19 November 2007

Abandoned spaces

I have a confession to make: I'm addicted to old buildings. (Perhaps you've noticed.) Abandoned, decaying old buildings are even more fascinating because their tragically desolate presence begs you to imagine what they must have looked like back when they were inhabited and appreciated. Who was here last? And when?

(Rehabbed old buildings always seem a little bit fake: either they've been remodeled and re-remodeled so often that they're beyond recognition, or they've been painstakingly restored practically to mint condition by some historical preservation group and thus are used only as museums to themselves.)

Such architectural ghosts of the past tend to recede into the background when you're zipping along in a metal box, but in the open environment on a bike or your own two feet you're forced to confront them, face to facade, on their terms. You can't help but wonder, what was this place? And what am I doing here now?

Capturing that mood with a camera is a challenge. I've run into a couple of Web sites that take that challenge and eat it for breakfast; one is Detroit Ruins and one is Sonic Atrophy. If you know of any others, pass the URLs along and I'll see about sticking a collection in the sidebar.

Update: Here's Forgotten Chicago.


At 20 November, 2007 07:33, Blogger Georg said...

Bonjour Jennifer,

Right now I had a look on those three sites you had the good idea to mention. Some of these buildings look splendid. I don't understand why they are left to rot.

Here in Europe lots of half timbered houses were renovated (identical to your rehab, I suppose) by putting the insides up to date and keeping the front identical to the look they had hundreds of years ago). It's a pleasure to walk or bike in streets like that.

As to your last entry as per November 20, I wonder who is this person. In case it's me - your faithful reader and commentator - your question "why" might be this: a blog is like a bottle thrown into the sea. If someone answers out of those millions who remain silent.........This creates a special link, should do so.

Cheers to you, Jennifer,


At 20 November, 2007 10:37, Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh, I was whining in haiku form about an old college sweetheart who no longer talks to me. I don't even know if he reads this, but I heard once that he sometimes did.

Sometimes I feel like life was simpler in college, when things were actually more complicated. And he happened to be there to get me through it, so the memories get mixed up.

I went to Europe once. Actually I went to Russia, but it was the European side of Russia, and our trip included St. Petersburg. I was really impressed by how old everything was. There were entire streets full of buildings that looked like they'd been there for centuries, and people were walking around like it was the most normal thing in the world. Well, of course it was, to them.

At 20 November, 2007 13:33, Blogger Georg said...

Hi Jennifer,

Hope you overcome. It helps sometimes to whine a bit and I admire your courage to show it.

You have a very lively way of writing. Go on, please, whatever the subject.

tinkety-tonk and cheers


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