Friday, July 18, 2008

The Temple of Doom: North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel




It’s been called ‘the worst building in the history of mankind.’

And Kim Jong-il would have been so proud. The Ryugyong (”Capitol of Willows”) Hotel stands 105-stories tall in the dead-center of Pyongyang, the capitol of North Korea. At its inception, it was hoped to have 3.9 million square feet of floor space (and seven revolving restaurants), at a total cost of $750 million - 2% of the entire country’s GDP. It was created as North Korea’s answer to a renaissance of Asian skyscrapers.

It was never finished, and never will be. Money ran out - as did, supposedly, electricity. All that is left now is a shell, empty and uninhabitable: the quality of concrete is so poor that construction probably couldn’t be restarted even if they tried. But North Korea is still looking for a few hundred million dollars of foreign investment to do just that - instead of, say, fighting the country-wide famine and drought for which North Korea is far more famous.

The hotel is not featured on official maps, and even tour guides will deny knowing where it is. This is a rather impressive oversight: it is visible from throughout the entire city.

Ryugyong Hotel

I feel like it would've worked well as an architectural element in a Moreau painting:




n'est-ce pas ?


CAP said...

Alternative title for this post -
Worst Skyscraper Ever

Interesting - James has a good post about residential architecture at the moment - some show in NY. I second his sentiments.

Moreau - yeah - the hazy Egyptian one also reminded me of Turner.
And for more questionable ideology made (of) concrete - there's Bladerunner (the movie) - I forget the name of the city - is it LA? - Anyway the headquarters of the evil Tyrell Corporation...

Temple of DOOM!

Architecture is the most criminal of the arts.

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