The Cocoon Building Phenomenon in Hong Kong

Hong Kong

A photographer takes pictures of the building phenomenon cocoon. Travelers can see stunning results with objects that come from Hong Kong.

Covered in sheets of blue, green and yellow, the skyscrapers in Peter Steinhauer’s photographs have an almost sculptural quality.

This temporary facade may serve a practical purpose, but its bright colors and geometric surfaces make for a stunning contrast to the surrounding skyline.

The sight of buildings draped in bright nylon netting is a common sight in Hong Kong. Construction companies use cloth to keep debris from falling to the ground.

The cocoon building in Hong Kong (Photo: Peter Steinhauer/CNN)

Workers also continue to use bamboo arrays, which serve as frames for wrapping the colorful sheets.

The American photographer has been documenting this construction site for more than 20 years. He refers to them as “cocoons”, referring to the metamorphosis the building goes through when closed.

Steinhauer’s varied compositions offer a fresh perspective on one of the world’s most photogenic cities. Atmospheric shot at night, expansive image of an urban context, and close-up of nylon sheet rippling in the wind.

The cocoon building in Hong KongThe cocoon building in Hong Kong (Photo: Peter Steinhauer/CNN)

Steinhauer said his fascination with the phenomenon occurred “instantly” when he first landed in Hong Kong in 1994. “I was standing in the taxi queue (at the airport) just staring at this thing,” he recalls seeing a tower block draped in yellow sheet.

Nearly 13 years after taking his first photo, Steinhauer returned to Hong Kong and continued his project. After initially shooting in black and white, he decided to change the format to capture the bright colors of the subject.

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