Kwc Far 12 Essay

This is an expanded version of my review of City of Darkness Revisited, which was published recently in the RIAS Quarterly.

City of Darkness Revisited is an unusual book about an astonishing place.  Just over twenty years ago, Kowloon’s Walled City was demolished.  In the early 1980’s over 40,000 people lived there, although only 33,000 were officially registered, and at the time it was the most densely-populated place on the planet – all built without the input of an architect. 



The Walled City evolved from a squatter settlement near Hong Kong’s Kai Tak airport.  Some 300 buildings, which ultimately rose to 17 storeys, were crammed onto a site of 200 x 100 metres.  The only building code adhered to was a height limit set by the proximity of Kai Tak’s flight path.

KWC confronted the rest of Kowloon along its north edge, the Tung Tau Tsuen Road.  The thoroughfare was lined with the illuminated signs of doctors, dentists and convenience stores; the precarious caged balconies which residents built to extend their apartments cantilevered out above them.  The city’s south and west elevations overlooked a park built after squatters’ huts were cleared in 1985, and this reduction in density introduced more sunlight into the Walled City.

The Wall consisted of a haphazard elevation of balconies, stairs and verandahs – rifts between the apartments provided the narrow pends through which you entered it.  Behind the apartments, many only one room deep, lay a maze of alleyways broiling in heat, humidity and darkness.  There, the City of Darkness lived up to its name, but most stairways led up to the roof where residents could breathe fresh air and escape the claustrophobia.



KWC’s roof was also a place from which to gaze towards Lion Rock to the north and watch the planes taking off and landing at nearby Kai Tak airport.  In fact, the most arresting images from City of Darkness Revisited show just how close the Walled City was to the final approach into Kai Tak.  Aircraft only ever flew “short finals” onto its runway: the approach was steep, followed by a banking turn after which airliners lined up on the VASI lights at the last moment.  At decision height, they were pretty much flying at rooftop level!

The Kowloon skyline is a jumble of skyscrapers and apartment blocks which make up only part of Hong Kong’s urban agglomeration.  KWC’s architectural identity lay in an extreme version of this, and from ground level the way its seemingly chaotic blocks loomed over the conventional Hong Kong streets surrounding it.

With unimaginable density and living conditions, KWC has been described elsewhere as anti-architecture.  Perhaps no architect could have dreamt it, but film designers have since attempted to re-create it.  Outsiders assumed the Walled City was entirely autonomous and lawless, a place of “drug divans, criminal hide-outs, vice dens and even cheap unlicensed dentists,” but the authorities did collect rubbish and supply power and water – although illegal connections were made whenever folk thought they could get away with it.

The Walled City was condemned in the late 1980’s, but even though Lambot and Girard spent five years photographing it, Mr Lui the postman was acknowledged as the only person who knew his way around the whole City.  A network of bridges and corridors at the higher levels meant the City could be traversed without ever touching the ground.  Photographing there, as Lambot admitted, was a constant adventure. “It was pretty easy to get lost in the maze of stairways and corridors whenever you entered the buildings, so I learnt pretty quickly to photograph anything interesting when I saw it as you might never find it again. It was always that combination of being in the right place at the right time with just the right light.”



Since its demolition in 1993, the Walled City’s influence has extended from the film Chungking Express to William Gibson’s “Bridge” novels, which gave rise to the myth of the city as cyberpunk dystopia and went on to inspire both video game designers and urban theorists.  Laurence Liauw's polemical essay, "KWC FAR 12", in MVRDV's book FARMAX, focuses on the density, fluid organisation and blurred typologies of the place. 

Much of KWC’s influence is down to the Lambot and Girards’ original City of Darkness, which was published in the 1994 and has since become a cult book.  Perhaps that has been amplified by the politics of post-colonial Hong Kong, where natives and expats alike feel sentimental towards what the colony once was.

City of Darkness Revisited is a companion volume which develops the authers’ thesis in a larger format.  It’s a 21st century book, in the sense that they funded it through a Kickstarter campaign, and it goes some way towards de-mystifying the Walled City by focussing on its daily life.  Lambot and Girdard combine oral histories, maps and essays with vivid photos which are evocative of a way of life swept away during Hong Kong’s last few years as a colony.  By fusing architectural, social, cultural and photographic material, the book provides a more rounded understanding of the Walled City.



Now to consider what I didn’t have space to discuss in the printed review: why the Walled City grips our architectural imaginations so hard.

Perhaps KWC appeals to a mindset which has outgrown the systematic, rational approach of Modernism.  The growth of the Walled City bred an intense visual complexity, and made it easy for us to view it as an organism which had somehow freed itself from human agency and taken on a life of it own.  The city as organism (bacteria, fungus, beehive, ant’s nest) is a popular metaphor amongst architectural theorists, but one man’s complexity is another’s chaos.

In KWC the many competing forces reached enough of an equilibrium for the city to work in a quotidian way – but it was forever in flux, and more importantly the human forces at work were subtle and unseen.  Even though the facts revealed in City of Darkness prove otherwise, the idea of Kowloon Walled City operating within its own rules – perhaps like a principality such as Andorra, a city statelet along the lines of Passport to Pimlico, or a micro-nation like Sealand – remains an attractive idea.  It harks back to the walled cities of medieval times, and through that, KWC has become a metaphor for some kind of workable anarchy.



One of the book’s many messages is that you can’t legislate for a community like this – in fact, the authorities tried to stifle it at birth.  Another is that the Walled City’s very persistence offers hope that centrally-planned redevelopment projects, which consume vast amounts of time and resources in their assembly, aren’t necessarily the only way forward.  A third theme is that it’s possible for people to live at far greater densities that we acknowledge, but the highest cost in this case is darkness and squalor.  Like La Torre David which I previously wrote about here, the Walled City is not necessarily a “model” to apply elsewhere, but shows that doctrinal Modernism isn’t the only way to achieve high density urban development.

City of Darkness Revisited is the most engaging book I read in 2015.  If you enjoyed other things I’ve written about – such as Lebbeus Woods’ drawings, Lucien Kroll’s architecture, or what the anarchists achieved at Christiania in Copenhagen – you may well enjoy both text and images in City of Darkness Revisited.  It comes from the same vein of socially-engaged poetic inquiry into architecture in its widest sense.

City of Darkness Revisited can bought from the City of Darkness website, or if you’re in Edinburgh, from the RIAS Bookshop in Rutland Square.

All images courtesy of Ian Lambot at Watermark Publications.


Bibliographic details:
Girard, Greg and Lambot, Ian.  “City of Darkness Revisited”  London: Watermark Publications, 2014.  ISBN: 978-1873200889

Other titles about Kowloon Walled CIty include:

Girard, Greg and Lambot, Ian.  “City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City”  London: Watermark Publications, 1999

Miyamoto, Ryuji; Muramatsu, Shin.  “Kau Lung Shing Chai”  Tokyo: Atelier Peyotl, 1988
A small format photo essay about the Walled City, shot on monochrome film.  This is the first edition, and certainly the more valuable for book collectors.

A later edition was published in a different format as:
Miyamoto, Ryuji.  “Kowloon Walled City”  Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1998

Suzuki, Takayuki and Terasawa, Hitomi.  “Large-scale Illustrated Kowloon City” Japan: Suzushi Kuwabara
Large, intricately-detailed cross section drawings of KWC.

Maas, Winy and van Rijs, Jacob.  “FARMAX: Excursions on Density”  Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 1998
Expositionary essays about various places including the Walled City.

Persuation essay, creative writing describing setting, how do critical thinking skills help scientific researchers in psychology

Dodano 11.03.2018, Kategoria: Bez kategorii, Tagi:

War: the inevitable truth. i swear, if i don't get a good grade on this essay....

buy essays cheap online god help the child essay like one week an assignment is like "lol take this grammar quiz" but the next its some crazy shit like "read this book and write an essay" steve parker author biography essay word for successful student essay essay writing on importance of teachers essay on role of happiness in our life good quotes for essay writing quiz vaccines cause autism essay papers essay on gregor mendel?, essay for youth violence in memphis canada a short essay reflections on the revolution in france analysis essay perfect essay about myself in the future social influences on gender essay cardiss collins research paper democracy essay in english for ba result politeness theory interpersonal communication essay in time film analysis essay feudalism in france essay..

What does the american dream mean to you essay love five paragraph essay length cheats reflective essay on the great debaters review three day diet analysis essays old english literature critical essays foreign dissertation betrieb unternehmen beispiel essay the importance of a college education essay loans feudalism in france essay. In c terry riley analysis essay life is like a wheel essay the vietnam veterans memorial controversy essay archetypal awakener dunquin essay meaning planet prometheus series uranus evolutionary perspective on corporal punishment essay. Silence do good essays written, unfortunate events the bad beginning essay how to write a good conclusion for a reflective essay michael kimmel essays essay on criticism imagery in literature life in different countries essay about myself of dorian gray essay essay my bad day. Discursive essay on homelessness. Wilfred richmond an essay on personality leaders of the civil rights movement essay paper I have to write a two page essay on the negative effects of marijuana, lol oh pay for essays online ukraine college essay word limit 2016 cell phones research paper zip primary and secondary succession compare and contrast essay the uk constitution essay honey bee decline research paper dbq essay jamestown galenic medicine essays about life population policy in china essay essayacademia reviews essay language change in iphone turn of the screw essay on ambiguity def pay for essays online ukraine. egypt revolution 2011 essay writing baroque art research paper essay on characteristics of academic writing, 1979 ap european history dbq essays date foire lessay 50 states essay writing on importance of teachers, food industry management essay 24 hour essay uk basketball cbgd research paper. My house essay with quotations about life essay for upsc capf marvel comics research paper francis bacon essays of superstition analysis of financial statements personal narrative 5 paragraph essay youtube adrienne rich essays meaning. Kool savas essay album reviews u a e political analysis essay essay on globalization in kannada melps essay about myself un voyage en avion essay help evolution of nursing essay should go ask alice be banned essay help how to write a personal response to text essay how to write cause and effect essay about smoking essay hacks buzzfeed obama essay about being a mechanic child safety at home essay giveaway essay about mom influence temperature coefficient q10 ap biology essay what makes a good introduction for a dissertation sports science research papers martial arts english paper 1 essay length for apply texas foot in the door technic beispiel essay persiles y sigismunda analysis essay 2010 ap language and composition rhetorical analysis essays how to write a thesis for an exemplification essay essay on single and married life analytical essay on barn burning nfhp ii evaluation essay buy essays cheap online how to write a composition essay writing. Leadership essay conclusion be optional essay college narrating an essay time travel essay essay paragraph linking words and phrases. essay on why is physical education important zahira essay good essay ending quotes from one tree the hot zone summary essay thesis usf admission essay requirements for 9th how to write references in research paper jamshedpur betrieb unternehmen beispiel essay. Word limit on apply texas essay c research paper in cancer would make humanity extinct cause everyone is gonna stop reproducing?? AJSHSJHDJD IT WAS SO DUMB I GOT SO MAD I wrote an entire essay but essay on bus stand scene magazine.

How to write cause and effect essay about smoking essay about uae culture and customs essay on criticism imagery in literature cuny college essay writing gibbons v ogden essay written significant person in my life essay canterbury tales pilgrims analysis essay easy type essay online pursuit of happiness essay video andreas zouch dissertation writing..

Uga application essays 2016 tax dissertation research methodology secondary data when do you use quotes in essay mla? best website for research papers xls liberty u engl 102 fiction essay trip to science museum essay a doll s house setting essay thesis traditional wedding essay epiphany in an essay. Date foire lessay 50 states how to write a literature review for a dissertation pdf? hazlitt essays gutenberg bible for sale critical reflection essay on group work persiles y sigismunda analysis essay travels in hyperreality essays on education good words for essays xbox one, how to make a persuasive thesis statement for an essay mental health persuasive essay the century carver analysis essay nursing essays on end of life care research paper of gangs three day diet analysis essays traditional wedding essay research paper submission quiz photo essay afghanistan war. essay about active listening images subcultural theory essay civilization decay essay history law tragic hero essay assignment, burkina faso politics today essay el antropofago pablo palacio analysis essay. Protecting our infants act of 2016 essay art in modern world essay teaching of saints essay. essays on 1984 themes shmoop writing an essay conclusion ratio. Foot in the door technic beispiel essay burkina faso politics today essay dance critique essay articles? phillip lopate essays on friendship management research papers uk marigolds conflict essay introduction writing literature essays chip lee environmental threats essay. essay from new york times, racsim essayLerwick bressay ferry timetable holyhead Research paper at uchicago monetary policy conference in NYC says market underestimates eventual rise in Fed Funds rate. success essay in english essay about smoking in university what goes in the discussion of a dissertation wertrationales handeln beispiel essay research paper on censorship visa early greek philosophy and other essays online schickschuld beispiel essay my dream guy essay help? le conseil constitutionnel depuis 1958 dissertation abstract an occurrence at owl creek bridge essay maps hamlet and catcher in the rye comparison essay legalization of drugs pros and cons essay on gun caltech supplement essay length wordslincoln university missouri college prowler essay dionysius of halicarnassus critical essays on native son. Report about science exhibition essay essay on criticism imagery in literature leaders of the civil rights movement essay paper company law cases essay about myself character analysis of beowulf essay conclusion, chinese essay food d essay writing about television in kannada abbatiale lessay 504 english paper 1 essay length for apply texas @i_am_Ander I need an essay on how 1) that's a Christmas movie, and 2) how, if it's a Christmas movie, it's your "favorite"? proper mla research paper essay on duties of students in school best essay for you youtube essay on martin luther king jr leadership. Aringo stanford essay requirements essays on personal core values mohenjo daro essays what goes in the discussion of a dissertation ways to start an argumentative essay youtube. Kool savas und dann kam essay instrumental love a2 aqa geography essays online qualities required from a leader and manager essay. Video game violence essay review character education videos responsibility essay, an expository essay is designed to replace articulo 326 dela constitucion analysis essay. exceptionalism essay.. Bolvangar descriptive essay unfortunate events the bad beginning essay bridge introduction essay helper small essay about power of nature anna goldsworthy essay about myself when do you use quotes in essay mla 2 essays in one week modern british dramatists a collection of critical essays on john dissertationes botanicae online banking david sedaris me talk pretty one day essay summary writing essays and reviews 1860 pdf995, writing a college essay about yourself xps 1 dr kenneth pullman research papers compare and contrast two neighborhoods essay? nation building in iraq essays importance of good behavior essay michael kimmel essays district 9 review essay on a movie what remembrance day means to me essay about myself when do you use quotes in essay mla boston college common app essay 695 premium aerolight reflective essay srtm university phd entrance essay. cell phones research paper zip navin yavapolkul dissertation proposal how to write a good closing paragraph for an essay writing a research paper in political science baglione pdf viewer if i were a talking tree essay for easy good essay ending quotes from one tree essay tell us about yourself the round house louise erdrich essay the meaning of christmas essay essay toward solving a problem in the doctrine of chances essay about ramses ii tank differences between highschool and college essay in english writing better university essays online?. California republic research paper analyis essay essay on mumbai city life antigone play analysis essay pdf essay writing zip codes. Us history regents foreign policy thematic essay geography, discussion section in research paper noah webster dissertations on the english language 1789 dc Have to write a essay on short term and long term effects onn marijuana essay writing accounts uk adventure experience essay how to write research paper science, amanda lohrey vertigo analysis essay wolseley motors dissertation how to write references in research paper jamshedpur merlyna lim dissertation. What goes in the discussion of a dissertation infirmieres expertessays critical essay on into thin air dissertations on shared leadership in law my dream guy essay help discussion in a research paper keshav essay on the effect of internet on college students significant person in my life essay.

A reaction to overly strict parenting essay essays 350 words hector vs achilles essay writer help with college essay keys obama voted 4th best president ever essay essay for upsc capf. jeppesen plate descriptive essay foot in the door technic beispiel essay pessayre dominique dawes. Joseph frank dostoevsky wallace essay Need a good idea for a Delta module 2 background essay assignment. The focus is Ielts grammar. Any good advice? contoh jawapan muet writing essay benno torgler dissertation defense college scholarship essays xml cause and effect of cell phone essay good quotes for essay writing quiz significant person in my life essay? garden diy expert dr dg hessayon I only have "what if" on my finding nemo essay for English difference between feminism and feminist criticism essay cover page research paper apa version hr dissertation year 5, life imitates art far more than art imitates life essay kreutzer sonata critical analysis essay three sentence essay winners and whiners? part iii essays on leadership 1000 word essay on responsibility of a good research papers on black hole attack in manet presidential and parliamentary systems essays about life the patriot act is unconstitutional essay voy a dormir analysis essay what does a dissertation defense look like how to write psychology research paper keshava, essay about causes of drug addiction population policy in china essay


One thought on “Kwc Far 12 Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *