Thursday, 6 November 2014

nine dragons

Via the ever-engrossing maker of fine hyper-text products, Kottke, comes an interesting glimpse at the former Chinese enclave of Kowloon Walled-City in the former British exclave of Hong Kong.
Originally purposed as a garrison to oversee salt trade, the property remained nominally under Chinese control when the territory was leased to the British but the matter of administration was disputed, with the compound by turns becoming depopulated and abandoned, and eventually transforming into a den of iniquity and refuge for thieves, beholden to no authority. Prior to its demolition in 1993, Kowloon Wall-City housed an amazing thirty-three thousand residents, living vertically stratified in an urban environment of their own design. Somewhat covertly, just before being razed, a group of architects and civil-engineers from Japan had thoroughly documented and photographed the place, including detailed cross-cut and cut-away schema, illustrating the resourcefulness of the denizens and economy of dimensions.