Finding and exploring abandoned buildings is generally referred to as Urban Exploration (or Urbex for short). The ironic thing is, most of the urban exploration I’ve been doing has been out in the countryside; abandoned amusement parks or hotels up in the mountains, or old bunkers out by the coastline. Perhaps in my case calling it “exploring modern ruins” would be more accurate, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Urbex. Recently however, I’ve been doing some actual urban exploration.
Whenever I’m out and about, could be the morning commute, could be running some errands after work or whatever else, I keep my eyes open for places that have the tell tale signs of being abandoned; often it’s the dark, empty windows that tell you a place is abandoned, some places are overgrown by trees and bushes, and sometimes it’s just a general state of dilapidation. Whatever the signs are, I make a mental note of it, hoping to get a chance to take a closer look some day in the future. But here’s the thing, it’s often not clear if someone owns these buildings or if they are truly abandoned, and I’m not willing to break in to a place that might actually belong to someone, especially in the city with lots of other people around who might report me to the police. Thanks to my drone, I have a way around this problem; I can safely explore from the sky without getting in trouble. Recently I’ve been spending my free time doing just that, going to the various abandoned buildings in the city that I’ve noted, and checking them out using the drone. I’ve gathered the pictures from these little outings in this post, hope you enjoy them.
The Giant Lantern
Sometime around 2012 or 2013 Hsinchu City acquired the Taiwanese pavilion from the 2010 World Expo and had it rebuilt next to one of the main roads in the city not too far from the downtown area. It is shaped like a giant floating lantern with a big sphere inside covered in screens that could project various images. At first you could only admire it from the outside but in 2015 (if memory serves) they built a big shopping mall next to it. Business was bad for whatever reason and the place closed within a year. It has been deteriorating since then. Now I’ve finally been able to explore it after it closed its doors for good.
The Traditional House
Since starting my new job I’ve been trying to find a good route to go to work in the morning. In the hopes of finding a way to bypass some of the rush hour traffic jam, I tried a bunch of small alleys and backstreets. While exploring some of these alleys I noticed a building with dark empty windows, surrounded by the type of corrugated metal fence that I’ve seen around some other ruins. Since I’ve made this particular alley part of my daily commute I’ve been able to confirm that the place is indeed abandoned. I don’t know anything about this place except that it looks very much like a traditional Taiwanese house with three buildings in a horse shoe shape around a courtyard. There are also a number of other buildings attached to it, I guess you could call it a compound. What’s interesting is that it’s right next to one of the busiest streets in the city yet it seems to have been left alone until recently when the fence was installed.
Random shots from inside the courtyard
Random shots of the roof covered in junk
The Veterans’ Housing
Throughout Taiwan, especially in the north, you can find housing complexes for veterans who came to Taiwan together with Chiang Kai Shek in 1949. Many of these were originally meant to be temporary so the quality of the construction was pretty low. Over time most of them have been torn down and replaced with more modern buildings, the veterans getting new apartments for free. I kind of stumbled on one such place that was about to be torn down and took the chance to explore it before it was turned into rubble.
The right side of the street is mostly whole but very overgrown
The left side of the street is les overgrown but looks like it’s falling apart
The Highly Secure Ruin
Across the street from one of the breakfast shops me and my wife used to frequent is a house that looks like it’s been untouched for years. I’ve always been curious about it but have never been able to get more than a glimpse as the concrete wall around it is high and topped with a mix of razor wire and broken glass. It feels kind of bizarre that someone would care so much about security but then just leave the place to crumble. Thanks to the drone I was able to get a better look of the other side of the wall.
The Ruin Under The Bridge
Right next to one of the main bridges over the train tracks, partially hidden from view by the bridge fence, is a crumbling old house that I think most people never notice, even if they pass by every day. It’s at one end of a big parking lot and people do park next to the old brick walls but I doubt they ever pay much attention to the house itself. From what I can tell, there are two connected houses one really old wooden one and a newer one that sort of encapsulates the old one as if it was built to protect it. tI can’t really say much more about it so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The Guard Station
In the hills outside Hsinchu, just ten minutes from the Hsinchu Science Park and TSMC (the world’s biggest manufacturer of semiconductors) is a small abandoned building. When I was there I bumped into a local man walking his dog. He explained it used to be the guard station for a gated community that was being built in the area but apparently the project was never finished. The road down to the actual community was closed off and the guard house was left to crumble.
Selection of shots from the guard station
Not far from the giant lantern is a collection of dilapidated old houses grouped together. The buildings are all quite different and look like they were built at different times. There’s nothing connecting them together other than the fact that they’re in the same area. I cant find any reason for all of them to be abandoned. My best guess is that the land owners, or possibly the city government, have evicted everyone living there but the land is yet to be sold, so the buildings have been left unattended and started to deteriorate. I think this is one of the more interesting modern ruins in the city, simply because there’s so much to look at, and I’ve taken my drone there several times.
Selection of shots from two different visits
Mixed shots from the tall building with big balconies
The Small House On The Corner.
Right on the corner between the busy Guangfu Road and a side street is a small, crumbling house. It occupies a space between a brick wall and the road, that could be used for parking so you’d think the city would be quick to take it down, but for whatever reason it’s still there. The place is absolutely full of junk, mostly the old furniture left inside but also trash likely thrown in through the open windows by people passing by. There are several personal items from the people who used to live there, among them some old photos. I think it’s interesting, but also kind of tragic, that people would leave stuff like that behind. I can’t help but wonder where the people living there have gone, and why the stuff is still there.
No overview this time, just a collection of exterior and interior shots