The Pieces to Hong Kong’s Puzzle

There’s a piece of Hong Kong in Shenzhen – or to be more precise, 44 pieces of it. Hong Kong Typology, an exhibit by Swiss architects Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB), features scale models of Hong Kong’s most typical buildings. Tong lau, pencil towers, cruciform apartment blocks – […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Books, Europe, Heritage and Preservation, Interior Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The Pieces to Hong Kong’s Puzzle , , ,

Talking About Cities Without Ground

Hong Kong isn’t an easy city to navigate. That’s because so much of it exists out of sight: above your head, under your feet, around the corner in a dingy shopping mall. It’s what architect Jonathan Solomon calls a three-dimensional city. “There are all these attempts to map Hong Kong, but most of them are […]

Posted in: Architecture, Asia Pacific, Books, History, Interior Space, Maps, Public Space, Society and Culture, Transportation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Talking About Cities Without Ground , , , , ,

Revisiting the Fortress Embassy

Security forces intervene during the protests at US Embassy Cairo. Photo by Gigi Ibrahim. There are probably at least a few in your city, hiding on the upper floods of office buildings, secluded in elegant townhouses, tucked somewhere behind high fences out of view. Nearby cars’ license plates are sometimes their only identifiable feature. Whether […]

Posted in: Africa and Middle East, Architecture, Books, Europe, Politics by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Revisiting the Fortress Embassy , , , , ,

Cairo’s Taxi Revolution

Photos by Peter Morgan (top), and MatHelium (bottom) Hop in any cab in any city of the world and you’re likely to be treated to lively political commentary. That’s especially true in autocratic regimes, where the availability of other spaces in which random strangers can meet and speak openly has often been severely curtailed. Cairo’s […]

Lepers, Gods & Immortality: L’India di Manganelli

DCorbeil | Lèpre et idoles, Montréal 2010 16h45. L’aiguille marque la minute d’un tac dramatique. Sonorité agaçante et répétitive. Je suis assis à la terrasse du Club Social, Mile End, tantôt le nez plongé dans ce bouquin d’importation, déniché à prix fort dans cette librairie opulente de l’Avenue du Parc. Tantôt le regard scrutateur, balayant la masse […]

Posted in: Books, Fiction, Society and Culture by Daniel Corbeil Comments Off on Lepers, Gods & Immortality: L’India di Manganelli , , ,

Empty L.A.

Photo by Matthew Logue The density of urban slums once drove city planners and social workers mad — and, in some cases, still does today. But perhaps because of the vicious crime that followed mass abandonment of cities like Detroit, or the specter, for the first time, of an entire city’s virtual erasure in the […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Books, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Empty L.A. , , ,

A City and its Balconies

Back in 2002, I was hired to write the cover story for Maisonneuve’s breakout third issue. It was my first real writing assignment and a big part of the reason why I ended up on the career path down which I’m now stumbling. Looking back, I cringe at the cloying introduction, but aside from that, […]

À la bibliothèque

[youtube][/youtube] Expounding upon the virtues of public libraries is a bit like talking about how good it is to breathe clean air: it’s kind of obvious. But just as we insist on polluting our air until it is nearly toxic, libraries are often shamefully neglected. That was the case for most of Montreal’s history, but […]

City in Ruins

Forget the $2 slot machines and high-stakes poker of Cotai – Macau’s true soul hides within the city centre’s Ruínas de São Paulo, otherwise known as the ruins of St Paul’s. Every day, an endless stream of photo-snapping visitors flow north from the Largo do Senado (Senado Square) to gaze at the cathedral’s magnificent Baroque […]

A Book Market for the Big Bibliothèque?

When it opened at the end of April, 2005, the Grande Bibliothèque defied expectations when it attracted tens of thousands of people who were eager to check out its airy architecture and multimedia, multilingual collection. The crowds never let up: even today, two and a half years later, a visit to the library reveals an […]

Posted in: Books, Canada, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on A Book Market for the Big Bibliothèque? , , , ,

How Jane Jacobs Changed My Life

I’ve been interested in cities for as long as I can remember. My childhood is marked by Lego metropolises on the living room floor, streetscapes doodled in schoolbooks and early Saturday mornings playing SimCity for hours on end. So it only made sense that, when I was fourteen, on a beautiful summer day spent wandering […]