When Leo Houng arrived in Shenzhen in 1974, it was an unremarkable Chinese settlement that ‘smelled of countryside’. Since then, he has witnessed the city rise up at a bewildering rate – with little regard for the families caught in its path
It should be here somewhere,” says Leo Houng, a retired cello player with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. We are in a tangle of small streets in central Shenzhen, just next to Lao Jie underground station. Lao Jie (“Old Street”) has existed for decades, which is more than can be said for most of Shenzhen.
When Houng stayed here in 1974 on his way to Hong Kong, Old Street was pretty much the only road around – with just a few lanes leading off it, dotted with simple restaurants and a handful of small shops. From there, unpaved alleys soon merged with the surrounding open countryside – an unimaginable landscape from today’s suffocating vantage point.
“Back then it smelled very green; it smelled of countryside,” Houng says. “There was no pollution or industrialisation, just natural smells.”
Shenzhen, a city of around 11 million people, is now merely one element of the Pearl River Delta, the world’s largest continuously urbanised area with a population of more than 60 million people – not including all the undocumented migrants, nor the inhabitants of its two “special administrative regions”, Hong Kong (7.5 million) and Macao (580,000).
This is the area that inspired architect Rem Koolhaas to coin the term “generic city” back in 1995 (in his volume S, M, L, XL), referring to a city without history that develops randomly. In Shenzhen today, cars and motorbikes clog the roads while skyscrapers tower over the city’s small commercial area, one of many such neighbourhoods in a congested and hyperactive urban environment. […]
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture LabAbout Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn