Monday, January 3, 2011

Kowloon Walled City

Kowloon Walled City was an urban Chinese island in the British-owned territory of Kowloon, Hong Kong characterized by it's incredible density, labyrinthine structure, and social make-up of pimps, gangsters, and opium dens. Founded as a Chinese outpost in 920 AD, the city was condemned to demolition in 1987 by the government of Hong Kong. It was demolished in 1993 after a six-year eviction process of it's residents. The city-within-a-city became notorious for it's reputation as an urban construction of hell-on-earth and indeed became a walled zone where most people could not enter without a high possibility of incident.

In 1993, prior to demolition, a team of Japanese researchers was allowed to map the interior of the settlement and produced these colorful section diagrams showing both the social and sectional topography. The tangle of activities and spaces show an existence of incredible complexity and spatial relationshio to the inhabitants surroundings. However, as frantic and limitless as the graphic seems, it stands to reason that the true experience of the space was even more extraordinary than illustrated.

Seen on deconcrete. Aerial image copyright Ian Lambot via ArchDaily. Graphics courtesy of Zoohaus.