Architecture, history, and archeology lovers, you’re in for a treat! One man’s passion for architecture helped develop a massive community of like-minded people. Welcome to the ‘Lost Architecture’ project, a cozy niche on Reddit carved out by architectural historian Tom Ravenscroft.
The r/Lost_Architecture subreddit has over 133k members following the latest posts that are all about showing some love to interesting buildings that (sadly!) no longer exist. The community is dedicated to documenting how much time changes the world and how even the buildings that we think will seemingly stand forever eventually crumble and wither away. It’s a dive into the past and a journey you don’t want to resurface from any time soon.
To show you just how awesome of an online community it is and how easy it is to fall in love with it, we’ve picked out some of the best photos shared by its members. As you’re scrolling down, going deeper, flipping back through the pages of history, remember to upvote the pics that you liked the most. We’d also love to hear all about which buildings caught your eye and why, so be sure to write us a comment (or two!) at the very bottom of this list.
Tom, the founder of the subreddit and the editor of Dezeen, the world's largest architect and design site, was kind enough to walk Bored Panda through the inspiration behind r/Lost_Architecture, how the community has changed over the years, and what keeps him fascinated with architectural history. Read on for the full interview, dear Pandas!
The Original Neue Elbbrücke Bridge From 1887-1959 In Hamburg, Germany
Lost And Rediscovered
“It’s Not Possible To Take Such A Photograph Anymore, As The Buildings Outside Block The Sun Rays.” Grand Central, NYC (1929)
Just last week, on May 25, the ‘Lost Architecture’ project celebrated its 4th birthday. Founded back in 2017, the subreddit has, since then, become a staple for architecture and history lovers who are redditors or simply passing through alike.
'Lost Architecture's' founder, Tom, revealed to Bored Panda that he founded the subreddit because of one specific event that occurred in 2014. "The sub was born as a direct response to the sad demolition of Bertrand Goldberg's Brutalist Prentice Hospital in Chicago, which featured in the sub's first post and is still the sub's icon," he said.
After posting a picture of the hospital before it was demolished on Reddit, he then realized that there was no subreddit dedicated exclusively to lost architecture. And that's what drove him to create r/Lost_Architecture.
Built In 1504, Demolished In 1910. What Was The Oldest House In Hamburg, Germany
Buddhas Of Bamiyan 6th-Century,the Statues Were Blown Up And Destroyed In March 2001 By The Taliban, On Orders From Leader Mullah Mohammed Omar
"The community was started, and remains, a place to celebrate the breadth of lost architecture, highlighting buildings that are no longer with us from the significant to the bizarre, or even mundane. As it has grown so too has the breadth of the lost architecture featured, allowing me and the community to learn both about long disappeared buildings and recently demolished buildings," Tom praised the community that has grown immensely since 2017.
Tom also opened up about his love for architecture and how this passion has woven itself into his life. "Architecture has fascinated me for a very long time and I'm lucky enough to have studied it and now worked near it for an age. My masters are in architectural history and I have worked as an architecture journalist for years—currently, I am the editor of the world's largest architect and design site Dezeen—so I get to enjoy architecture a lot! Lost Architecture is another place to reveal buildings I was not aware of and then jump down rabbit holes of researching them. I hope others enjoy it too," he detailed.
Medieval Town Of Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, Germany. Once One Of The Most Picturesque And Pristine Late Medieval Towns In Europe. Destroyed On March 22nd, 1945, One Month Before The War's End
Old Detroit Library In Detroit, Mi. Opened In 1877 And Demolished In 1931
"Lost Architecture has showcased lost buildings of all styles from all around the world. Although I enjoy the sub, there are many many buildings I never want to see in it. Right now there are numerous examples of both historical and more contemporary modernist, Brutalist and PoMo buildings that are under threat from demolition. I hope we won't be seeing any of them in Lost Architecture any time soon," he shared that as much as he enjoys the subreddit, protecting the historic buildings themselves is more important than a quality photo that would fit the community's theme.
2000 Year Old N6 Pyramid In Sudan Which Was Demolished In The 1800’s By An Italian Treasure Hunter
The Late 3rd Century Tetrapylon Of Ancient Palmyra, Syria. Deliberately Destroyed By Isis, 2017
Warsaw, Poland 1939. No Need To Say What Happened Here. Truly A Tragic Loss
The subreddit is pretty much straightforward and only has a tiny handful of rules (which, considering Reddit’s love for long lists of rules as a whole, is fairly surprising yet refreshing). So anyone thinking about posting on r/Lost_Architecture should focus on posting buildings that have been lost (duh!) and avoid before-and-after images. There’s plenty of room on Reddit for B&A’s, but r/Lost_Architecture is not one of them.
Architectural history itself is the study of buildings in their historical context. What the historian focuses on depends on their interests: some put all of their energy into the conservation and preservation of buildings while others see education—whether at university or through other means like traditional, digital, or social media—to be their calling.
Times Square (1919) Before All The Renovations And Billboards
Lost Buildings From Villages In The Pacific Northwest, Late 1800s
Some Indian Temple Ruins And How They Looked In Their Prime
These architectural historians are people of many, many talents. They have to know a bit about a wide range of subjects, ranging from architecture and history (obviously) to archaeology, art history, engineering, sustainability, and building design.
Studying architectural trends and styles, placing building innovations into their proper context, and determining how everything changes over time and in different geographical locations are all an architectural historian’s bread and butter.
After all, the way in which buildings are built, what materials are used, what the aesthetics are, and how quickly they’re replaced by different styles altogether can tell us a lot about the particular time period, as well as the mentality and philosophy of the locals.
Bowhead House, Edinburgh, Scotland. Built In The Early 1500s, It Was Demolished In 1878. Many Locals Mourned The Loss, Having Regarded The House As One Of The Most Distinctive Relics Of The Old City
I Took An 1898 Edition Of The California Architect And Building News And Found As Many Of The Houses In San Francisco As I Could On Google Maps
The Original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel In NYC, Demolished In 1929 To Serve As The Site For The Empire State Building
The founder of the subreddit, Tom, currently lives in London and works as the editor of Dezeen. He got his master’s degrees in architectural history from both the University of Edinburgh, as well as The Bartlett. In other words, architecture and design are his lifeblood. And his passion is evident in the ‘Lost Architecture’ project.