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Thread: THE HIGH RISES OF PYONGYANG

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    Default THE HIGH RISES OF PYONGYANG

    These are images of high-rise apartments in Pyongyang. North Korea. They look very similar to most apartments in Seoul except these are in a communist country. I have never been to North Korea but I find the buildings designed well. But I'm also wondering what the inside looks like of if people live in good condition. They look like middle class apartments that you can find in other Asian cities. Also, the city doesn't look polluted and is quiet (too quiet).


    Several apartment buildings in Pyongyang. Note there are hardly are cars on the roads and pedestrians on the sidewalks.


    Pyongyang skyline


    Series of apartment buildings. The traffic isn't that bad!


    Another apartment building.


    The unfinished Ryongyang Hotel. Though unfinished, the tower's height is over 300 meters and 105 stories.

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    Default THE HIGH RISES OF PYONGYANG

    Thanks for the inside info on North Korea...

    What happen to the Ryongyang Hotel project anyway? How long has it been unfinish? any info?

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    The Ryugyong project ran out of money. It's really about 1,083 feet (330 meters) high, making it the tallest hotel in the world. The North Korean government, apparently, is seeking foreign investment to finish the building.

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    Great pictures - I have somthing to refer to now, when George W. decides to let the bombs fly. Of course, each of those buildings aren't residential apartment buildings, but actually cleverly disguised silos for weapons of mass destruction.

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    Unfinished my a$$, that cone's removable so the new-cue-lar missiles can blast off.

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    That cone at the apex was meant to house a series of revolving restaurants and nightclubs. There were also plans for a bowling alley, a theater, a hospital, a grand ballroom and an Olympic-size swimming pool. I think the Ryugyong was meant to be the centerpiece of a larger development, as renderings showed it among other, albeit smaller, towers of a similar design (which were rectangular, not pyramidal).

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    They should liberate that country. Pyonyang would be an even better city in a united Korea. Then it would be much more vibrant. The Ryongyang hotel actually looks nice.

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    Interesting that you not there are few people in the streets, Supremo. There are actually theories that Pyongyang is a large-scale Potemkin village, meaning that all the impressive tall buildings and classy hotels are merely a façade to keep secret something else—that the city is nearly empty due to famine, and most people either died or were forced out to work on the farm. Or something along those lines. Are those apartments even occupied? From what I've heard foreigners are not allowed to go into those buildings, nor has anyone in their accounts written of a real sign of habitation.

    The only hotel accessible to tourists, the Koryo, is on a large island in the middle of the river that runs through Pyongyang and it takes too long to access it on foot; as such tourists' accessibility to the city is limited—and the Pyongyangese's accessibility to the hotel is limited as well. The Ryugyong was meant to serve the function that the Koryo serves now: accomodating Western tourists. It was built to have 3,000 rooms, yet is stil unfinished. Aside from financial issues (the estimated construction cost of $700 million would comprise a big chunk of the North Korean GNP), there is a theory that the concrete they used was of such inferior quality that the whole structure might collapse if it were occupied.

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    It's a mystery what's inside those apartment buildings. But it's architecture and structure are too impressive for a total-communist country. Not even Russia (during USSR), China (before becoming a little capitalist), Cuba or East Germany (before the unification) had buildings like these. Too impressive for a country suffering from famine and economy.

    Some of these apartments are very odd in architecture. Like those cylindrical ones. It's hard to tell if they are really apartments or hidden missile silos. Despite of the nice looking highrises, the city looks very lonely or like a ghost-town.

    That's why communism is doomed to fail! Even major communist countries like Russia and China are adapting to capitalism. If communism was great, why would people (living in communist countries) flee or escape their country?

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    Look at photo #3. Now I ask you: if the people living in these buildings came out onto the street, what would they do?

    Blame Le Corbusier; the Communists bought his theories.

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    You see the round building in Pic 3, definitely some suspicious actions going on there. The whole thing is quiet, a little too quiet.

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    You see the round building in Pic 3, definitely some suspicious actions going on there. The whole thing is quiet, a little too quiet.

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    Reminds me of how, back in the '80s and early '90s, the city got muralists to paint curtains, flowerpots, etc. inside abondoned apartments or on windows in the South Bronx to make them seem occupied.

    Here's a little something that I found while browsing "Ryugyong Hotel" on google:

    www.yrad.com/essays/hotel.htm

    North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel
    ______

    At 105 floors, the Ryugyong Hotel would have been the world's largest hotel if work had not come to a halt in 1991. Why it was even built is something of a mystery. Early on in South Korea's planning for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, North Korea sort of assumed South Korea would stage some games in Pyongyang. Uh huh. It's also conjectured that North Korea wanted to take the wind out of the sails of South Korea because some smarmy South Korean company was building a 102-floor hotel in Singapore. Uh huh. Historians will probably look back on North Korea not as an Axis of Evil but probably the world's largest cargo cult (albeit a well armed one).

    It's generally assumed construction came to a halt because North Korea was suffering from a famine (the hotel was to have 7 revolving restaurants), an acute electricity shortage, and they basically ran out of money (the hotel cost upwards of $700 million, which is about 2% of North Korea's GDP).

    Clearly a simple matter like in the world's most closed off society where few people ever need or want to visit, a 3,000 room hotel makes as much economic sense as setting up a frogurt stand on Mars. Those who need the comforts of a Western-style hotel in North Korea's capital are already served by two existing (and money losing) hotels, including the Yanggakdo Hotel, a new and more modest 5-star hotel for foreigners located strategically on an island in the middle of the city's main Taedong river (which acts as a moat to keep foreigners from wandering off the hotel grounds and quite possibly keep starving North Koreans from storming the breakfast buffet). If, for whatever reason, you decide to visit this Stalinist Disneyland, be warned foreigners are not permitted to stay in North Korea longer than a solitary week.

    What probably killed the project -- besides a simple lack of money and realistic expectations of eager tourists -- is that it was discovered recently that the hotel was made from substandard concrete. The hotel, if finished and occupied, would come crumbling down.

    The North Koreans themselves are quietly trying to make the hotel go away (short of blasting it to rubble). Even before the hotel was started, it was featured on North Korean stamps and added to city maps. The hotel is no longer found on stamps and newly issued maps.

    I personally like to think of the Ryugyong Hotel as the ultimate example of what happens when managers get really insane ideas and everyone knows it's a really insane idea and there are zero resources to do it but your job (or life) depends on you doing it, so you kinda just barely do the job, make a big show of it, in status meetings use terms like "repurpose the supply-chain"/"impactful delivery"/"action-item paradigm", and substitute memos for reinforced concrete, all with the expectation that the insane manager will a) die b) get fired and when something like that happens everyone will then make a big show about how the project is still top priority -- because it's on everyone's check point performance review objectives for next quarter -- and then everyone just stops working on it and the subject never comes up again, unless of course, the project is 105 stories tall and in the middle of your city.

    It's interesting to note, the North Koreans also built themselves their very own "L'Arc de Triomphe". Not unexpectedly, their Arc de Triomphe is about 10 feet higher than the lil pisser found in Paris.

    FYI, the tallest hotel in America is Detroit's Marriott Renaissance Center Tower. It stands 73 stories and has 1,300 guest rooms.

    #INCLUDE joke about people wanting to visit Detroit as much as they want to visit Pyongyang

    * * *

    Copyright 2003 Karl Mamer

    Free for online distribution as long as

    "Copyright 2003 Karl Mamer (kamamer@yahoo.com)"

    appears on the article.

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    Picture #3. If that was in a capitalist country, you would see a whole lot of children playing that those fields and bystanders hanging out there and chit chatting. It would look very busy. It is very strange that the place is empty.

    I added some pictures of Pyongyang but not it's skyscrapers but other additonal stuff. This came from the Pyongyang metro webpage.


    An escalator in a Pyongyang subway station. The escalators go too deep that the subway stations can also serve as a bomb shelter.


    This subway station resembles that of Moscow. The mural on the back is "The Great Kim Il Sung Among Workers."


    A subway station at night. The neon lights make up for the quiet street


    A street in Pyongyang. Traffic is good because there are hardly any cars on the street. With the exception of those waiting in line for the bus, this place would look like a ghost town.

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    I've heard that there are only two subway stations in Pyongyang open to tourists.

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