The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was built gradually—building on top of building—over time. Without a single architect, the ungoverned and most densely populated district became a haven for drugs, crime and prostitution until it was demolished in 1993. Photo documentation of the site exists but for the most part much of the inner-workings of the city remained a mystery.
Perhaps due to its proximity, Japan, in particular, developed a keen interest towards Kowloon. Its demolition in 1993 was broadcast on national television. But watching the footage, what most spectators didn’t realize was that up until the night before demolition a team of Japanese researchers were taking precise measurements and documenting the vacated city. Their findings were compiled into a book that, among other things, featured this panoramic cross section of the city depicting what life was like inside. You can read more about the book on Spoon & Tamago, and if you look hard enough, a few rare copies of it are available online. (via deconcrete)
Located in a park near the center of Lede, Belgium, the Castle of Mesen dates back to the 17th century where it served as a home for various lords before a conversion to an industrial site. Throughout the 1800s the complex was used as a gin distillery, a tobacco factory, and a sugar refinery. In 1897 the castle was then sold to a religious order who constructed an impressive neo-gothic chapel and turned the entire facility into a boarding school.
Although it was still in use up until the 1960s, a tragic storm of abandonment, looting, and a failed attempt to designate the castle as a monument lead to a decision to demolish of the entire castle just a few years ago. Lucky for us, photographer Jan Stel of Past Glory managed to sneak inside and capture a few amazing shots before it disappears forever. The juxtaposition of the stained glass windows and decaying roof and sprawling foliage is especially striking. See more from this series here. (via Arch Atlas)
Furniture-maker-turned-sculptor James McNabb (previously) just opened a new exhibition of work titled Metros at Robert Fontaine Gallery in Miami. McNabb continues his exploration of architectural shapes using an improvised form of woodworking frequently described as “sketching with a bandsaw.” Without regard to the design or stability a true architect might utilize, he instead works with more abstract shapes cut from repurposed and exotic woods which in turn become component pieces for larger sculptures resembling wheels or tables. McNabb shares via email:
I compare hyperrealistic painting to fine woodworking. Both are slow, tedious, detail oriented process that require great care and consideration through every stage of making. In contrast, I compare my style of rapid bandsaw mark making to the fast paced nature of spray can art. It’s my attempt at “urban woodworking”.
Metros will be on view through October 28, 2014 and you can see more of McNabb’s recent work right here.
Ohio resident Scott Miller shot this timelapse video earlier this year of dozens of Amish men raising a barn. The entire construction cycle takes place between 7am and 5pm—with at least an hour for lunch—and yet the bulk of the work is done by the end of the day. Amazing to see how incredibly precise the entire endeavor is. (via Sploid)
Time Slice is an ongoing series of photographs by Richard Silver that explores how iconic buildings and monuments change in appearance from day into night. Silver shoots some 36 photos at intervals over several hours and then layers them into a final composition. We’ve seen a similar approach by Fong Qi Wei (and in motion), but the focus on a single structure tells an interesting story about each place, and conveys more than just a single shot. You can see more from the series here. All images courtesy the artist. (via Vacilando)
Stockholm-based illustrator, printmaker, and artist Nina Lindgren was been working with cardboard to build a series of stacked geometric cityscapes that look like small architectural islands. The works are assembled like puzzles from carefully cut cardboard panels with internal lights for some of the houses. Her most recent piece, “Floating City” was recently on view at ArtRebels Gallery. You can see more over on her website. (via Hi-Fructose)
Architect and environmentalist Peter Bahouth designed and built this beautiful trio of treehouses linked by bridges in an Atlanta forest, which also happens to be his backyard. Inspired by the treehouses and adventures of his youth, the idea was to create a sort of fort for grown-ups. The three houses dubbed “Mind,” “Body,” and “Spirit,” include a living room and bedroom with a special bed that slides out for an improved view of the forest below. The photos here were taken for Jane Field-Lewis’ book My Cool Shed, provided courtesy photographer Lindsay Appel. (via iGNANT, CJ Who)