Beyond Brutalism: Cutting-Edge North Korean Architecture

[ By Steve in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

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The infamous Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang may have stolen the spotlight but North Korea can boast many other examples of unusual cutting-edge architecture.

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The Korea Central Zoo (also known as the Pyongyang Central Zoo) was founded in 1959 but recently underwent an extensive makeover, re-opening in July of 2016. The zoo was and continues to be criticized for exhibits that include a chain-smoking chimpanzee and various breeds of dogs. Canines are forbidden to be kept as pets in the capital city, ostensibly for hygienic reasons.

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We’re here to discuss architecture, however, and when it comes to the Central Zoo the highlight has to be the huge tiger-head entrance archway. Rather impressive, unless you’re an easily frightened child (or adult). At least the scaredy-cats can find some solace at the turtle-shaped Reptile Enclosure.

Handball Hall

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Handball is kind of a big deal in North Korea and the North Korea women’s national handball team has competed at the Asian Women’s Handball Championship no less than six times since 1991 – though they’ve never finished higher than third. The team practices at the strikingly angular and not at all ball-shaped Handball Hall located on Chongchun Street in Pyongyang’s “city of sports” district.

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We don’t have a date for the first photo but the image just above snapped by Flickr user Aaron Geddes (Gedsman) in March of 2016 displays some subtle differences.

International Cinema Hall

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The International Cinema Hall isn’t in use very often as its main raison d’etre is hosting the Pyongyang International Film Festival every other year since 1987.

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The sprocket-shaped building sits cheek-by-jowl to a golf course (you read that correctly) on the island of Yanggakdo, located in the Taedong River running through downtown Pyongyang.

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[ By Steve in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

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