Pyramid, by Baikdoosan
The Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, is story on its own. The mythology: The building would be the world’s tallest hotel and seventh largest building with its height of 330 meters, 105 stories, 3,000 rooms and on top of it all it would feature 7 rotating restaurants in its top. The construction started in 1987 and…
…halted in 1992 to never be continued. The construction had then costed $ 750 million, about 2 % of the GDP of the country.
The sublime beauty is breathtaking, considering that it is probably the most expensive ruin of this planet in a country where recently thousands of people have starved to death. The ironic part is that the building is probably more beautiful now as a ruin-before-inhabitation, than as it would be when finished. It will become one of the tourist attractions in a post-communist North Korea, if they decide not to tear it down. Since the used concrete is probably of insufficient quality to be safe an extra $ 300 million will be necessary for construction improvement in addition to the $ 230 million necessary to finish the building. No one will pay that kind of money.
The iconography of the three-winged building that has been designed by Baikdoosan Architects and Engineers is that of the Pyramid. The pyramid-iconography has a double agenda as a structural principle, but does not have a connection to the hotel-program. Curious are the smaller ‘pyramids’ at the base of the Ryonyang Hotel, which seem to refer to the ensemble of pyramids at Giza. The Pyramid of the Musée du Louvre by I.M. Pei makes a similar reference to the ensemble of pyramids.
The patina and the unfinished state of the building enhances the reference to the original Egyptian Pyramids, which are also echo’s of their once sleek and shining predecessors. It is therefore even more curious that the ‘top’ of the Pyramid of Giza, which is considered by historians as a leftover of what once covered the whole pyramid, comes back in Pyongyang in the form of the 7 round floors in the top of the building.