another place that has been important to me personally was demolished recently. "wildschek lacke", a paint factory which was located in viennas 23rd district. as always, this is quite saddening because these little islands of freedom become increasingly rare as time passes. it is a deplorable trend that places such as these gradually fade away.
an especially sad sight to behold was when i passed the factory by train the other day and saw the big pipes and tubs taken out and thrown on the floor; it has laid on the ground like a dead giant kraken on a seashore...
it has become a hobby of mine to go on these little adventures, trying to spot abandoned places and looking through them, i've been doing this more or less actively for a good ten years, but i found it interesting even as an adolescent.
i disavow the term urban exploring because i loathe the culture urban explorers express. there is a certain "codex of behavior" among these people and of course it consists of the same exact stuffy bourgeois attitude these clowns always express... they literally want you not to touch or move any objects in the building, let alone do graffiti or destroy something. they want to expand their collective narcissistic control fetish to these places too. they can't take it that a place for people outside of their narrow spectrum exists. i am sorry to tell you: your soft power does not apply here. you'll have to go to some other place that fits your state of mind (which is literally anywhere apart from here). fuck them. go and destroy anything you like. you're not bound by their stupid rules.
just by chance when i was about to visit a different abandoned factory a few months ago in gumpoldskirchen, lower austria, i have met the owner of said factory in front of it. i asked him about the state of the factory and if he is going to demolish it. he reluctantly answered me (he didn't seem to like me because i looked like a person about to enter his property, not wrong on that one) that yes, he will demolish it, because these evil young people have celebrated parties in it and destroyed it! what an amazing testimony if you consider that the factory has been abandoned and not taken care for since the fucking 70's. weather related damages simply did not exist for that man. but enough with that anecdote.
a term i have recently picked up on is "non-place", which essentially denotes a monofunctional place in which people frequent, however no communication takes place. examples for this would be bus stops, public toilets or supermarkets.
however, i do not think that term applies to "lost places" such as the beloved old paint factory i have told you about. first of all, "monofunction" doesn't apply, since there is basically no function. second of all, the frequency of people doesn't matter to these places. once abandoned, the place completely loses it's "point". since it seemingly doesn't fulfill any pragmatic purpose, it becomes opposed to our capitalist world (hence why the efforts to destroy them always seem to be on highest priority...). so i like to call these places anti-places or anti-environments.
that's why i always enter a state of mind of calmness when i enter one of these, i just take everything in without thinking about anything too much. for a moment of time you are able to leave "reason" and enter a place that shouldn't exist according to the structure of our world. nothing that matters outside applies. that is also sometimes reflected in it's aesthetics. the typical principles of urban planning not only do not apply, but aren't even considered to be a factor for, let's say for example a factory site, resulting in structures and forms a typical boring urban planner would have never even been capable of dreaming of.
the sad state of affairs is though, that gen-z and millennials might be the last generations to truly enjoy these places to this extent. in my hometown of vienna i can count dozens of spots where theres now an office, an apartment building with overpriced housing or some other garbage built on the site of a previous anti-place.