This year China will add more than 17 million people to its urban population. To house this unprecedented wave of migration from the country side, cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou are building countless high-rise residential towers at breakneck speed.
The construction sites, surrounded by concrete walls, are almost impossible to enter without a guide who knows how to get past suspicious guards. But once inside, it’s like entering a science fiction novel. Even in the middle of the night, bulldozers, cement trucks, and workers swarm the sites as muscular cranes hoist cargo to ever-greater heights. Bamboo scaffolding and mesh encase the partially built residential high-rises, giving them the appearance of gargantuan cocoons. Entire neighborhoods arise within months of groundbreaking.
This collection of photographs, entitled “Prelude,” captures the awe and foreboding one feels around these instant cities.