As Frank Lloyd Wright, the greatest American architect of all time, once said: “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” Understanding and respecting what can be a very brutal and relentless force is one of the great responsibilities tasked to the creators of our buildings and cities. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, we’re now facing the overwhelming cleanup of our soggy subways, submerged streets, and damaged tunnels. If you do one thing today, make it a quick trip to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief homepage and donate what you can to help those hardest hit get back on their feet.
A testament to the never ending battle between man and nature, we’ve rounded up haunting before and after shots of beautiful buildings defeated by Dame Nature. From the sad collapse of Haiti’s presidential palace to the devastating San Francisco earthquake in 1906 that left a city littered with architectural skeletons, click through to check out a brief history of natural disasters and the buildings they felled. What can we do to strengthen our manmade world? Or, is nature’s supreme power ultimately invincible?
National Palace – Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Seriously damaged two years ago by the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti, the National Palace is now slated for demolition. The J/P Haitian Relief Organization — Sean Penn’s charity — has started dismantling it. As The New York Times reports, “piece by shattered piece, the 92-year-old, E-shaped, gleaming white French Renaissance palace that contrasted with Haiti’s misery will be ripped apart over the coming months and carted off.”