Get off my lawn.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

How cool.

This is a picture of the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea.

This building is 105 stories tall. Of the top floors, 7 of them rotate. It has 3,000 rooms.

The project to build this hotel was started at a cost of $750M (2% of NK's GDP) in 1987. It was cancelled in 1992 due to lack of funds, severe electrical shortages, and starvation caused by a continuing drought/famine cycle happening in NK. In addition, the concrete used in its construction is apparently of such bad quality that the building can't be certified for occupancy, or finished.

As of now, this 105-story building sits empty, with no windows, fixtures, doors, or other trimmings. It's a gigantic concrete hulk that dominates the Pyongyang skyline and serves as a totally inconvenient storage location for the deserted crane perched on top of it.

It's hard to imagine what kind of dictator runs a country into the ground and starves its people, but who thinks he needs to build a 3,000-room hotel in a country that, at the time the project was started, only let a few thousand people into the country per year, few of whom went to Pyongyang anyway. What a clown.

Still, there's something compelling about this picture. I like the way the building looks in it. I can't put my finger on it. The size is unquestionably impressive. It just dwarfs everything else. It's kind of sinister looking, an interesting choice for a building people are expected to pay to stay overnight in.


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