decay architecture

The horse raced past the barn fell

The title of this post is a stock example of what psycholinguistic theory calls a "garden path sentence." In this, the reader is fooled by the immediate appearance of the sentence, and ends up with an image that is (at first) very perplexing.

Over my years in photography, I have found the same phenomenon visually when I explore decay in architecture.Those who sojourn with me to the outskirts of Toronto are well aware of my (not-so) secret obsession with abandoned barns and farming complexes. On a recent jaunt, I
happened upon a beautiful site, which, besides a few active chicken coups, was in a state of utter disarray.

I was vaguely aware that the various barns and buildings at one time housed horses, but was shocked at what was left behind.

From the road, the buildings seem rather ordinary (especially with the still well groomed grass), but wandering out back, I found a set of beautiful old silos (I am a bit of a "silophile")...

urban explorationdecay architecture

The area of the massive conduit-like complex which perplexed me the most contained riding gear that must still be very valuable; why was it left behind?

decay architecturetarget=_blank

Certain details gave a rough sense of how long this place had been derelict...

decay architecturedecay architecturedecay architecture

From inside, the dirt-encrusted windows gave a very eerie vision of the state of the property, a sight not visible to mere passers-by...

20101105---barn10.jpg20101105---barn12.jpg

Everything surrounding me was musky and decayed (even for horse stables), but I saw this in a new and beautiful light.

20101105---barn13.jpg

The natural evolution of the built environment necessarily leaves some aspects of itself in the shadows. In these, and indeed much of my other work on this site, I hope to bring light to them through a sacramental perception which sees beauty, even in decay. Like an heirloom, not necessarily used for its initial purpose, these places are still nonetheless inherited and worthy of stewardship -- even if only through a photograph.

(To see the rest of the series, as well as high-res. versions of those pictured above, feel free to visit my flickr slide-show below.)


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

The lost beauty of the TTC's original colour scheme

This is what it was like in Toronto in the 1920s

Anti-masker protest in Toronto turns violent as man tries to storm Queen's Park

Court rules that Toronto is allowed to kick homeless people out of parks

Security video shows wild fight inside Toronto laundromat

Someone keeps pulling fire alarms at different condo buildings in Toronto

This is how you can park for free on major streets in Toronto

Toronto Police arrest man who threatened to shoot up local school