Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

hong kong tong laus

with 4 comments

there is a saying about hong kong’s intimidating density – if you ever ran out of salt while cooking, you could always reach out over to your neighbor’s house to ask for some.

hong kong tong laus are residences above shop lots. they are usually about 3-5 storey high. they are old and they have a lot of character. compared to most residential areas, tong laus have higher space efficiency. don’t know if i could ever live in one though because the city is so noisy. i actually know of a girl who sleeps with earplugs on.

all pictures are taken over a bridge in prince edward, kowloon using an iphone.


4 Responses

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  1. Tong lau (or officially ‘Chinese-style tenement buildings’) can be extremely comfortable to live in, if you get past the haphazard development of their surrounding environs. This is a real shame because, with a little interior decoration and repair, their rental or even resale value could easily rise two or even three times the current market value – as witnessed by overhauled tong lau in Central.

    As to space efficiency, this is because these buildings were built basically on a square template. Most of these buildings have what architects (such as my dad) call ‘amenities and services’ on the exteriors of the building. In contrast, modern buildings have A&S’s on the inside.

    Also, tong lau are built according to a specific construction standard. To cut a long story short, their structural heights are restricted from a certain angle calculated from the middle of the street. In the 1950s and 1960s, streets were wider, so it isn’t hard to figure out the plot-to-height-to-space ratio is pretty fantastically big. This isn’t the case today.


    July 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm

  2. i am curious now – what do you do naked listener?


    July 25, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    • Scoundrel and professional layabout. Scion of an 98% gentleman and 2% renegade used-car salesman (otherwise known as an architect) and a mad-hatter fringe-o-matic ragsorter (otherwise a fashion designer). Actually, a printbroker and financial printer in my profitless free time.

      You are funny. You are seriously funny.


      July 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  3. Are these all a figment of your imagination? But it’s cool I think people try and stereotype themselves too much anyways..


    July 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

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