Lifestyle & Belief

These photos of high-rise buildings in Hong Kong are crazy, beautiful, and horrifying

Thinking of moving to Hong Kong? You’ll have plenty of company.

With 7.3 million people living in 426 square miles, it’s one of the densest places in the world. If you settle down in the Kwun Tong District, you’ll have almost 600,000 neighbors in 4.27 square miles.

How do you squeeze so many people into so little space?

You build up into the sky.

Michael Wolf has been photographing Hong Kong for the last two decades. In his newest exhibition, "Architecture of Density," he captures the beauty, horror, and awesomeness of Hong Kong’s towering and hypnotizing architectural landscape. 

"Architecture of Density" runs through Feb. 17 at the Flowers Gallery in London. If you can't make it out there, check out some of the photographs at Wolf's website.

"This image is beautiful and harrowing at the same time," Wolf said of one photo to the New Scientist, "Viewed from a distance, the photograph could be mistaken for a supermarket barcode, but up close, the brutal reality of life in a megacity becomes apparent."

There’s no sky. There’s no ground. There are no people. There are just windows and balconies, lines and patterns.

“It could be 100 stories or 200 stories, it could be a mile long,” he told the New Republic. “This illusion of unlimited size really conveys what we experience in megacities. If you go to Shanghai or Hong Kong or to any of the big Chinese cities you have this tremendous density around you.”

If these photos are too abstract and cold for your taste, check out Wolf’s follow-up project, called "100x100", in which he photographed the interiors of public housing developments where people live in rooms that are uniformly 10 feet by 10 feet.

(Credit: Michael Wolf)