May 30, 2014

Memo From Hong Kong

A dense urban fabric layered over towering mountains defines Hong Kong, a region that boasts over 280 islands and 500 miles of coastline. The city layers Chinese, colonial and contemporary architecture, all wrapped up in piles of transportation and communication networks concentrated in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Major traffic arteries permeate core urban areas, pedestrian walkways overlap in elevations, and most residents share living spaces that are well below the average size of residences in neighboring Shenzhen, China. And as retail centers continue to replace public squares, the city’s growing density seems to be redefining public-private spatial relationships.


The port city has long attracted business and talent from all over the world. Most view Hong Kong as a gateway through which to enter Mainland China—the wardrobe to Narnia and all its promises of glittering resources and expansive markets. But as integration with the Mainland manifests in growing cross-boundary movement, the demands on Hong Kong are subsequently changing.

These transformations in density and demand can be traced in both current and planned architecture and interior design. Projects mostly fall into one of two categories: full redevelopments that destroy pieces of the old urban fabric to make way for the new, or renovations and rehabs that involve an injection of creativity into existing older spaces. Keep reading to see how designers and architects in Hong Kong are redefining liveable density.

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