Destroying Buildings

28. Januar 2014 - gesus - Lesezeit: 3 min.

architektur english fotografie gedanken urban exploration

Buildings are constructed by humans and intended to last for a very long time. If you think about a force that may destroy buildings around you, you may think about explosives or devastating weapons.

When you walk through a decaying piece of industrial brownfield, you get to know a different type of destructive force: mother nature.

When a building is constructed, nature loses some area wich is now occupied by human beings. When those buildings are abandoned and left-behind, nature slowly takes back the area step by step.

Plants and moss

First you can see a few colonies of moss on the masonry or on the roof tiles. Ferns follow and after a few years, other plants like grass of even trees are growing all over.



While grass, plants and moss break down the masonry very tardily, the roots of a tree (i.e. birches) can disintegrate a wall within a few years.

Once I saw a building with a few trees on the rooftop. When I entered the building on the ground floor, I saw that the roots of the birches thrilled down from the roof to the joints of the masonry in the ground story.

Trees and masonry (zoom)

So as time passes by, those mosses, ferns, plants, trees and other vegetation are able to dismantle huge buildings and raze them to the ground.

By the way, sometimes people help nature destroying those buildings like in this bakery:


A police squad did an exercise with explosives in this building. Fortunately we weren’t in there when they did that ;-)



Coking Plant

14. Januar 2014 - gesus - Lesezeit: 3 min.

architektur english fotografie urban exploration

Some months ago I visited  a former coking plant. These of the pictures try to show the the incredible atmosphere


This coking plant and the surrounding area looked like a cathedral which was bombed in World War III. Those two huge chimneys of the former coking plant have been blown down to secure this brownfield area but they were expected to fall down to the grassland and not into the building. On the picture above you can see the damage of the building due to that fallen chimney.

This is the blasted chimney.

Warzone Cathedral

Walking on this area felt like walking within a ware zone. Everything looks like bombs have fallen down and huge relicts of the former industry buildings are getting overgrown by vegetation.

Going up to the control tower was a very special feeling with a beatiful view of that building and the swath of destruction which was reclaimed by birches, bushes and buzzards.

birch cathedral

Out for a break

The entire factory was disassembled in Germany and rebuilt in China in the 2000s.

Chinese Handcart

Coking Hallway


You can see the entire photo collection on the flickr-set.

Military Museum

8. Januar 2014 - gesus - Lesezeit: 3 min.

english fotografie technologie urban exploration


Last November we visited an abandoned museum. It was about military technology and a lot of exhibits were just standing on an acre or a yard like the soviet-designed medium twin-turbine Transport helicopter Ми-8 (Mil Mi-8, see above).

Lots of tanks (mainly German Bundeswehr or Former Warsaw Pact army), police trucks, a few combat aircrafts, military helicopters as well as civilian helicopters are just standing there under the open sky and are fully exposed to wind and weather. The pictures show, what all the corrosion made to those former high tech military products.

When you approach to the location, you can see the MiG-21 (МиГ-21, called “Fishbed”) from far away.


In the front garden of the neighbor’s house you can see an old police-vehicle with a water cannon on it. Wasserwerfer 64 was designed by the police of West Berlin in 1964. “Bitte Abstand halten” means “Please keep your distance”.

Wasserwerfer 64

The BTR-60 (below) was an armored soviet personnel carrier. The vehicle was used by the NVA (East-Germany).


A second exemplar of a Mig 21 was standing in the yard. The soviet supersonic jet fighter once was owned by the NVA and became a Bundeswehr machine after the German reunification.


On the image below you can see the soviet 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled artillery vehicle.

2С3 Ака́ция

The image below shows a German Kanonenjagdpanzer 4-5.


You can see all pictures on the flickr set. Thanks to Patrick for all the technical infos.

Old Bathhouse

5. Januar 2014 - gesus - Lesezeit: 2 min.

architektur english fotografie urban exploration

Grand Pool

This old bathhouse was built in 1929. It consisted of two pools originally intended to have separate pools for men and women.  After years passed by, one pool was covered with hardwood floor and it was used as a gymnasium for the school next to the building. The floor at some point was demolished as there were multiple fire incidents probably due to some vandals.

Balcony and Pool



Even today you can smell a touch of chlorine when you enter the building. Because of the fires, this smell changes if you are in the ‘dark pool’ room (below). The basketball board is a relict of those times, the room was used as a gymnasium.

Basket Ball Pool

United States 2013

2. Januar 2014 - gesus - Lesezeit: 10 - 13 min.

architektur english fotografie natur reisen usa

Mather Point, Grand Canyon, Arizona

In 2013 my wife and me travelled to the United States of America for the very first time. It really was a dream for me. As a student I came to the decision that I have to see this country in the near future.

Unfortunately it lasted a lot of years unless we finally did the trip. And we both are sure, that this won’t be the last time we went there.

In Los Angeles we met our wonderful family and rented an RV to start our tour to San Francisco, which was 2.400 miles long and took us to the following destinations:

  • Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  • Navajo Bridge, Arizona
  • Lake Powell, Arizona
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  • Zion Nation Park, Utah
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Lake June, California
  • Yosemite National Park, California
  • San Francisco, California

View our adjusted route on Google Maps.

1. Joshua Tree National Park, California

(flickr set)

Most of the people we talked to couldn’t understand why we wanted to visit this National Park. They said: “Okay, it’s the desert. So what?” As a middle European guy I never saw a real desert, so it was new to me and it was a very good experience I will never forget.

I never thought, that hiking in the desert at above 100º F (38º C) is fun. Before the trip I was convinced that this is only exhausting and hard.

Joshua Trees and Rocks


2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

(flickr set)

Everybody knows about the Grand Canyon. Some say it is the most popular tourist attraction of the United States. For sure you can read anything about it and see almost every picture of it, but when you are really standing in front of this gigantic hole in the ground for the first time you will be paralyzed.

Here we learned to love US National Parks. Although there were thousands of tourists, it didn’t feel very crowded. The park rangers and the park infrastructure were very well and so you can go on several hikes, explore the park with your car, with the free bus shuttles or you can join the park ranger program.

Check out route on Google maps.


Mather Point, Grand Canyon, Arizona

3. Navajo bridge, Arizona

(flickr set)

A bridge above the Colorado River… a gigantic view which will let you know how difficult it might be to build a bridge connecting both rims.

Navajo Bridge


4. Lake Powell, Arizona

(flickr set)

It is a little bit bizarre, when you leave the desert and drive to this lake. Almost everybody wants to do water-sports there and the lake is surrounded by the aridity of the desert. Nevertheless it was quite refreshing to stay a couple of days there.


Glen Canyon Dam

Check out route on Google Maps.

5. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

(flickr set)

Who hasn’t heard about this Canyon? When we started our journey I thought, that Antelope Canyon will be one of the main attractions on the route. As we were there, we made the experience that indeed it is an especially beautiful cave/ canyon but it was very crowded, too crowded. A photo tour through that Canyon was too short and very stressful. But nevertheless it was really amazing.

Upper Antilope Canyon


6. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

(flickr set)

I have never seen comparable landscape shapes. You walk or drive through this national Park and think that you are on another planet. A hike to the ground of the Canyon is highly recommended.

Sunset Point


View the route on Google Maps.

7. Zion National Park, Utah

(flickr set)

Zion National Park has some impressive rock formations and a lot of hiking trails. If you want to drive through the Mount Carmel Highway Tunnel with an RV you have to drive very carefully. Stay on the middle of the road, otherwise the roof of your RV will crash against the inner surface of the tunnel! I will never forget this tour (Fortunately it was very easy to drive there and nothing happened to the RV’s roof :-) ).

Zion Mount Carmel Highway

Check out our route on Google Maps.

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

(flickr set)

Nothing to say about Las Vegas, everybody knows it. There is no place in the world which feels more artificial. After a night or so, you lose the feeling of time and you flow with the most people there… just gambling. You have to love it or hate it… I love it ;)

New York New York Hotel

Check out route on Google Maps.

9. Lake June, California

(flickr set)

This place on the east boundary of Yosemite National Park reminded me of the alps. Beautiful lake June was too cold to go swimming there, but it is located in a terrific scenery with snow-capped mountains all around.

Lake June


10. Yosemite Nation Park, California

(flickr set)

Another Planet. The first thoughts I had on the first miles of the Tioga Pass: The landscape looks like a picture book. Everything is so beautiful and looks perfect. We spent almost a week there and I still have the feeling that this was much too short.


Half Dome

Check out our route on Google Maps.

Yosemite National Park was the last destination of our RV-tour. After that we had to drop off our motorhome in San Francisco. We traveled 2.400 miles within 22 days, burned 190 gallons of gas, visited four US states and six national parks. Going that tour by RV was really great, I think it was the best way to do the trip.

Check out our route on Google Maps.

11. San Francisco, California

(flickr set)

After all those lonesome places (except Vegas) we visited San Francisco. What a city! We have to come back there. I never thought that walking on the Golden Gate Bridge was so affecting. I couldn’t believe it, but it was so moving. This is only one fact why San Francisco is so cool; the people, architecture, the climate… everything was perfect. I think San Francisco has become my favorite city of the world.

Golden Gate Bridge

Unfortunately San Francisco was the last destination on that journey. There are a lot of things to see in this country, and we will come back. That’s a promise.

Cologne, Rhine River Promenade

20. Dezember 2013 - gesus - Lesezeit: 2 - 3 min.

architektur english fotografie reisen urbanes


If you travel to Germany, you have to see the city of Cologne. It is famous for the extraordinary Carnival and the Dome. But in almost any part of the city you find beautiful places with nice architecture and lovely people.


The Cologne Waterfront is a very impressive part of the city. If you walk from the city center southwards, you get to an area, where sophsticated architectural buildings are situated.

The “Kranhäuser” are a landmark, which can be seen from far away. The “Crane-buildings” were developed by Linster, Bothe, Richter, Teherani and look like this:



Below: “Kranhäuser” seen from the other side of the Rhine River (Schäl Sick, Kölsch: “wrong side”)



If you continue your journey southbound, you get to the Oval Offices (Architects: Sauerbruch and Hutton) at the Railway station “Schönhauser Straße”.

Oval Offices


Patio air


You can see all photos on the flickr photo set.


22. April 2013 - gesus - Lesezeit: 2 min.

english fotografie urban exploration

Storage rack

Finally the winterbreak is over and I managed to take some new pictures. Really missed the smell of old machine oil and industrial decay ;-)

The following photographs are taken in an old chamotte production site in Germany.

Ring binder

Pallet jack



Fire exit



You can see all photographs on the Chamotte factory fickr-set.

Black and White revisions

6. April 2013 - gesus - Lesezeit: 2 min.

english fotografie urban exploration


It was cold outside and I was too lazy to do some photographs, so I went through my old pictures and created some hard boiled black and white revisions.

Crank B&W Fuse Box B&W Tank B&W Ceasefire B&W   Blue Bridge B&W You can see all the photographs in the flickr-set b&w revisions

Tiger Study

10. Februar 2013 - gesus - Lesezeit: 2 min.

english fotografie natur tiere


A study of a young tiger and his mom.

Tiger and perforated ball

Swimming Tiger


Tiger's mom


You can see all picture of the Tiger Study on Flickr.


2. Januar 2013 - gesus - Lesezeit: 1 min.

architektur english fotografie

Geleucht by g3sus

“Geleucht” is the title of this landmark situated in Moers, Germany. This memorial is about the decades of coal mining in this area and it stands on top of a spoil tip of a former coal mine. The landmark – designed by Otto Piene – is illuminated every night and is part of the “Route Industriekultur“.

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