Sliding the Past into the Future
Came across this terrific slide show (in more ways than one, waaah wah) posted on the NY Times examining the fall of the Berlin Wall. First time I’d seen a technique like this presented so elegantly. Check it out, I guarantee you’ll get hooked on sliding the pictures back and forth. (As an aside, I can’t figure out if photographers were commissioned to recreate the old pictures, or if they are stock photos photo-shopped to match – anyone know?)
Anyway, as cool as this is, the real reason this grabbed my attention was the perspective it offered on both the loss of older buildings in a city, but more importantly the reuse of older buildings. Some are restored, some are integrated into newer buildings. Before/after photo comparisons aren’t anything new, but the ability to seamlessly layer the pictures in this way provides a terrific opportunity to examine what happened to the buildings in the photographs.
For example, in the 2nd photograph, Along Ebertstrasse, you can see how development filled the dead space, but planners saw fit to not only keep the historic buildings bookending the blocks, but to also have architecture that pays tribute to and compliments the older buildings (note the continuation of the equally spaced symmetrical windows). Similar efforts to acknowledge and maintain the past while moving forward are shown in the 3rd photograph, as well. As a bonus on this one you can see the beautiful glass dome added on the left.
Flipping these sliders back and forth got me thinking about what a powerful preservation tool this could be. A city like Toronto, which has had a checkered past as far as protection of heritage buildings goes, seems to quickly forget what was once here in it’s rush to build the next glass and concrete box. Perhaps every city should be able to overlay what we have now and what we had then in order to take stock of what we have, what we lost, and what we could have done better.
Anyone else come across similar slide shows out there?