The first time I learned about urban renewal was when I was taking an urban studies course when back in university. It involves the relocation of the local population and businesses. It also involves demolishing the original buildings and replacing them high density structures. Many neighbourhoods in Seoul have already gone through this process and you can tell by the concrete residential towers which are a common sight in the city's skyline. There are a few original neighbourhoods that are currently going through urban renewal and today I had the chance to visit one of them. This particular neighbourhood is mostly empty with a few remaining residents who refuse to move. The area is slated to be demolished and replaced with the same residential towers which surround the area. It was weird walking through a place where the previous residential buildings are just now hallow shells waiting to be torn down. It looked like something out of an apocalyptic scene and it set a stark contrast with the new apartment towers which were sitting across the street. The neighbourhood itself is quite big and due to the lack of time, I could only explore a portion of it and had to leave. Hopefully, I'll be able to visit the place before the whole place gets torn down.
While I was on the bus on to the starting point of my trek along the coastline, an abandoned site caught my eye. Once I got off the bus, I headed towards the site and I realized it was an abandoned school. From what I could find, the school was constructed in the early 70s and later turned into a folk art museum before closing down. Although the field is overgrown with vegetation, there was a garden in the back so I'm assuming the locals come here from time to time. Unfortunately the windows and the doors were locked so I couldn't go check inside. The interior shots were taken through the windows.
We arrived on site when the sun was beginning to set over the mountains in the distance. There was this eerie yet beautiful atmosphere while we were exploring the site. The light was soft and it made everything look gorgeous, The favourite photo was the one of the Merry-Do-Round but it took a bit of thinking and composing to make it seem as if the horses were alive, It did feel quite odd exploring a place which used to be filled with laughter and happiness since now quietly decays slowly under the foot of the mountain. Our goal was to fully explore the park but adventure was cut short after the guard caught me climbing up the stairs up the roller coaster. I need to work on my ninja skills.
The place was an unexpected find in general. It seems to have closed down for some time and most of the entrances were welded shut until we found a small opening and we went it. Behind the walls was this massive space with over hanging beams suggesting the area was an assembly line. The further we ventured, the darker it got so we had to turn on our flash lights in some areas. It was a bit dangerous since there were places where you could easily trip over or fall into in the darkness. Since the air was unbearable, we didn't venture too deep into the complex and headed out for fresh air.
My friends and I planned this trip back in February about visiting this large abandoned school on this very weekend. Once we all arrived on site, we found out that the locals who were tending their fields right outside the school grounds were trying to find out what we were up to hence we took a big detour until we finally arrived near the building. The school itself is quite large, having two wings which were five floors each and had a lot of classrooms. As we explored the site, there were some rooms which were badly burnt, but the classrooms more or less looked the same, with the people before us either leaving their name on the blackboards or spray painting on the wall. One thing we didn't expect to find was the basement, which had a large mechanical pump or something sitting in the far left corner, which only be seen if you had a flashlight. To actually illustrate how large the school was, it took a good 2 hours to fully explore the whole building.
While I was coming back from the doctor's office yesterday afternoon, I stumbled upon what seemed to be an abandoned building at a busy intersection in town. Doing a bit of scouting, I found out the doors were unlocked and I decided to check out the site this morning. This building used to be the office for the Daejeon Maeil (Daily) Newspaper but was later converted into a restaurant which occupied the first two floors leaving the third floor as a private residence. Most of the windows were stripped from the building. Since it was standing in a busy corner of the intersection, I stayed close to the walls so I wouldn't be spotted by the locals. There was a lot of of rubble and shards of glass laying all over the site. After a good 30 minutes of looking around, I decided to call it a day and head home.
Update: The building has been demolished
It's been a week since the workers were finished tearing down the insides of the old building. Now that all the rubbish has been cleared away, the main structure has been slowly torn down. This morning, there is nothing left of the original building except for re-bar and chunks of concrete. I went onto the site one last time to document the final stages of the demolition before it becomes nothing more than a distant memory.
Last Sunday, I headed up north to Gyeonggi to meet up with some awesome photographers to explore an abandoned movie set. It was pretty neat being around these faux traditional buildings because some of them where pretty well built. The interiors weren't that exciting though. For some reason, I forgot to charge my camera battery but thankfully one of the photographers lent me his camera and an extra SD card so I could take the photos that you see below. We all agreed that the site would be a pretty cool place to make short films and photo shoots since everything is already there. If you have time, check out my "Please Also Visit" section.
After visiting the school on Hwangdo, I headed back to the main road to explore another abandoned school. This school and the school on the island both were originally independent schools but later were incorporated as branch schools of Changgi Elementary respectively in 1999 (This school) and 2003 (Hwangdo). On the way to this school, I was surprised to see pheasants since I've never seen one before in the wild. After a good 20 minute walk, I finally arrived to the site. The school was relatively easy to enter. Most of the windows have been removed on one side of the building. The school was built in 1984. Although built 29 years after the school on Hwangdo was established, the interiors of both schools were remarkably similar. There was a peacefulness while exploring the classrooms of the school with the breeze rattling the old wooden window frames. Parts of the floor had started to collapse and I didn't dare test to see if they held my weight. The very end of the hallway was bored up and it there was no way of opening the door. Peering from the outside, it looked it served as a storage room. One of the spookier parts of the school were the toilet. This is probably from watching too many Korean horror films but I still did go in explore the toilet stalls. Overall it was an interesting day and after walking 5 kilometers from the island to the main road, I called it a day and headed back home
This abandoned school is located on an island which is connected by a bridge to the mainland. Interestingly, it is a local attraction where the school buildings have been colorfully decorated. What used to be the field is now part of the public area for the residents of the island as well as a bus stop. The entire site is quite small, consisting of three small buildings which are all accessible. The school grounds is over grown with vegetation. Exploring inside the buildings felt like a step back in time. Most of the interior gives off the feel of something built in the 60s with wooden window and door panels. The building which I first went housed the teachers office, the computer room and the library. The two other buildings were the classrooms, with three classroom each. Aside from being completely accessible to the public, it was still an interesting find.
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