North Korea’s Architectural Future?

On July 5, 2014 by Tim Newman

North Korea Futuristic Architecture - Mount Kumgang region

A company called Koryo Tours that organise trips to North Korea have come up with a neat little viral ad campaign. They gave a project to an architect working in the Pyongyang based at Paektusan Architectural Institute. They asked this fella to draw up some sketches of the types of buildings he would design if he had no restrictions on time, money or cost.

The following rather kitsch, Jetson style drawings are what he’s come up with over the last few years. I don’t know how skilled North Korean architects are, but from a previous article I wrote, we know that their building trade is screwed. So I’m assuming, like with most things in the DPRK, they are slightly behind the rest of the world.

These drawings are of course fantastical, that was partly the point. The architect (who has remained anonymous) was asked to design buildings to attract trade and tourism and promote an eco-friendly vibe. The style sort of gives you the impression of a country frozen in a Soviet bubble from the 1950’s. Their idea of the future appears distinctly retro to us.

North Korea Futuristic Architecture - tree house

The thing is, no one inside North Korea has any exposure to anything modern. Not even the elite live a life of luxury. So these designs were made by a man who probably studied architecture for years, then practiced architecture for years all within this opaque bubble. It’s quite an interesting experiment really.

North Korea Futuristic Architecture - roadway

The designs are a heady mix of Japanese style landscape art and retro Russian propaganda posters.

North Korea Futuristic Architecture - retro eco North Korea Futuristic Architecture - hotel

Asia Collection on LAZERHORSE.ORG

North Korea Futuristic Architecture - glass North Korea Futuristic Architecture - futuristic train

This is a house that can take off and relocate at the flip of a switch:

North Korea Futuristic Architecture - flying house North Korea Futuristic Architecture - art deco


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