Books | Portraits from Above


Portraits from Above
— Hong Kong's Infomal Rooftop Communities

By Rufina Wu and Sefan Canham 鄔南薰、斯特凡‧坎漢

276 pages, full-color
H248mm x W225mm
Bilingual (English & Chinese)
ISBN 978-988-99843-8-0
Price:HKD $235


Self-built settlements on the roofs of high-rise buildings have been an integral part of Hong Kong’s history for over half a century. Rooftop structures range from basic shelters for the disadvantaged to intricate multi-storey constructions equipped with the amenities of modern life. Rufina Wu (Canada) and Stefan Canham (Germany) utilize the tools of an architect and the tools of a photographer to document rooftop communities on five buildings located in older districts in the Kowloon Peninsula, slated for redevelopment by the Urban Renewal Authority of Hong Kong. Text records of the residents’ stories, measured drawings of each distinct rooftop structure, and high-resolution images of the domestic interiors of more than twenty households offer an unprecedented insight into the everyday life on Hong Kong’s rooftops.



About the Author

WU Rufina

Rufina Wu was born in Hong Kong in 1980. She studied at the University of Waterloo in Canada where she completed degrees in Environmental Studies and Architecture. She was a CCSEP Visiting Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China from 2005 to 2006. She received AIA Medals for her Bachelor of Architecture thesis (Three Gorges Commune) in 2006 and Master of Architecture thesis (Beijing Underground) in 2008. From December 2007 to February 2008, she was artist-in-residence at Hong Kong's Art and Culture Outreach, collaborating with Stefan Canham on Portraits from Above. The project won the 5th International Bauhaus Award 2008 (3rd Prize). Her research interest focuses on informal housing tactics associated with rapid urban development and population mobility. She splits her time between Hong Kong, Vancouver, and Toronto.

1980年於香港出生,在加拿大滑鐵盧大學取得環境研究和建築學位。 2005至2006年,她是中國北京清華大學的中加學者交流項目(CCSEP)訪問學者。其建築學學士論文《三峽公社》和建築學碩士論文《北京地下》,分別於2006及2008取得美國建築師學會獎章。2007年12月至2008年2月,她為香港?鵠的駐場藝術工作者,與斯特凡‧坎漢就《樓上風光》合作,此項目取得2008年第五屆國際包浩斯獎(三獎)。她的研究興趣集中在非正式的住屋方式,與急速的都市發展和人口流動相關的課題。她在香港、溫哥華和多倫多三地生活。


Stefan Canham was born in England in 1968. He studied Film at the Hochschule fur bildende Kunste in Hamburg, Germany and has been working free-lance on documentary photo and television projects since 1995. His work focuses on the usage of urban space, in particular on marginalized communities and forms of self-housing. In 2003 he was artist-in-residence at the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Kunstlerhaus in Eckernforde, Germany. His photographic record of the mobile squatter culture in Germany was short-listed for the 3rd International Bauhaus Award 2004 and published under the title Bauwagen / Mobile Squatters by Peperoni Books (Berlin) in 2006. He has exhibited in Germany and abroad and contributed to journals like An Architektur (Berlin), Critical Planning (Los Angeles), and Sarai Reader (Delhi). From December 2007 to February 2008, he was artist-in-residence at Hong Kong's Art and Culture Outreach, collaborating with Rufina Wu on Portraits from Above. The project won the 5th International Bauhaus Award 2008 (3rd Prize). He lives in Hamburg.

斯特凡‧坎漢,1968年在英格蘭出生。他於德國漢堡的Hochschule fur bildende Kunste修讀電影,從1995年起當自由工作者,拍攝記錄照片和電視節目。其作品多關於都市空間的運用,尤專注於邊緣群體和各種自建住屋的課題。2003年,他為德國北部艾斯弗爾德Schleswig-Holsteinisches Kunstlerhaus的駐場藝術工作者。他的德國流動佔屋文化記錄照片,入選2004年第三屆國際包浩斯獎,並由Peperoni Books(柏林)於2006輯錄成書Bauwagen / Mobile Squatters。他曾於德國及國外舉行展覽,並為不少期刊提供相片,如An Architektur(柏林)、Critical Planning(洛杉磯)和Sarai Reader(德里)。2007年12月至2008年2月,他為香港?鵠的駐場藝術工作者, 與鄔南薰就《樓上風光》合作。此項目取得2008年第五屆國際包浩斯獎(三獎)。他現居於漢堡。