Residencity

Is the Architectural Modernisation of the Hong Kong Tower Global or Local and can this be Attributed as a Result of a Unique Conditions or as a Product of Westerncentric Homogenisation? 

An article to examine Hong Kong’s ubiquitous residential towers, asking whether they are a product of globalisation or localisation. It will investigate the themes that surround the development of the tower and attempt to propose whether or not the architectural response is a result of conditions that exist only in Hong Kong – the Hong Kong Condition or, conversely, whether it is a result of homogenisation commonly associated with contemporary urbanisation globally. The article will take into consideration social, political, economic, cultural and physical variables that have contributed to the creation of a modern city that is often regarded as unique. The article will also question the global and / or local aesthetic of the iconic Hong Kong tower and ask; has it developed as a result of external (Western or global) influences or has it developed independently, drawing upon local conditions?

 Hong Kong exhibits some of the most extreme living conditions in the world . It is also one of the most dominant examples of an Asian economic power. As a city, it is also  unique as a result of colonisation, political separation from Chinese sovereignty in conjunction with its geographical location and topography. These factors (alongside many others) can each be attributed to the general modernisation of Hong Kong and could also be associated with the specificity of the Hong Kong tower.

In the discussion of the global and local, the main perspectives are either to highlight how global issues are localised – or to analyse local modifications as a result of global integration. In contrast, a perspective from the local to the global can be examined in order to unveil how the local can in turn make-up the global collectively. In analysing the Hong Kong Condition and its relationship with globality and locality, the local in this instance is defined largely by political influences, cultural ‘blurring’ and integration, urban density, topography and the historical context of colonisation. Factors that help define the locality of Hong Kong are all attributes that exist exclusively in this city.

 Can the local inform the global? Is the architecture in Hong Kong seen as modern from a Western perspective? Hong Kong has maintained itself as a global hub for international commerce for over a quarter of a century. While Westernisation is often perceived as akin to modernisation,  the emergence of a city with a new local / global hybridity can be seen to have spawned a unique architecture that, although it originally conforming to Western modes of modernity (in that Westernisation was seen as a sign of economic growth) resulted in a local, indefinable, culturally blurred version of modernity. Following a brief exploration of the notions of global and local, this article will question if the architectural condition in Hong Kong is unique and to what extent, if any, it has influenced the development of the Hong Kong tower.

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