Daily Illuminator

October 24, 2010: Ghost Buildings

I'm not talking about haunted houses, or anything supernatural. Ghost buildings are structures that have been abandoned in various stages of construction. Usually, they're residential homes, and only stand for a few months before someone finishes them (or they're bulldozed).

In Bangkok, the Sathorn Unique building is a fifty-story ghost. Work seems to have stopped in 1997, after bathtubs had been fitted to many of the apartments. Two "urban spelunkers" ventured inside, and documented their trip here (and took some rough video as well).

Reading their tale really doesn't impart the danger of exploring this skyscraper -- or any ghost building. Exposed rusted rebar is a tetanus hazard, the lack of railings on the stairs could easily turn into a multistory fall, and the poor illumination could hide a hole in the floor. On top of the physical dangers, their adventure was very illegal -- trespassing, vandalism, breaking and entering. Of course, if others with less legal pursuits in mind had been squatting in the building, the law would have been the least of their worries.

But the view from the roof is amazing. The time-lapse shots of the river and highways -- you can find them about 3 minutes into the video -- captures the urban environment from a perspective few get to witness first-hand.

-- Paul Chapman

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