Shane Ferro
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OBJECT LESSONS: Architecture & Design News

Photographer Michael Wolf on the Beautifully Stifling “Architecture of Density”

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“For the quality of life I would say that this trend towards megacities is really not good,” photographer Michael Wolf said last month in an interview with the New Republic, articulating what his work demonstrates on its own. The images in his book, “The Architecture of Density” (Peperoni Books, 2013), zoom into Hong Kong’s densely packed high-rises in a way that renders their enormity and compression almost tangible — suffocatingly so.

Wolf provides no captions for his “Density” series. “The pictures are a metaphor for all megacities. So they are simply numbered from 1 to 225.” To see more, visit the New Republic.

“I had originally photographed these buildings as a whole, with sky, land, so you could see the whole building but when I looked at them, I wasn’t convinced that it worked,” Wolf, a German expat who’s lived in Hong Kong for nearly a decade, continued. “And then I experimented: I started cropping the pictures so I just had the buildings without the sky, without the horizon and suddenly I realized there was something there which was more than just buildings.” The resulting endless rows and columns of windows start to blur into a patchwork of two-dimensional, anonymous stripes of imperceivable scale. At a second glass, the “Density” series comes into focus as a portrait of extreme living conditions. “This illusion of unlimited size really conveys what we experience.” [h/t Messy Nessy Chic]

— Janelle Zara

Images by Michael Wolf

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  1. by Ida A.B.Zacharias

    What is the. worst. ? In CHINA. ( H K. ) or in BRASIL. ???

  2. Yes, lots of repetitive patterns, and interesting. But I would not want to live there, not even within a mile of those mega buildings.

  3. What is the alternative? Spread everyone out? Unsustainable. Cities are efficient.

    From a distance you can make these look like beehives of nameless faceless drones but they are all individuals with their own stories. To be fair go explore individual spaces and speak to the people living there. What is their story? How do they live?

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