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The 25 Largest Sports Stadiums in the World

06:00 - 4 September, 2018
The 25 Largest Sports Stadiums in the World, 1. Rungrado 1st of May Stadium / Pyongyang, North Korea. Image via Viktoria Gaman / Shutterstock.com
1. Rungrado 1st of May Stadium / Pyongyang, North Korea. Image via Viktoria Gaman / Shutterstock.com

In 776 BC, the Olympic Games of antiquity were hosted at the Olympia stadium in Peloponnese, Greece, an arena widely believed to be the world’s oldest stadium. The elongated U-shaped track and stand had a capacity of up to 45,000 people.

This Underground Bathhouse on the Korean Border Questions Architecture's Role in Geopolitical Tension

09:30 - 8 April, 2017
This Underground Bathhouse on the Korean Border Questions Architecture's Role in Geopolitical Tension, Courtesy of Studio M.R.D.O.
Courtesy of Studio M.R.D.O.

Since 1953, the 160-mile (260 kilometer) strip of land along the Korean Peninsula's 38th parallel has served as a Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ is more than a border; it's a heavily guarded, nearly four-mile-wide (6 kilometer) buffer zone between the two countries. Each military stays behind its own country's edge of the zone, perpetually awaiting potential conflict, and access to the interior of the zone itself is unyieldingly limited. Apart from the landmines and patrolling troops, the interior of the DMZ also holds thriving natural ecosystems that have been the subject of studies on what happens when wildlife is allowed to flourish in the absence of human contact.

If Your Annoying Coworkers Were Indiscreet Buildings

09:30 - 13 February, 2017
If Your Annoying Coworkers Were Indiscreet Buildings

The connection here is plain and simple: bad coworkers, bad architecture, perfect pair. It's not uncommon for architects to take inspiration from the human body, but consider these eight pairings to be what would happen if your least favorite coworkers were reincarnated in building form.

The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built

04:00 - 24 January, 2017
The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built, Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco
Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco

As long as there have been buildings mankind has sought to construct its way to the heavens. From stone pyramids to steel skyscrapers, successive generations of designers have devised ever more innovative ways to push the vertical boundaries of architecture. Whether stone or steel, however, each attempt to reach unprecedented heights has represented a vast undertaking in terms of both materials and labor – and the more complex the project, the greater the chance for things to go awry.

Photographer Raphael Olivier Explores the Suspended Reality of North Korea’s Socialist Architecture

09:30 - 8 September, 2016
Photographer Raphael Olivier Explores the Suspended Reality of North Korea’s Socialist Architecture, Ryugyong Hotel. Image © Raphael Olivier
Ryugyong Hotel. Image © Raphael Olivier

North Korea is one of the few countries still under communist rule, and probably the most isolated and unknown worldwide. This is a result of the philosophy of Juche – a political system based on national self-reliance which was partly influenced by principles of Marxism and Leninism.

Architecture is Propaganda: How North Korea Turned the Built Environment into a Tool for Control

11:30 - 6 September, 2016
Architecture is Propaganda: How North Korea Turned the Built Environment into a Tool for Control, Workers' Party monument, a monument to the people showing the Hammer (builders), Sickle (farmers) and Paint Brush (scholars, an addition to the standard symbol of communism). Image © Alex Davidson
Workers' Party monument, a monument to the people showing the Hammer (builders), Sickle (farmers) and Paint Brush (scholars, an addition to the standard symbol of communism). Image © Alex Davidson

Architecture is propaganda. Throughout my two years of visiting and living in North Korea the country slowly revealed to me the details of this evolved and refined tool for totalitarian control of the country’s population. The West views the country with incredulity—surely this cannot be a functioning country where people lead “everyday lives?” Surely the country’s populace can’t possibly buy into this regime? But I assure you that they do. People have careers, they go to work on the bus, and those women crying over the death of their leader were doing so through their own initiative, if not out of genuine emotion. How is this possible? This is a carefully constructed regime which has, at its heart, an unprecedented understanding of how architecture and urbanism can influence and control people. Coming second only to the military on the list of party priorities, the design of the built environment has had an incalculable effect on reinforcing the ideologies of the North Korean regime and conveying these to the people.

Yesterday's Future, Today: What's it Like to Work as an Architect in North Korea?

01:00 - 22 August, 2014
Yesterday's Future, Today: What's it Like to Work as an Architect in North Korea?, A silk co-operative clad with acres of PV solar panels, one of several illustrations exhibited at the Korean Pavilion in Venice. Image Courtesy of Koryo Tours
A silk co-operative clad with acres of PV solar panels, one of several illustrations exhibited at the Korean Pavilion in Venice. Image Courtesy of Koryo Tours

Originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "The Future of Architecture, According to a North Korean Architect," this interview with Nick Bonner, Curator of the North Korean Portion of the Venice Biennale's Korean Pavilion, delves into the realities of architectural work in one of the world's most secretive countries.

Inside Korea's “Crow's Eye View” – Golden Lion Winner at the Venice Biennale 2014

01:00 - 12 June, 2014
Inside Korea's “Crow's Eye View” – Golden Lion Winner at the Venice Biennale 2014, Crow's Eye View: The Korean Peninsula. Image © Nico Saieh
Crow's Eye View: The Korean Peninsula. Image © Nico Saieh

Today, the Korean Peninsula provides a striking example of a post-war polarization: two opposite political and economical systems, constantly presented in contrast/conflict by the global media, that still maintain an intricate, complicated relationship. Architecture’s role in this polarization was instrumental. North Korea sought to represent the aspirations of a new communist nation within a context devastated after the war -- a tabula-rasa from which adaptations of modernism could appear. In South Korea, fast economic growth bred a form of modernization that represented the ideals of a globalized world.

Video: A Rare Look Inside North Korea's Largest City

00:00 - 30 May, 2014
Video: A Rare Look Inside North Korea's Largest City, A screenshot from the GoPro City Tour of Pyongyang. Image Courtesy of YouTube
A screenshot from the GoPro City Tour of Pyongyang. Image Courtesy of YouTube

Singaporean Aran Pan is one of the only people in the world to have filmed Pyongyang, North Korea's largest (and perhaps most inaccessible) city. The video, captured via a GoPro attached to the windshield of a vehicle, is part of Pan's project "DPRK 360°," an initiative to document and reveal the people and landscapes of the secretive country.

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