Home > Architecture & Urban Design, Art, Sculpture & Photography, Things I Like... > Michael Wolf : Architecture of Density

Michael Wolf : Architecture of Density

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

A friend sent me a link to the work of Michael Wolf recently and having been lucky enough spend 10 days in Hong Kong a couple of years ago with my Little A, his images immediately struck  a chord with me, as I took a number of very similar photos myself.

The density in Hong Kong really is something that’s difficult to grasp unless you’ve seen it for yourself. In one article I read, it suggested that there were well over 7 million people living on Hong Kong’s 1,108 square kilometers of land.

So housing this many people can only mean one thing… developing ever skywards, and as can be seen from the images below, this resulting in huge backdrops of steel, concrete and glass buildings where neither light nor anything organic are visible.

What I like about these images, and why I was moved to take similar ones myself, is the way that the buildings are reduced to nothing much more than wallpaper. As the mind struggles to comprehend the scale and endless repetition of the cityscape, it converts the individual homes into nothing more than shapes and colours.

I’m pretty sure however, that this would NOT be a good argument to describe or justify the quality of life in these developments, and I for one am very glad I don’t live there… (especially the very last photo, that really is hardcore urban living and pretty shocking…)

It’s definitely worth a visit to Michael Wolf’s site on the link above as there are some truly excellent photos of Hong Kong. Try the Window Watching, Backdoor and Lost Laundry collections for some really wonderful views of life in a super dense city…












  1. December 21, 2012 at 13:01

    Ah, doesn’t your heart cry out that this is just what human beings were not made for – to be crammed into boxes on a scale that makes each of them feel tiny.

    I dislike big architecture – more or less all of it.


    • December 22, 2012 at 11:50

      Hi David,
      lovely though these images are, it must be pretty soul destroying living in this kind of block. They are terrifying in their relentless lack of variety.. no way to point at the block and say “that’s my home…”
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Sarah
    December 23, 2012 at 19:26


    I’m curious of your version of the pictures…

    • December 26, 2012 at 15:01

      hi Sarah,
      Curious in what sense?
      The thrust of the post was that the repetition and scale of the buildings and the cropping of the image to fill the whole frame, has the effect of reducing the blocks of flats to nothing more than wallpaper, which I suggest makes for some good art. Obviously the actualities of living in these developments in Hong Kong is very different. I do think it is reasonable however to be able to separate the two and consider them as different and unrelated aspects of the same thing…
      thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

  3. SteveWhite2008
    January 16, 2013 at 11:40

    The Matrix anybody?

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