[KS] Pyongyang city features and plans

Donald Clark dclark at trinity.edu
Sat Sep 15 15:53:52 EDT 2012

Regarding Pyongyang architecture (and I hope I didn't miss earlier
posts where this might have been discussed already), I recently
stumbled on a two-volume set entitled "Architectural and Cultural
Guide: Pyongyang" edited by Philipp Meuser and published by DOM
Publishers, available for less than 40 bucks from Amazon.  The first
volume is basically a translated and updated version of a good North
Korean city guide. The second volume is a marvelous collection of
essays and interpretations placing Pyongyang in the context of world
architectural history, presenting it as the fulfillment of visions by
the great planners of the twentieth century. Both volumes are
wonderfully illustrated with color photographs.
     Like others I am grateful to Chris Springer for his works on the
reconstructed city.  This collection illuminates some of the same
things, going farther in discussions about interesting (and sometimes
appalling) features of the city: the great boulevards and districts
with their Potemkin apartments, the state monuments and gargantua, the
historic sites, athletic facilities, public spaces, palaces, and not
least the Ryugyong Hotel from concept to partial completion. Mention
is made of the MAK museum exhibit in Vienna and controversies
surrounding it, among many other familiar topics. The essays in Vol 2
are especially rich reading for anyone who has had a quick visit or
two to Pyongyang and didn't get to see absolutely everything or the
grand designs that are expressed in the architecture.

Donald N. Clark, Ph.D.
Murchison Professor of History and
    Co-director of East Asian Studies at Trinity (EAST)
Trinity University, One Trinity Place,  San Antonio, TX 78212 USA
+1 (210) 999-7629;  Fax +1 (210) 999-8334

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