A couple of weeks ago my friend told me he had found a bunch of abandoned buildings in central Hsinchu, not far from where I live. One Saturday when I had a bit of time for myself I grabbed my camera and my flashlight and went to check them out.

Since becoming interested in urban exploration I’ve been to all kinds of abandoned buildings; factories, hotels, amusement parks, police stations, military tunnels, temples and so on. This list of course includes ordinary houses but as I started to explore the first one, I soon realized this was more than just a house; this had been a home. What I mean by that might not be entirely clear, after all, most abandoned houses have been homes at some point. This place however, felt like it had been lived in right up until the point that it became abandoned, as if the people living there had packed up and left all of a sudden, leaving any non essential things behind.

The next room had less furniture but was full of kids stuff

Bedroom behind the office

On the top floor I found the two rooms that felt the most lived in. One must have belonged to a teenage girl and the other to a girl who was a couple of years younger. It’s not just the amount of stuff left in these rooms that makes them feel lived in, but also what kind of stuff and where it is in the room; pieces of paper on a bulletin board, arts and craft supplies in a desk drawer, a shirt thrown over the back of a chair. I actually felt a sort of loneliness in the atmosphere in those two rooms, as if the two girls who used to live there had left part of their lives behind.

Teenage girl’s room

The room belonging to the younger sister is far more messy

There’s so much stuff on this bulletin board

In the next house there was a big pile of junk in the little courtyard just inside the front gate, but a lot less stuff inside. Still, there were enough things left in the house to get some kind of impression of the people who used to live there.

Stuff left behind

House number three felt more lived in than the others, in fact it seemed to me that people might still be living there, so I didn’t dare go inside. The last house was fairly empty compared to the first two and felt more like an ordinary abandoned house. However, I found a calendar on the wall marked 2021 so people did actually live there until quite recently. I guess that, unlike their neighbors, they must have brought most of their stuff with them when they moved out. However, there was still enough stuff left to give a glimpse into the lives of the people who used to call this home.

The first floor was pretty empty but there’s a lot more stuff on the second floor.

Bunch of shots from the top floor

I’m not sure I’ve managed to fully capture the atmosphere of being “lived in” that I felt while exploring these houses but I hope so. Urban exploration is my hobby so naturally I find it enjoyable but this time there was something else as well; a sort of melancholy feeling that I’ve never felt in any other abandoned building. Maybe you’ve also felt it looking at my pictures?