The Worst Building in the World

Ryugyong hotelThe Ryugyong Hotel is the most prominent architecture in Pyongyang’s skyline and the tallest and largest building in North Korea. Skyscrapers should be nothing short of magnificent.

It’s one of the rules in architecture. After all, the skyscraper is the first thing you’ll see when you visit a city. Just look at the beauty of Petronas Tower in Malaysia, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan, the Sears Tower in Chicago, and the Empire State Building in New York.

Everything has an exception, however, and that is the Ryugyong Hotel. Esquire named it "The Worst Building in the History of Mankind," adding that it dominates the city’s skyline "like some twisted North Korean version of Cinderella’s castle…the hotel is such an eyesore."

A response to South Korea’s might

The construction of the hotel started in 1987 as the Communist North’s answer to the rapidly economic development of South Korea, which was to host the Summer Olympics in 1988. The Ryugyong Hotel was an instrument to show to the world that North Korea also had an improving economy (obviously, a delusion on the part of Kim Il-sung).

The building emerged over the next years, made possible by Paektu Mountain Architects & Engineers. North Korea was so proud it put a picture of the hotel on maps and postage stamps before it was half-finished.

Hideously ugly architecture and construction

The design and construction of the 105-floor hotel (the first building outside Chicago and New York to have more than 100 floors) are grossly repulsive. Rygyong’s reinforced concrete structure has three wings converging at a point to form a pinnacle.

The building has 3,000 rooms and rises to a height of 1,083 feet (330 meters). It boasts some 3.9 million square feet (360,000 square meters) of floor space. The walls of the building slope at 75 degree angle.

At the top of the building is a wide circular structure containing 8 floors that was originally intended to rotate. It is topped by a further 6 stationary floors. A construction crane sits the top, which has become permanent fixture. A number of gardens, terraces, and pavilions surround the building.

Over the years, Ryugyong Hotel has earned the nickname "Hotel of Doom." It’s also known as the "Phantom Pyramid" and the "Phantom Hotel." Not a few people have commented upon seeing photos of the building that it looks like a headquarter of an evil organization.

Building deadlock

The Ryugyong Hotel was scheduled to open for the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students. However, problems with building materials and methods delayed the opening.

Another major issue was how to finance the construction. It was estimated that the construction cost around $750 million or 2% of the country’s GDP. As a result, the construction stopped in 1992. It has been on hold since then.

 

 
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