Haunting images of abandoned psychiatric centre in demolition debate
These are the haunting images inside a lunatic asylum that has become a hotly-contested property amongst preservationist.
Greystone Park Psychiatric Center, in New Jersey, USA, was built to house hundreds of mentally ill patients, but it eventually hosted more than 7,500 people.
Demolition work recently began on the building, but preservationists say that it should be turned into a mental health museum and housing.
Opened in 1876, Greystone would build a notorious reputation due to the number of patients that committed suicide, were raped, and became pregnant.
The centre was also used as a prominent filming location; housed Woodie Guthrie, a famous singer; and was frequently visited by Bob Dylan.
In 2003, Greystone closed, and was later photographed by Matthew Christopher, who captures abandoned buildings across America.
The State of New Jersey awarded a $34 million demolition contract to tear down the 675,000-square-foot building, while other, privately-funded options were available, it was reported.
Preservationist are still working to save the French Renaissance-style building, whose interior was deemed to have decayed so much that restoration would be too expensive.
Photographer Matthew Christopher said: “While many people see state hospitals as a sort of ‘house of horrors’ they are an important part of our past – architecturally, socially, and economically.
“They were built at tremendous cost to the states they were in with quite a bit of optimism and hope about the treatment of those suffering from mental illnesses.
“As these buildings vanish – and so many are gone as it is – so too does our ability to connect with our past, to understand and discuss the realities of treatment there, and to return them to positive use.
“I think they’re beautiful buildings and tremendous assets, and that it is shameful and wasteful to destroy them and pretend they were never there.
“Greystone could have been saved, and it still can.”