Following the explosion at Lebanon’s heart and capital on August 4, many grow worried about the safety of its historic buildings. Venezuelan architect Gabriela Cardozo decides to visit the famous neighborhoods of Beirut: Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael. With 30 postcards on hand and Joseph Khoury, a photographer and her husband, the couple seek to use their photographs to spread a powerful message about the historic buildings in the cities.

“We didn’t even know what we were going to end up doing. It was just on the way that we said, ‘Okay, we have the postcards here and it looks so different, let’s just leave them, and maybe people will remember how they looked,’” she said. Khoury and Cardozo began the Bouyout Beirut (Houses of Beirut) project in 2016 where it highlights the historic houses in Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael. Even before the explosion, Bouyout Beirut already featured faded buildings caught in its photographs. The very imperfections of the old buildings simply show their raw beauty.

This, however, is what the Lebanese citizens fear the most. Since the end of the civil war, many historic buildings have been either taken down or replaced with modern structures. There’s a possibility that the damage caused by the explosion will be used as an excuse to demolish the rest instead of restoring them. In response to this, 1,500 citizens have been sharing Khoury and Cardozo’s photographs of them holding up postcards from Bouyout Beirut in front of the shattered buildings.

Several threats even from the owners and tenants of the buildings have been constantly showing; one of them is abandoning the structures due to lack of money. Still, volunteers reassure them that they are willing to provide help. Thanks to Khoury and Cardozo’s photographs, they may be able to save the buildings’ historical values, whether they are tattered or not.