China’s Heritage Policy: Missing a Step

The 18 steps (十八梯) in Chongqing form a wonderfully atmospheric alleyway. It’s one of many older streets sunk down amongst the thrusting skyscrapers of this rapidly growing city which feel saturated with history, in contrast to the modern development all around. Clambering up the steps, I feel like I’ve found the traditional China I’ve been […]

Posted in: Architecture, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, History, Society and Culture by Nicholas Olczak Comments Off on China’s Heritage Policy: Missing a Step , , , , , ,

Hong Kong’s Disappearing Shophouses

Johnston Road, Wan Chai. Photo compilation by Lee Chi-man When Philip Kenny wanders around Hong Kong, taking photos for his blog on local heritage, one type of building always catches his interest: Chinese shophouses. “They are a reminder of what Hong Kong used to be like — a bit old and rickety, perhaps, but vastly […]

The Gutting of Gulou

Cranes, viewed from the 13th century Gulou, or Drum Tower, build the new Beijing The view from Beijing’s Gulou, or Drum Tower, is dominated by the labyrinth of threadlike lanes — the city’s famous hutongs — spreading in all directions, filling in the superblocks formed by the city’s broad, rectilinear avenues. Gulou, built in the […]

Saving an Historic Site — Then What?

When Cynthia Lee Hong-yee found out that her family planned to sell her grandfather’s private garden to developers, she returned from the United States to take photos of the lush greenery and eclectic Western-influenced Chinese architecture. “I was capturing some of the details and I realized I just couldn’t capture Dragon Garden’s greatness,” she said. […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, History, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Saving an Historic Site — Then What? , , , , ,

Hong Kong Rooftops: The Pawn

Above, 1980s. Below, 2010. Compilation by Lee Chi-man The fact that a row of prewar shophouses still stands on Johnston Road suggests we’ve entered a new chapter in Hong Kong’s history of urban development. Originally housing the century-old Woo Cheong Pawn Shop and other neighbourhood businesses, the shophouses were bought by the Urban Renewal Authority […]

Posted in: Architecture, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, Interior Space, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Hong Kong Rooftops: The Pawn , , , ,

Don’t Kill the Queen’s Pier

Queen’s Pier in 2006. Photo by David Wong It was bad enough when they tore it down — now there’s the question of where to rebuild it. After the storm that swept through Hong Kong when the government tore down the Central Star Ferry pier in 2007, making way for a land reclamation project that […]

YMCA vs. YMHA

YMCA, Park Avenue at St. Viateur Street YMHA, Mount Royal Avenue at Jeanne-Mance Street In 1936, when these photos were taken, Montreal was just beginning to climb out of the Great Depression, which had hit this industrial city with particularly brute force. Unemployment remained high and thousands of the city’s inhabitants lived in squalour — […]

Bruges: Back to the Future?

There probably aren’t too many places left in the world like Bruges. Located in Western Flanders, in the northwest of Belgium, Bruges is probably the best-preserved medieval city left in Europe. It’s a classic storybook town, drawn straight out of romance movies and children’s books, the kind of place you’d never imagine a city bus […]