Sunlight pouring through a window frame with several missing glass panes produces interesting geometric rhythms on the floor of the Packard Plant in Detroit, June 2009. The area of the plant that produced these shadows was quite interesting, it housed a crane that sat on a horizontal track about 50 feet in the air. Due to the weight of the machinery, steel beams and trusses were abundant in this section, making it a high value target for metal scrappers. For this very reason, the section was torn down by a scrap crew a few months after this photo was taken, the legality of their actions is highly doubtful. With the value of raw materials continuing to sky rocket following the turn of the millennium, 2009 saw a massive influx of scrappers to the Packard Plant. Prior to 2009, it was not uncommon to encounter a guy filling up a pickup truck with whatever he could get his hands on. (Window frames, such as the ones that produced this image were very popular and are becoming a rare sight in the complex.) However, 2009 saw the introduction of full fledged scrap crews, toting 500 pound acetylene torches, fork lifts, and dump trucks. This particular crew made quick work of every part of the plant that had steel trusses for roofing, and even took town the water tower on the north end in 2011. Larger estimates guess that the scrappers have reduced the square footage of the plant from 3.5 million square feet down to 2 or 2.5 million.
- Nicolas Boileau