Tiny Spaces

An old building transformed into a couple of parking spaces near the Hsinchu State Office.

Recently I have gotten somewhat more serious about documenting , the faint traces of structures that once were. I found this particular example on Rén’ài Street 仁愛街 not far from the Hsinchu State Office 新竹州廳 (sometimes called the Hsinchu Municipal Government Hall) in . Google Street View reveals that this tiny space has been used for parking since at least 2009—but at some point someone must have made a life here in the spaces between.

An Empty Shell on Dayong Street 大勇街屋

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Broken open south of the new Taichung Station.

The south side of central is undergoing massive changes with the opening of the new Taichung Station. Formerly one of the most rundown parts of urban , it is now the front of the station, and many old and decrepit buildings like this house on Dàyǒng Street 大勇街 are being torn down to make way for lucrative new developments. It is a minor ruin, one for which I have uncovered no specific history, although a little sleuthing around on Google Street View indicates the building was still intact in February 2015 and boasted a simple signboard for a tea shop: 茶點複合式冷飲. Judging by the construction style I would guess this place dates back to the 1960s, give or take a decade. Gathered here are several photos shared more for their aesthetic appeal than intrinsic historic value.

Just Out Of Reach

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Shelving on the streets: the remains of a home demolished during a road widening project in Taoyuan.

On my way to Fugang Old Street 富岡老街 in I noticed something peculiar jutting out of a building high above the street. A closer look revealed this to be a vintage teal shelving unit still attached to the wall, a reminder that someone’s home once stood here. No doubt the building that formerly occupied this space had been demolished as part of a road widening project—proof of which seemed evident in the presence of a sidewalk below my feet, an unusual sight for a small town in rural . Thanks to the magic of Google Street View’s history feature I was able to confirm this hunch and even identify the name of the shop out front, Jiāfāng Restaurant 嘉芳飲食店, which was still there as recently as 2012. These figments of the past, much like the shelf on the wall, remain just out of reach.

Spaces In Between

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The ghostly imprint of a vanished building in Xinpu, Taiwan.

All angles aligned to create this sublime scene in the gaps of , a small historic town in , . This ghost building straddled the midpoint of the property line dividing the town in two. To the left are buildings facing north and front onto Chenggong Road 成功路, the traditional old street; to the right are those buildings that face south toward Zhongzheng Road 中正路, the main commercial thoroughfare running through modern Xinpu. From the position of the lower set of postholes—only slightly more than a meter from ground level—I would infer that a small storage shed once stood here, far back from the main road, but that’s only a guess. A quick scan of Google Street View’s history feature reveals that the now-demolished buildings fronting onto the street housed a pharmacy and general store so this hypothesis is at least plausible.

Ghostly Vesicle

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Impressions of the past in Nantou City.

The dense urban landscapes of are punctuated by ghostly vesicles, jagged outlines of demolished buildings on properties that haven’t been redeveloped. This process leaves a curious residue on the interface between cells of the city: distinct traces of flooring and rooftops, wallpaper and tiling, zigzagging stairways and more. Occasionally one will even see shelving and other furnishings still attached to walls three or four storeys up, an absurd phenomenon reminiscent of the “inconvenience stores” of The Far Side.