During the few days since I last walked past it, my favorite abandoned factory has gone topless. If you compare these photos to the one I posted when demolition first began earlier this month, you can see the rear portion of this long-abandoned factory is now leveled and the second floor of the front portion has been knocked down. Half destroyed, the standing remnant of this building has literally lost a story.
On the one hand, toppling the top of an unused building seems almost surgical in its precision: first, we remove and tidy-up the top floor, then we level and clean debris from the bottom. On the other hand, demolishing a building from the top down seems almost too cruelly precise, as if this aged edifice has had the top of its head removed. If all buildings must eventually die, can’t we devise a way for them to die with dignity?
When I snapped the first daytime photo of this ongoing demolition project, I heard a faraway voice shout, “No pictures!” At the time, I assumed workmen were worried I was photographing them: maybe there are proprietary secrets on this job-site, or perhaps these workers are particularly shy. In retrospect, though, I wonder if one of this building’s neighbors shouted in its defense, not wanting prying eyes to watch as it crumbles into forced decrepitude. Perhaps I, too, should look away, my camera covered, while Old Abandoned dies an unsung death. Having lost a story, what more could this old building have to say?