You’ve heard of doggie doors but what about dragon gates? In Hong Kong, it’s not uncommon to see structural holes cut through the middle of its towering skyscrapers to allow “the dragons” a clear path from their homes high on the hills down to the water every day. While the reason may defy the logical, it definitely embraces the mythical— a small component of the larger feng shui phenomenon.Indeed, Hong Kong architects, planners, contractors and designers factor feng shui practices and guidelines into each building they construct and room they furnish. To fail to do so means recklessly tempting fate and bringing bad fortune to your efforts.Feng shui dates back to around 4000 BC when the Yangshao and Hongshan cultures used astronomy to determine connections between humans and the universe. These astral correlations show up in many tombs and unearthed buildings from the era, proving that those ancient societies used the their cosmic findings for architectural purposes. Literally translated as “wind-water,” feng shui is a means for humans to harness the energy of the earth in a positive way. Most commonly in an urban setting, feng shui is used to orient buildings in an “energetically proper” way to its natural surroundings, whether those be hills, mountains, rivers, oceans or even the stars. Flow is another major component of feng shui (thus the dragon gates), along with the shape of the building itself, how the furniture is arranged within the building and even the positions of the entrances and exits of the building. These details are thought to directly reflect the prosperity and luck of the inhabitants and creators of the building and many architects have feng shui consultants on staff to ensure proper etiquette. For example, Foster and Partners built the the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank building with best feng shui practices in mind when they constructed the tower. However, the nearby Bank of China tower built by I.M. Pei is considered a blight on the Hong Kong skyline by locals, due to its sharp points and angular shape (thought to “cut” the good fortune of nearby buildings).Because of this, many floors of the Bank of China tower remain vacant and is blamed for nearby companies going out of business. And with so much bad energy so close to the HKSB building, the designers erected cranes, aimed directly at the I.M. Pei building, on its roof to deflect the negative vibes. While the theory of feng shui has never been proven effective by science in any way, the superstition persists as strongly as ever in the modern metropolis of Hong Kong. If nothing else, it seems that the ancient practice creates beautiful buildings and aesthetically pleasant interiors! Sources: Wikipedia, 99 Percent Invisible
Tag - hong kong
Russian rooftoppers Vitaliy Raskalov and Vadim Makhorov travel the world scaling its highest buildings and taking heart-stopping pictures all along the way. Their feats have won them such acclaim that they’ve received sponsorship from sportswear companies like Vans and North Face.
One of their favorite destinations for their death-defying stunts is the jam-packed city of Hong Kong. With a huge amount of skyscrapers already present, and new ones being completed all the time, the city is the perfect destination for the pair. Even better — until their stunts started gaining notoriety online, many of the buildings had lax security on their rooftop access points.
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With Hong Kong one of the most densely populated cities in the world, its infrastructure and architecture have been forced to adapt. The result has been massive public housing complexes which stretch upwards into they sky as far as the eye can see. Australian photographer Peter Stewart captures these unique buildings from multiple perspectives in his new series Stacked Hong Kong.
Peter’s series takes a look at Hong Kong’s cityscape from the viewpoint of both a pedestrian and a resident of the heavily populated buildings. The markings of human life — clothes hung out to dry, differently colored lights shining from apartment windows — become parts of the design. And though the signs of humanity are abundant, the overwhelming sense of loneliness when one peers up at the immense sights cannot be denied.
The contrast in the city from the photos from the 1950s we featured by Fan Ho is drastic. Though the population has grown immensely since those times, Peter’s photos seem to indicate that is also has removed the human identity. See the full series of Stacked Hong Kong at Peter’s website.