Esquire Magazine’s Web site regularly features some of what it considers the worst architcture on the planet, and I have to frequently agree with the choices of its writer(s). The alert for the column that came across the Web today is for what writer Eva Hagberg calls “The Worst Building in the History of Mankind,” it’s the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, and I’m not necessarily discinclined to agree, though there is something amazingly thrilling and strange about this monstrosity that was abondoned 2/3 of the way through building, and has sat vacant for the last two decades.
It’s a great little essay, with a great couple of videos – totally sci-fi and futuristic in a retro, steam punk kind of way.
From the article:
“A picture doesn’t lie — the one-hundred-and-five-story Ryugyong Hotel is hideous, dominating the Pyongyang skyline like some twisted North Korean version of Cinderella’s castle. Not that you would be able to tell from the official government photos of the North Korean capital — the hotel is such an eyesore, the Communist regime routinely covers it up, airbrushing it to make it look like it’s open — or Photoshopping or cropping it out of pictures completely.“
Somehow the cleresy of the North Korean government in the 1980s must have thought that the hotel would be a shining beacon of communist architecture, anticipating the flood of visitors to Pyongyang when capitalism fell. Now, simply, they are saddled with it.
I have to say, though, there is something awe-inspiring – and frightening in a totalitarian sort of way – about it. Read the link above and see what you think.