Navigate / search

Lecture: City of Darkness Revisited

For nearly 50 years, the extraordinary community of Kowloon Walked City cut a dark presence in the heart of Hong Kong, rarely mentioned by most Hong Kong residents and forever seen as a place dominated by vice and crime.  Yet even with this reputation, without legislation and with little regard for basic services, planning regulations or building standards, the City no only survived, it positively thrived.

How could such a place exist in a modern metropolis without administrative oversight, ‘triply neglected – to use a Hong Kong term – by the British, Chinese and Hong Kong governments?  Who would choose to live or work there, and why?

This talk aims to answer these questions, explaining how the City came about in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War by exploring its earlier history and the politics that informed every aspect of its subsequent growth (architectural and social), the myths that surrounded it, the sensitivities that defined its final clearance and how it remains a potent force in popular culture today, both in Hong Kong and worldwide.

About the Author

Ian Lambot trained as an architect and worked briefly for the Richard Rogers Partnership before arriving in Hong Kong February 1979, where he lived for the next 18 years.  After stints running an architectural model-making studio and working with Foster and Partners – on the early stages of the Hong Kong Bank project – he set up Watermark Publications, publishing in the years since numerous books on architecture, design and engineering, including four volumes on the work of Norman Foster and, of course, City of Darkness; Life in Kowloon Walked City.  He now lives in the UK where he continues to design and publish books.

Speaker: Ian Lambot

Date/Time: Wednesday 10 June 2015 / 6:30 for 7:00 pm lecture.

Venue: Centre for Visual Arts, 7A Kennedy Road, Mid-Levels.

Booking: Please email in advance of d_gasper@royalasiaticsociety.org.hk to reserve your place, and pay at the door.