Category Archives : Architecture & Infrastructure


HISTORY – A New Kowloon Walled City 15-min Documentary & Book 3

Diana Jou and Lara Day of the Wall Street Journal have produced a new 15-minute documentary about the Kowloon Walled City. Once the densest place on Earth, the colourful, maze-like hotbed of of ‘crime, grime, commerce and hope’ was torn down 20 years ago…

Below are shots from ‘City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City‘ – a photobook by Greg Girard and Ian Lambot.

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The duo are planning an expanded, follow-up edition…


BLOG – If Everyone Lived at the Same Density As Hong Kongers… 10

Over the summer, two sets of maps showing population density (here and here) went viral. Each of the them demonstrated how much land would be required for the entire human race if everyone lived at a similar density as a chosen country. However, Hong Kong – which has one of the highest population densities in the world – was not included.

Thus, Hong Wrong did the maths and below is a map showing how Earth’s entire human population could relocate to Egypt if they adopted HK’s high-rise lifestyle…

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Click to enlarge

Mongkok is home to 130,000 people per square kilometre, whilst Hong Kong itself boasts 6,544 people per square kilometre.


BLOG – Kowloon Walled City Recreated in Japan: Pictures 5

Home to 33,000 people, the notorious Kowloon Walled City was torn down by the colonial government in the 1990s. There are few photos or videos of what life was like within its infamous walls, but you can view a brief history here and see some shots of the sprawling community before it was demolished.

Though only a park remains on the site today, a new games arcade has recreated the Walled City in Kawasaki City, Japan. ‘Digital Kowloon City‘ has an appropriately grimy and industrial atmosphere and includes a mock restaurant, a mock cinema and even a (very out of place looking) escalator…

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Via another-tokyo.com

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Courtesy: David at Randomwire.com


BLOG – Hong Kong 2013 vs. Fritz Lang’s 1927 Masterpiece ‘Metropolis’ 8

Anyone Hong Konger watching Fritz Lang’s 1927 expressionist sci-fi masterpiece ‘Metropolis’ would find it hard to avoid the parallels between the dystopian future he predicted and the high-rise over-populated reality of our city in 2013…

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The functional, eclectic architecture featured in Lang’s sets have sharp, rectangular outlines, dark lighting effects, and intense shadows emphasising the enormity and density of the buildings…

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Jardine House? Or perhaps a NT housing estate?

It is all reminiscent of Michael Wolf’s photography of Hong Kong, which – by far – has the largest number and highest density of skyscrapers in the world…


HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of Kowloon Walled City 40

Last week, the Wall Street Journal released a new 15-minute documentary about the notorious Kowloon Walled City, which was torn down by the colonial government in the 1990s. The collection below focuses more on the exterior with some early photographs and a few rare aerial shots…

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During the Sung Dynasty, between 960 and 1279, East Kowloon’s coastline was a series of salt pans. The Walled City was originally an outpost set up to manage the trade, though little else took place in the area until 1668 when 30 guards were stationed there. The intention was to defend Lei Yue Mun, Kowloon Bay, Hung Hom and Tsim Sha Tsui against foreign invaders and pirates.

It was developed into a small coastal fort in 1810 and was improved in 1847 following the arrival of the British. The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory of 1898 handed the New Territories over to Britain for 99 years, but excluded the Walled City which, by then, had a population of around 700…

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1898 – the year Britain took control of the New Territories

China was allowed to keep officials there as long as they did not interfere with the defence of British Hong Kong. The enclosed area measured 6.5 acres and included six watchtowers, four gates, several military offices, gunpowder stores, weapons stores and soldier’s quarters – all surrounded by canons.


BLOG – How to Tell the Time from the HK Skyline 6

Photographer Patrick Beekers explains how onlookers can tell the time (albeit very roughly, to an interval of 15-minutes) simply by glancing at Central Plaza. The building was completed in 1992, features 78 floors and remains the city’s third tallest skyscraper. It also contains the world’s highest church…

“The part of the summit between the roof and the mast itself functions as a clock; incorporated in the mast’s four spandrel neon bands is a high-tech and high-profile lighting system that changes colouring in a regular sequence every quarter of an hour.

The system works according to a six-hour colour cycle (6pm and 12am: red, 7pm and 1am: white, 8pm and 2am: purple, 9pm and 3am: yellow, 10pm and 4am: pink, and 11pm and 5am: green); every quarter of an hour one neon band changes its current colour to the one of the next hour, so for instance 6,30 pm would have two red bands (lower ones) and two white ones (upper).”

The following chart comes courtesy of Redditor carpediem

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PHOTOGRAPHY – When the MTR Was New 14

The MTR is 35 years old this year and is often hailed as one of the world’s best mass transportation systems. American photographer Leroy W. Demery Jr took photos of the MTR and KCR system in 1980 – a year after it opened. Leroy used a Canon TX SLR camera with Kodachrome colour slide film – he bought it in 1976 and still uses it today.

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