# ARCHITECTURES WITHOUT ARCHITECTS /// Details of a Proletarian Fortress

It is not the first time -nor it will be the last probably- that I evoke the Kowloon Walled City (see this past article for example) as a Proletarian Fortress which is very interesting to look at as it provides us a historical example of a district which immanently constructed its own form of urbanity. In few decades, this housing block like it exists many of them in Hong Kong, got transformed by its inhabitants into a compact piece of city in which all object and person finds its place and function despite the density. The section drew by Japanese architects for the book 大図解九龍城, is very illustrative of what life has been like in the Walled City as it includes a multitude of micro-scenarios animating the district from the darkness of the ground to the aerated rooftops. The Walled City, by its relative self-sufficiency was the object of many myths from the outside population and authorities who was seeing it as a criminal neighborhood, argument that was used to destroy it in 1993. The density of the district as well as the addition of many alternative bridges and pathways was making it indeed very difficult to control and the police is said to have simply gave up on it. From what several authors who worked on it tell us, although the walled city was a shelter for drug addicts, criminals were not living in it.

Graphic narratives seem the right way to describe such district as it allows the restitution of the richness of micro-events and sociality that were occurring in it. The global section (see below) is therefore full of small annotations describing those micro-events. Rio Akasaka had the good idea to translate them into English and to put them online. I also extracted a dozen of significant details from the section that can be seen below.

4 Comments on “# ARCHITECTURES WITHOUT ARCHITECTS /// Details of a Proletarian Fortress

  1. I´ve been fascinated with this piece of architecture (a term to be thoroughly revisited in this case) since the first time I saw a Kowloon version in the first Ghost in The Shell movie, with the hacker chase through it. There´s even a VanDamme action movie sequence shot in it.
    What I consider most captivating about it though, is the ability to convey the idea of a future cyberpunkish urban narrative, when this was actually demolished a long time ago. A sort of gernsback continuum effect. But of the late xx century.

  2. Pingback: # ARCHITECTURE WITHOUT ARCHITECTS /// Why do Architects dream of a World without them? | The Funambulist

  3. Pingback: # WEAPONIZED ARCHITECTURE /// When the Capitalist Ideological Fortress Touches the Sublime | The Funambulist


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