things magazine / about / what's new? / archive / photos / projects / order / rss / search
photography from the pre-flickr era
projects, scans and collections
Where is things 19/20?
What is things magazine?
The Pelican Project
thingsmagazine.tumblr.com
external links
0lll
2 or 3 things I know
aalog
actar
adam curtis
agence eureka
aggregat 4/5/6
alice the architect
all about nothing (x)
all things considered (x)
alphaville
alttext
ambit magazine
anarchitecture
and another thing
anti-mega
apothecary's drawer
arcspace
arch daily
archinect
archidose
archiveteam
architects' journal
architect's newspaper blog
architectural review
architectural ruminations
architecture.mnp
archnewsnow
arkitektur
art fag city
art is everywhere
art newspaper
arts journal
artnotes
ashleyb
atelier a+d
ateliermob
atlas (t)
atlas obscura
badaude
bad british architecture
bifurcated rivets
the big picture
blanketfort
bldg blog
blissblog
b'blog of 'israeli
boing boing
b******* to architecture
books from finland
booooooom
bottom drawer (x)
bouphonia
bowblog
bradley's almanac
buchanansmith
butterpaper
cabinet magazine
cabinet of wonders
candyland (x)
cartoonist (the)
cartype
caterina
city of sound
city comforts
collision detection
conscientious
continuity in architecture
coromandal
core77
coroflot
cosmopolitan scum
coudal
creative review blog
curious expeditions
daily jive
dancing bears (x)
daniel eatock
dark roasted blend
david thompson
death by architecture
delicious
delicious ghost
deputy dog (x)
derelict london
designboom
design bivouac
design observer
dezain
dezeen
diamond geezer
digitally distributed environments
diskant
efimera
eliot shepard
ephemera
excitement machine
eye of the goof
fantastic journal
fed by birds
feuilleton
ftrain
fireland
first drafts
five foot way
Ffffound!
further
future feeder
gadgets.fosfor.se
gapers block
giornale nuovo
greg
grow-a-brain
haddock
halvorsen
hat projects
hchamp
hello beautiful!
hot wheels
htc experiments
hyperkit
hyperreal and supercool
i like
iconeye.com
incoming signals
infinite thought
inhabitat
the interior prospect
irregular orbit
iso50
jean snow
joe moran's blog
josh rubin
judit bellostes
kanye west
kazys
keep left london
kosmograd
kottke
landliving
languagehat
largehearted boy
last plane to jakarta
lewism
life without buildings
lightningfield (x)
limited language (x)
literary saloon
loca london
london architecture diary
london review of books
low tech magazine
made by machines for people
made in china '69
magCulture
making light
mananarama
map room
material world
mcsweeneys
men's vogue daily
metafilter
metafilter projects
microkhan
militant esthetix
millennium people
mimoa
miss representation
mocoloco
moosifer jones' grouch
monocle
monoscope
mountain 7
mrs deane
music thing (x)
myrtle street
netdiver
no, 2 self
nothing to see here
noisy decent graphics
noticias arquitectura
NTK
nyclondon
obscure store
obsessive consumption
one plus one equals three
oobject
open brackets (x)
ouno design
overmorgen (x)
panopticist
parenthetically's
partIV (x)
pcl linkdump
the peel tapes
perpenduum
personism
platforma arquitectura
plasticbag (x)
pointingit (x)
polar intertia
plep
print fetish
quiet feather (x)
raccoon
rashomon
re: design news
reference library
rock, paper, shotgun
rodcorp
rogue semiotics
rolu
rossignol
rotational
route 79
russell davies
sachs report
salon
samuel pepys' diary
school of life
scrubbles
segal books
sensing architecture
sensory impact
sesquipedalist
sevensevennine
shape and colour
sharpeworld
shift
shorpy
sit down man, you're...
slow web
snopes
space and culture
spambot_stopper
speak up
spillway
spitting image
strange attractor
strange harvest
strange maps
strawdogs
subterranea britannica
subtopia
sugar-n-spicy
supercolossal
superspatial
swapatorium
swiss miss
tecnologia obsoleta
tecznotes
telstar logistics
tesugen
textism
that's how it happened
the art of where
the deep north
the letter
the model city
the moment blog
the morning news
the nonist
the northern light
the one train
the serif
the silver lining
the white noise revisited
they rule
things to look at
this isn't London
tom phillips
tomorrow's thoughts today
transpontine
turquoise days (x)
typographica
urban cartography
urbantick
vitamin q
voyou desoeuvre
vwork
wallpaper
we make money not art
we will become
weblogs.com
weburbanist
where (x)
white noise of everyday life
wikipedia
wikio
witold riedel
whole lotta nothing
wood s lot
wrong distance
xblog


weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Thursday, January 13, 2005
The Architecture of Density is a new photographic exhibition by Michael Wolf at the Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco. The hyper-dense architecture in question is in Hong Kong, where systems-building has been pushed to the extreme, and residential towers are seemingly just extruded from a single storey, cut and paste up to several hundred feet without deviation.

While some of Wolf's images look manipulated, that's not the case. Small individual touches - hanging washing, blinds, etc. - reveal these as real places, real homes. Some of these structures are so thrillingly banal that you almost wish they were imaginary, a grim warning of the architectural oblivion that unthinking modernism has created. So why are images like this so seductive? The large-format architectural view was arguably pioneered by Andreas Gursky, an artist whose blank, matter-of-fact images convey a sense of enormous scale, dwarfing their human subjects. Gursky also visited Hong Kong, as did the photographer Peter Bialobrzeski, whose exhibition Neon Tigers added a nighttime sheen to the same subject matter.

It's almost ironic that this late period, cookie-cutter modernism has earned so many glowing artistic tributes. The work of all three photographers emphasises the similarity, repetition and, ultimately, inhumanity, of these buildings, yet we're detached by distance; would they be so exciting and dynamic if we actually had to live there. These structures respond to Hong Kong's extraordinary property market, with its ups and downs caused by the limited availability of land and the former colony's uncertain politicial status: their style and collective impact is almost secondary.

The megastructure continues to fascinate architects and urbanists. While Hong Kong's cramped skyscraper clusters are perhaps the unacceptable face of the modern metropolis, the search goes on for an instant contemporary city. The jury is still out on Will Alsop's SuperCity proposal (more at City of Sound), the subject of a new exhibition at Urbis. 'What if the North became one city?', begins the blurb, and as with all these things, it's hard to tell if the questionner expects us to be happy or sad with the outcome.

Consider the renovation of the vast Park Hill Estate (1961) in Sheffield, one of Britain's first, and largest, housing estates, and one which had evolved specificially out of the then fashionable Corbusian doctrines. Park Hill is shortly to be renovated. It was once a 'SuperCity', I suppose, yet its form and typology has fallen far from favour. The contemporary Alsopian vision is a strange hybrid of linearity and verticality, a celebration of extreme mobility (more specifically, the 'romance' of the M62 corridor). Time will tell how well such ideas are received. Related, the Twentieth Century Society's already excellent website has had a new year re-vamp.

Update. Eastern scale. This architectural model (the world's largest planning model) at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall shows the entire city at 1:2000 scale.