With around 2000 Western tourists travelling to North Korea each year, it is the least visited country in the world. Koryo Tours is one of the only companies that tries to bring tourist into North Korea, and company founder Nick Bonner has asked a North Korean architect who has never left the country to imagine the future.
North Korea has been cut off from the rest of the world since 1948, and their people have no idea how technology or design has advanced in almost 70 years. The results don’t look very different from the pictures you would find in a 1950s magazine, even down to the out-dated colour palettes and rotary phone. Many of the large hotel-like buildings are very reminiscent of the famous Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang.
As per Bonner’s request, the designs were to also aim for sustainability, “they are not aware of the latest technology, which shows in some of the designs,” Bonner says. “However, the designs using wood and traditional construction methods do show great imagination of reusing natural products in a traditional way–like making use of natural cooling.”
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