Writer: Gem Barton
As an introduction to our architecture month I want to share with you the work of Aurelien Villette, an inspiring French photographer who has dedicated the last 4 years of his life to documenting old/forgotten/abandoned buildings. In a time when design and building happens at such an astonishing speed, it’s reassuring to know that some people are looking back and appreciating what we already have – not in a conservation sense or even in a documentary sense, but as pure and honest research into spatial qualities.
“These old structures are the last witnesses of architecture with the aim to last an eternity.”
I spoke with Aurelien about his newest piece of research, focused on structures, “Everything depends on my research. Actually, I am searching for basic structures like storage depots; I am looking for symmetry, variety in volume and structure. I find these characteristics in particular in abandoned places that are empty which helps to underline the sheer size of these places. The light plays a very important role, too. Another interesting factor concerning the research is the abandoned place itself because you can see the process of deterioration in the structures (plastics, concrete, wood). There is deterioration due to humidity, vegetation and so on. I would like to show with my pictures how architecture has evolved and what is has become after having been abandoned. I am also looking for stairs because they often build/present the most solid structures of a building.”
I must admit to being surprised when I asked Aurelien if he had any formal architectural training to find out he had none. “Not really. At the beginning, I wanted to take some lessons in design/architecture, but finally I studied IT / Computer science.” I believe it is this lack of standard conditioning that makes his imagery so powerful. He follows his gut, and his instinct and of course carefully plans his shots.
Highly recommended: you can see more of Aurelien’s inspiring work on his website: http://www.adonis-photografic.com