Architectural ruination and degradation - nathan williams

The purpose of this art gallery is to showcase the unique aesthetic elements presented upon man-made structures through nature's impact over time.  As the sands of time pass by, different aspects of nature play their role in the breaking down of man-made structures.  Rust, flora, and structural and foundational alterations all take their toll on the design and appearance of the structures, much like the circle of life for living organisms.  During these processes, unique and interesting designs and features present themselves through these processes, providing a viewer a new way to look at the structures, as they would look at a previously completed work on a canvas.

This photo depicts an ancient carved stone structure. The interesting aspects of this particular image is the clear dichotamy between the natural and man-made portions of the structure. The side of the structure facing toward the left clearly retains it's strongly angular lines created during it's construction. The right side of the image displays the structure in an advanced state of degradation leading to much more irregular and a smoother silhouette, indistinguishable from the natural hillside around it.
Depicted in this old photo is the ruins of the Church of San Miguel in Panama. While the structure has surely been abandoned for some time, it appears in a relatively recent state of decay, still retaining most of it's man-made features. However, plant life has made solid headway into overtaking the surfaces of the structure, creating an interesting "fading" appearance, where there is a smooth transition between the man-made linear design aspects and the more irregular designs of nature.
The unknown ruins in this particular photo appear to be in such an advanced state that they're nearly indistinguishable from the landscape around them. If the viewer looks carefully along the second plateaued surface from the top, they'll be able to identify the linear design of a man-made wall structure. What's so interesting about this particular image is that, not only are the unnatural lines that generally signal man-made structures almost entirely removed, but even the texturing itself has almost entirely reverted to natural stone and dirt.
Here we have a photograph of a recently ruined structure. The harsh lines that are indicative of a man-made structure are clearly evident in most of the individual features, however, due to the nature of ruination, they're beginning to break up. This image is a strong indicator of the very first phase of the degradation of architecture from the ordered construction of man, and the chaotic construction found in nature.
In this image of a ruined tower structure at Tour Magne, we start to see how nature begins to reclaim the structure through the surfaces. While silhouette changes tend to be the most obvious as a structure goes through the ruination process, another major aspect is the changes of the overall texture. Small changes occur on the surface, particularly in stone like this structure, where sections of the stone wears down through weathering and plant infiltration, breaking up the stone binding. Where once there were relatively smooth surfaces adoring this structure, we can see how it's pock-marked with missing chunks. There's also entire large sections which have lost their relatively smooth appearance, and become rough and irregular.
This image is a perfect example of the color differences that take place as a structure goes through the process of ruination. At the bottom of the image you see a large swath of the natural ground, covered with sparse grass, with lots of lively greens and browns. Then at the top you have man-made concrete, with it's washed grey, in a very strong contrast to the natural colors. As the process of ruination takes place, a gradual blending of these two color schemes begins to take place, as nature starts to overtake the unnatural. In this case, you see it in the grass beginning to grow and spread into the crumbled portions of the structures, and in the water damage taking place along the sides of the structure indicated by the darkening of the concrete.
While not a photo, this sketch of ruins is another strong example of midway through the process of ruination, as flora takes hold in the stone structure and is well on it's way to overtaking it. The strongest design aspect that can be seen during this part of the process is the blending between natural and unnatural form, particularly strong along the top surfaces of the stone structure and the left side of the sketch where plant life appears to be thriving in it's newly claimed environment.
This painting depicts the ruins of the Roman Theatre at Taormina. Late stage in the process of ruination, the theatre is almost indistinguishable from a cliff face at a cursory glance. The silhouette and lines of the temple are nearly all erased, with the exception of major foundational features. The colors and textures associated with the structure are heavily blended with the natural environment around it.
These particular ruins, at Canon de Chelle in New Mexico, are a fantastic example of how the forms, lines, and general shapes of architecture are almost entirely transitioned into natural ones late into the process. Hints of the man-made structures can be distinguished by their harsh lines and angles on the remaining super structure, but the vast majority of what was once there, has entirely faded back into a natural state, becoming merely another part of the rock face it once inhabited.
Another good example of late stage ruination's aesthetic changes, is this image of the ancient Theatre of Dionysus. Again, some aspects of man-made architecture remain. Particularly in the harsh lines and angles pertaining to the low walls and what's left of the amphitheatre seating. Regular patterns blending almost seamlessly with the irregular patterns that exist in the natural environment.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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