Hong Kong Modern: Architecture of the 1950s-1970s
In the post-war decades, Hong Kong architects, many of them having migrated from Mainland China or studied overseas, embraced modern principles when forced to face the problems of housing shortage, mass construction and limited budgets. Although economic efficiencies often prevailed over design, their buildings were rooted in their time and place, reflecting the local climate, social values, materials, technique and use in an often unique and pragmatic fashion. With more than 300 buildings and ensembles documented, the new publication Hong Kong Modern Architecture of the 1950s-1970s by Walter Koditek gives a comprehensive overview on the architecture of that transformative period in combining full-page photographs with detailed background information and further b/w images explaining and illustrating the design and history of these buildings. Information about the architects behind the projects and a series of academic essays penned by renowned scholars Cecilia L. Chu, Eunice Seng, Ying Zhou, and Charles Lai complement the publication. While the book does not seek to provide a complete inventory, its unique documentary format, which deliberately mixes well-known architectural masterpieces with more mundane structures under seven specific building categories, invites viewers to comprehend the intrinsic relationships between these built forms and how their designs have been simultaneously shaped by the advent of the international Modern Movement and adaptions to the local context. Crucially, the uniform framing and composition of these compelling facade images directs attention not only to often overlooked architectural details, but also to the varied informal appropriations that transformed their modernist characters over time. The book aims to serve as a reference and enhance knowledge on modernist architecture of the post-war era in Hong Kong, and will contribute to the discussion of its architectural merit, historic and cultural values. Its publication was supported by the Goethe-Institut Hongkong (www.goethe.de/hongkong), Design Trust Seed Grant (www.designtrust.hk), and Docomomo Hong Kong (www.docomomo.hk).
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