19 July 2008

[modren_times] The Worst Building Evar ... It's Baaaaack ...


There's something about the 75-degree angle on the building's wings that just ... well, wrong, somehow. It disturbs. It's like the R'yleh Hilton. It has an impressive profile from orbit. If it had been completed when originally planned, it would have been the tallest hotel on the planet. It was begun in the '80s, left unfinished in 1992, and is finally being advanced after a span of 16 years.

It's the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. Impossible to ignore but forbidden to talk about, it's stood silently, all 105 unfinished stories of it, since 1992; airbrushed out of official city photos but there all the same; everyone aware of it but nobody talks about it.

Well, it looks as though work is finally proceeding on it. According to reports, a conglomerate has actually put windows and finish on the upper floors:

According to foreign residents in Pyongyang, Egypt's Orascom group has recently begun refurbishing the top floors of the three-sided pyramid-shaped hotel whose 330-metre (1,083 ft) frame dominates the Pyongyang skyline.

The firm has put glass panels into the concrete shell, installed telecommunications antennas -- even though the North forbids its citizens to own mobile phones -- and put up an artist's impression of what it will look like.

Yep, you read it right ... there's going to be cell phone towers, even though your average Cho can't have a cell phone.

Fear this building.

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Dorr said...

The ugly tower is so tall that it actually reveals itself in Google Maps satellite image.

By ugly, it even makes the Marquam Bridge in Portland look beautiful!

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Well, I always thought the Marquam Bridge was graceful in its way.

My wife's mother and grandmother had a word for women who were poised and feminine but sturdy and not "pretty". They called them "handsome" women. They did this with the full awareness that they qualified under that tag.

I find the Marquam a "handsome" bridge.

Yes, and isn't a scream that that building is tall enough to exhibit that much perspective, even from a great height?

It's the perfect symbol of North Korea: masculine, agressive, ambitious, and when it doesn't work out, mysteriously absent in plain sight.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I do fear that building!

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...