The long-abandoned Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, is being given a second chance by the seemingly and suddenly reformed rogue nation. The 105-story building — once dubbed “the worst building in the history of mankind” by Esquire — has not been worked on in 15 years, and a deranged Egyptian group is bringing it back to life.
A few weeks ago, I revealed a few buildings that were so tall, they bordered on the grotesque. Well this thing — jutting out from what must surely be hell — is nightmarish. And by nightmarish, I mean it has the capacity to infiltrate your dreamscape and render it unholy. I’ve been freaked out by it for years. Dubbed “The Hotel of Doom,” or “The Phantom Hotel,” it was apparently an attempt by dear leader Kim Il-sung to compete with the ever-growing economy in the South. When funding ran out, the hotel was abandoned and left to rot, a constant reminder to North Koreans about just how fucked they really were. And despite the renewed work on the 3,000-room hotel, there’s no saving it. Bruno Giberti, associate head of California Polytechnic State University’s Department of Architecture, agrees that these expansion-crazed cities (I’m talking to you Dubai and Shanghai) are freaking people out by constructing things that aren’t to scale with their surroundings. And hey, what about this Russian embassy in Cuba … fantastic, right?