The global award in photography and sustainability

Michael Wolf

One of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world, Hong Kong has an overall density of nearly 6,700 people per square kilometer. The majority of its citizens live in flats in high-rise buildings, whose units can house as many as 10,000 people. In Architecture of Density, Michael investigates these enormous city blocks, finding a mesmerizing abstraction in the buildings’ facades. The structures in the series are photographed without reference to the context of sky or ground, and many buildings are seen in a state of repair or construction: their walls covered with a grid of scaffolding or the soft coloured curtains that protect the streets below from falling debris. From a distance, such elements become a part of an intricate design. Upon closer inspection of each photograph, the anonymous public face of the city is full of rewarding detail – public space is private space, large swatches of colour give way to smaller pieces of people’s lives. The trappings of the people are still visible here: their days inform the detail of these buildings. Bits of laundry and hanging plants pepper the tiny rectangles of windows- the only irregularities in this orderly design. The images of Architecture of Density give one an inkling of what our cities could look like if grown continues unchecked.

Michael Wolf