruction. In 2005, Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata proposed a laser show system to recreate the Buddhas, but the project was never implemented. On display for two days in June, the holograms were cast from projectors mounted on scaffolding, the work of a Chinese couple who are traveling the world to film a documentary. Moved by the legacy of the statues and their destruction, they decided to add Bamiyan to their itinerary and provide the projection as a gift from the people of China to the Afghan people.
Attention ruin porn addicts and post-apocalyptic disaster fantasists, this video is for you. British filmmaker Danny Cooke visited Pripyat, Ukraine—an abandoned city within the radioactive hot zone created by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster—while on assignment for 60 Minutes. Using a camera-equipped drone, Cooke soars above and through the city, which once housed 50,000 inhabitants, revealing a ghostly but remarkably intact landscape, including apartment buildings, hospitals, and an abandoned amusement park with a rusting ferris wheel. While the scene is remarkably tranquil, the underlying cause is unsettling. Following a manmade calamity, nature is slowly reclaiming the city. Humans will likely never be able to return. [h/t World.Mic]
Over the weekend, AN joined Open House New York on a tour of the under-construction Empire Stores warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The old coffee bean warehouse was built in the 1870s, but has been sitting empty along the East River for decades. By next fall, though, the Empire Stores will have been transformed with all the Brooklyn-type fixings you'd expect. Yes, there is an artisanal Brooklyn market featuring local purveyors. And office space for tech and creative companies. And cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens. Included in the mix is also a rooftop public park and a museum focused on New York City's waterfront. “What we’re looking at creating is something that is not only unique to the history of these remarkable buildings, but also speaks to the culture of the neighborhood and this community,” said Jay Valgora, the founder of Studio V Architecture, the firm that is overseeing the transformation. With this type of project, the first task was to secure the building and bring it up to code. That meant laying a new floor, creating a new foundation, and repointing the massive nearly three-foot-thick masonry walls. There is also the issue of resiliency. The complex, which is actually seven buildings, sits right next to the East River and took in about seven feet of water during Sandy. Since the building couldn’t be lifted or moved, the most practical solution, explained Valgora, was to fabricate an "aqua fence" that could be stored in a nearby warehouse and deployed before of a storm. The idea is that there will be enough lead time to get everything in place. Valgora said the main challenge of this project was to bring light and air into a structure that was built to block out both—the warehouse doesn't even have windows, but rather arched openings and shutters. The firm wanted to create that type of sleek, airy space, while preserving the building's history. Along with new glass stairways, and a glass and steel rooftop addition, the firm is preserving much of the Empire Stores' masonry, yellow pine beams, and schist walls. Studio V's plan to cut an open-air courtyard into the center of the structure is designed to meet both needs of the project: create a light-filled, modern space while showing-off the structure's original details. “We’re going to create a public passage throughthe entire building that reveals and shows the nature of how it was made, as well that brings you into the 21st Century as you go to this rooftop park," said Valgora. As for the windows, the firm is installing large square panels that sit behind the arched frames to preserve the feel of the original facade. No additional openings are being cut into the structure and shutters are either being restored or replicated. The Empire Stores is one of the development sites along the Brooklyn Bridge Park that has been leased to fund its maintenance costs.
In the early 20th Century, the sprawling, 29-building Public Health Service hospital on the south shore of Ellis Island was the biggest federal hospital in the country—and possibly its most state-of-the-art. The comprehensive medical institution treated over one million newly-arrived immigrants ill with diseases like tuberculosis, measles, trachoma, and scarlet fever. Designed as a series of pavilions, the hospital has long, window-lined corridors that brought in fresh air and maximized natural light. To keep dirt and dust from piling up up in these narrow halls, concrete floors were raked in the middle and lined with drains on either edge. And to stop contaminates from drifting from room to room, no door directly faces another. In the 60 years since it closed, the former vanguard of modern medicine has been abandoned, looted, and turned into a decaying, inaccessible, ruin. But that that changes next week when the National Park Service opens up the hospital for public tours. Before that happens, AN got a sneakpeak of the fascinating, and unnervingly stunning, relic. The Public Health Service campus has not necessarily been restored, but rather preserved in a state of “arrested decay," according to Jessica Cameron-Bush who recently guided media outlets through the space. Inside the raw building, concrete is chipped, windowpanes are cracked, wood is splintered, and weeds have gained ground. But the hospital is structurally sound says the National Park Service and the non-profit Save Ellis Island which raised funds to reopen the structure. Together, these groups have also commissioned an art installation called "Unframed - Ellis Island" to coincide with the public tours, and serve as a reminder of what the space once was. Throughout the hospital, artist JR has stuck life-size recreations of historic photographs that depict the doctors, patients, and families who walked the halls long before any of us showed up. Hard hat tours of the hospital start on October 1st and will be limited to 10 people per group. Currently, there will be tours four days a week, but the schedule could expand next year. Proceeds from tour sales will go toward the complex's continued restoration. Tours will be organized through Statue Cruises.
Detroit’s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it so during its early 20th century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroit’s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the city’s resilience? This week ArchDaily looked at what might become of "Detroit's most remarkable ruin" in an article that was also published on The Huffington Post. Last month, wrote Kate Abbey-Lambertz, the building was pulled from public auction and was purchased by developers Boydell Group for an undisclosed amount. Though its infamous use as a parking garage has grabbed headlines (and its crumbling beauty served as a backdrop in Eminem’s 8 Mile), the building still hosts events. Just this weekend a skateboarding competition and concert took over the space. (One band's bassist knocked an event photographer's drone down with a beer can.) But what would it take to turn the Michigan Theatre into something more permanent than a makeshift rock club? Wondered ArchDaily:
Will it ever again look like it did in 1926? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a vibrant future. “Creative destruction is very much a part of our history,” [Preservation Detroit’s executive director Claire] Nowak-Boyd said, “and is perhaps more central to our story than that of any other American city… This site encapsulates that.”Another symbol of Detroit’s bygone glory days recently got a second look from designers. A "Reanimate the Ruins" competition envisioned a brighter future for the massive Packard Plant site.
In 2009, vandals pushed a dump truck through a hole in the wall on the fourth story of the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit. (Of course there’s a video.) It’s a level of dereliction and decay that’s frankly common to North America’s foremost basket-case city, but it’s made a bit more poignant by the fact that the plant (built in 1907 and closed in the late '90s) was once an icon of Detroit’s command over automotive technology and the automotive industry. The 3.5-million-square-foot facility was designed by Albert Kahn to produce luxury cars, and was the first of its type to use a reinforced concrete structure. But now it’s time for some more creative thinking about how to use the Packard site, beyond inventive ways to project giant pieces of refuse out of windows. As such, Parallel Projections released the winners of an ideas competition to adaptively reuse the site on Friday. The competition (the first one Parallel Projections has hosted) garnered 200 entries from 30 countries. The three winners received $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively, and six Honorable Mentions were named. Called Reanimate the Ruins, Parallel Projections founder Kyle Beneventi said that, beyond adding another chapter to the history of a building that’s forced the carry the symbolic weight of the city’s struggles, he wants the competition to show how design can address social and economic problems. “We hope to act as a catalyst, and put these ideas in front of decision-makers to raise awareness about how design can address these issues,” he said. The site is currently owned by Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo, who has his own plans for the site, though Beneventi says proposals from the ideas competition can be complimentary to his efforts, and that he’s been working with Palazuelo’s company, Arte Express. The competition winners range from pragmatic land-use proposals to loose thought experiments. The winners are: 1st Place Cross the Plant by Vincent Lavergne is based on one simple programmatic shift: Turn much of the factory into housing, provide financial incentives for residents in unsustainably depopulated neighborhoods to move in, thus freeing up more land for urban agriculture. 2nd Place The Packard Belt by Javier Galindo crisscrosses the plant with a car-path belt, inspired by automotive engine belts. It’s a slow, nostalgic ride through Detroit history—a sort of a linear museum you experience while driving. 3rd Place Ecological Engineering Center Detroit by Toni Yli-Suvanto installs a waste recycling, urban agriculture, and power generation facility on the site. Sewage treatment yields biogas, power is harvested from the sun, hydroponic plants are grown, and water is recycled. Honorable Mention Higher Calling: A Spiritual Mycoremediation Corridor for Detroit by Tak Stewart, Arnulfo Ramirez, and Giselle Altea recruits monks to remediate the site’s polluted soil with mushrooms via mycoremediation, using fungi to degrade or absorb contaminants. Honorable Mention Packard City by Bastian Gerner and Pola Rebecca Koch is an open-ended series of templates for ways to repurpose the factory’s buildings. Honorable Mention Urban Paradox: Architectural Iteration to Paranoiac Tensions by Chun Shing Tsui develops a hub for Detroit’s newest, saddest industry: scrap metal recovery. In an effort to tempt car companies back to the city of Detroit, this design proposes an organ that aids the city in cannibalizing itself. Honorable Mention Packard [Model D]etroit by Dominic Walbridge, Michael Miller, and Yan Ding divides the site into light manufacturing and fabrication areas, office space, a museum, and leisure and retail space. Honorable Mention Hollow Ground: Reconceiving Packard as an Urban Archipelago by Samaa Elimam and James Leng begins by renovating the site’s most recognizable buildings and converting them with strong geometric shapes into education and cultural spaces. Honorable Mention Augmented Chassis by Jason Butz and Akshita Sivakumar augments the physical infrastructure of the factory with smart-phone enabled “augmented reality” applications that overlay historical imagery as well as potential future renovations into museum and exhibition spaces.
One of Philadelphia’s most impressive old ruins might be coming back to life. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a New Jersey real estate lender is providing $31.5 million to convert the decaying Divine Lorraine hotel into luxury apartments and commercial space. This is not the first attempt to transform the Lorraine, but it just might be its best. The 120-year-old Romanesque structure that was once a symbol of opulent luxury has been abandoned for the past 15 years—save for the ghosts who are rumored to wander its halls. But that could soon change. According to The Inquirer, this influx of cash could help developer Eric Blumenfeld "kick-start a conversion of the graffiti-scarred historic building." He bought the Lorraine for $8 million in 2012, but hasn't been able to finance a full transformation. If all things go according to plan, the Divine Lorraine will be just one of the new projects coming online along Philly's North Broad Street corridor. The building was designed by Willis G. Hale and opened as the Lorraine Apartments back in 1894. “The Lorraine was the true pinnacle of luxury in its time, boasting full electricity, two gigantic penthouse ballrooms, and a talented staff that pushed private servants into a state of obsolescence,” reported Curbed Philly. A few years later, it was turned into a hotel, which was successful up until the Depression. In 1948, the founder of the International Peace Mission Movement, Reverend Major Jealous Divine, bought the building and renamed it the Divine Lorraine Hotel. The Reverend welcomed anyone into the Lorraine, making it America’s first racially integrated hotel. All were welcome, but according to Curbed, guests had to obey Divine’s rules: “That meant no drinking, no smoking, no profanity, and sharing quarters with the opposite sex was forbidden. The two penthouse ballrooms were transformed into worship halls while the ground floor kitchen was opened to the public as a low-cost alternative for hungry Philadelphians.” And that’s just the start of it. Jim Jones—yes, Jamestown Jim Jones—used to kick it with the Reverend inside the hotel. After Divine’s death in the 1960s, Jones unsuccessfully tried to continue leading his friend's movement. Instead, Jones started his own thing, which you may have heard about. Fast-forward to 2002 when the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and then to 2006 when Philly developer Michael Treacy Jr. bought the building with a promise to preserve its historic integrity. According to Untapped Cities, that didn't happen; “instead the interior of the building was scavenged for everything from marble and alabaster to radiators and old mattresses. Afterward, it was left abandoned, windows shattered, the interior exposed to the elements." After many years of change, this abandoned, graffitied, possibly haunted, formerly-cultish, beautiful hotel is prepping for its next guests.