Log in

No account? Create an account
Creative Engagement With Global Housing Crises
Portraits from Above – Hong Kong's Informal Rooftop Communities 

This stunning book, by Rufina Wu (architect, Vancouver) and Stefan Canham (photographer, Hamburg and producer of UNHOUSED favorite: Bauwagen | Mobile Squatters), is an in depth look at settlements built on top of other buildings in Hong Kong. It came out late last year on Peperoni Press (Berlin).

This book is 280 pages of photographs, drawings, and short interviews with the settlements' inhabitants. The duo spent 3 months in Hong Kong exhaustively documenting 5 of these settlements. They didn't have any organizational or personal contacts to people living in any of the settlements. They walked up the stairs of the first building and started talking to people.

Rufina Wu made extensive measurements of each settlement, converted those to CAD drawings, and in order to get better line quality, remade the drawings in Illustrator. The result is beautiful and well worth the effort. Stefan Canham took the lavish, carefully constructed photographs that you find in this book with his large format camera. The photographs are in both color and black and white. The craft of the documentation is impeccable.

There is a very brief section, only 3 images, of evicted settlements. The photographs here are powerful and show the erased homes and lives of people whose plight must have been very similar to the others documented in this book.

The visual and oral research that Rufina Wu and Stefan Canham did is anchored by an essay, "Rooftop Housing in Hong Kong: An Introduction," by Dr. Ernest Chui. The essay lays out some of the historical and economic reasons for the existence of the rooftop settlements: various waves of legal and illegal immigration, tolerance for inadequate housing rather than spending money on public housing, critical shortage of land, and more.

I am particularly happy about this book as the two met through UNHOUSED. In May of this year, they will present their book in exhibition format in Hamburg's Kunst Haus. There will be an UNHOUSED film screening to accompany the exhibition and I will be in attendance for it.

You can order the book here: 25 Books.
Oct 7 (2009) (UTC)

Hey your photos inspired me to draw. I hope you dont mind.
Oct 13 (2009) (UTC)
This is beautiful! I stumbled across this post during my research into Hong Kong's rooftop housing (I'm writing a thesis on the subject) and am incredibly wowed by this picture. The building in the photo, and your drawing, is in my neighborhood, only about a 7-minute walk away from where I live. I hope you don't mind if I use it as my desktop background for my laptop.
Oct 13 (2009) (UTC)
That would be awesome. Do you have any more pictures of this building you could post online? I'm interested in doing more drawings
Nov 25 (2009) (UTC)
Great drawing, congratulations!
I live in Hong Kong and would be more than happy to provide more photos for your inspiration... let me know what interests you.


Please keep sharing your art :)
Nov 25 (2009) (UTC)
Thank you so much! These photos are fantastic reference. I will absolutely use them for more drawings if you dont mind. :)

You can always view more at my blog http://atomier-one.blogspot.com/
Nov 25 (2009) (UTC)
Thank you so much! These photos are fantastic reference. I will absolutely use them for more drawings if you dont mind. :)

You can always view more at my blog http://atomier-one.blogspot.com/
Dec 15 (2009) (UTC)
Feb 2 (2010) (UTC) - Indiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Hi Stefan,
This is your long lost relative from England who you have never met!
Love your photos!
Like you I love India.
In fact half my heart is in India
I started traveling to India in my early 50s
Will be following your photos with glee!
With Love in Peace
Patricia Kime(formerly Canham)
John and Dinky Canhams daughter.
Jan 11 (2011) (UTC) - new article about interior design: http://www.squidoo.com/modern-furniture-max
Hi Friends!

Found this great piece on modern furniture here : Enjoy


also a great youtube channel on the subject:


and some more articles



Jan 26 (2011) (UTC) - claim insurance
Wish you best luck for the current and next year!There's always room for more thing.
Mar 1 (2011) (UTC) - Hello!
My associate and I actually loved studying this weblog publish, I used to be simply itching to know do you commerce featured posts? I am always trying to find someone to make trades with and merely thought I'd ask.
Simply killing some in between class time on Digg and I found your article . Not usually what I want to examine, however it was completely price my time. Thanks.
Actually like your websites particulars! Undoubtedly a beautiful offer of information that is extraordinarily helpful. Keep it up to hold publishing and that i’m gonna proceed studying by way of! Cheers.
What i discover difficult is to find a weblog that may seize me for a minute however your weblog is different. Bravo.
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning extra on this topic. If doable, as you acquire expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with further data? It is extremely useful for me.
This page was loaded May 26th 2019, 8:58 pm GMT.