The amazing architecture of the DPRK

One of the top items in our next visit to the DPRK is the architecture. Since the USA destroyed nearly all the standing buildings (along with 20 percent of the population) in the Korean War, the country had to be rebuilt. The initial phase was heavily inspired by Stalin baroque from the 1950s, with significant assistance from architects from the DDR (East Germany). As Calvin Chua – a Singapore architect who has been engaged in the latest phase – puts it: ‘Then we have the modernist era in the 60s and 70s, which was followed by the revival of vernacular Korean architectural elements, like Korean hipped roofs, built with concrete in the 80s’. The latest phase is part of a boom in construction since 2014, especially since the DPRK’s economy has kicked along with its own version of the ‘reform and opening up’. Crucially, architecture concerns not merely individual buildings but the larger issues of spatial reconstruction. A reasonably informative article can be found here. It has collections of stunning images, of which I can give only a sample. They come from different periods, mostly from Pyongyang but also Hamhung in the north.

Finally, the new international airport in Pyongyang:

12 thoughts on “The amazing architecture of the DPRK

    1. Plenty of material on Yonhap news as well, as you would have seen. They are now attributing these developments to Kim Jong Un’s new year address. He is showing up as quite masterful in statecraft – his younger sister will go to the games, the first time someone from the family has visited the south. Serious efforts beginning

  1. I have long been a fan of ‘brutalist’ architecture. Whether in parts of eastern Europe, Russia, or London, I found much to admire. That goes for this new trend in the DPRK too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Dear Roland,

    With regards to our previous back and forth via the comment section of your last post, concerning the history communist communes in America, I recently found this interesting piece from RT.

    It appears that the tradition of American communist communes are still alive and well.

    Are you familiar with it, and if so, you would you ever consider paying this commune a quick visit if you ever find yourself traveling through the US again?


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