For the first half of our third site visit we seemed to have trouble getting the lights in the entire basement to work. Far from being deterred, everyone was incredibly keen to see the safety deposit room and so made their way into the room with their mobiles pointing ahead, to shed some sort of light. Sometimes a flashlight from one of the cameras illuminated the room and bounced off the many mirrors, indicating where everyone was. 

It was a strange, quietly excited atmosphere as everyone explored the space in the dark, and to me it epitomised the beauty and fascination that non-public abandoned spaces like these hold for their visitors. They seem to possess unknown histories, secrets, possibilities, exclusivity, and turn us into adventures, explorers and researchers.

They give us the opportunity to abandon our usual indifference to the spaces we normally move through and inhabit, to learn to experience a place again, to orientate ourselves, to emotionally respond to them. Their stories and spaces, what we discover in them and how they make us think is like things taking shape in the dark. 

So I selected the above picture which I took with my mobile over Elly's head while she was taking a photo in the darkness.

Carina Schneider
Events & Communications, RIBA West Midlands

Leave a Reply.