A taste of things to come
My taste for derelict buildings started when I visited Berlin in the summer. The city is littered with beautiful abandoned buildings. My curiosity was struck and among the group of people I travelled with, I was the abandoned buildings guy. Not the catchiest nickname, but I took it.
The first site I chose was the Berliner Eisfabrik. This building was an ice factory, making 1.5 metre long blocks of ice. However after running in to financial difficulty it closed down in 1995 and is currently occupied by groups of travellers who now call it home. Rather than renovating the building, there are plans to knock it down. A Wikipedia entry on the factory details the potential future of the building.
The next place I visited was Güterbahnhof Pankow train station. The site is huge, with many buildings scattered around and vegetation slowly reclaiming the area. It used to handle up to 1800 trains a day, but was hard to imagine in its current state. The main attraction now is the impressive round building, which was user to rotate freight trains without the ability to reverse.
It is always an unnerving experience visiting these buildings. Standing in an abandoned building, in an unfamiliar city is bad enough without having to watch out for other explorers. When I stumbled across a massive dog and its owner in Pankow train station I froze in fear. Incidentally both were very friendly but it is these moments which attract me to exploring these locations. Watching out for nails, broken glass and any other number pitfalls adds to the charm of the building and makes it a more somber experience.
I later realised that there are lots of places with derelict buildings, waiting to be explored and have their stories told. Some may have been left derelict for many years and are awaiting destruction. Others are recently being closed, due to the economic climate and have communities rallying to get them re-opened.
Whatever the history behind the buildings, I am interested in finding out, exploring and documenting them with audio, video, interviews and text.