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Ryugyong Hotel

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Projects > Buildings
The Ryugyong Hotel Shown Behind a Neighboring Indoor Stadium
The Ryugyong Hotel, also known as the Hotel of Doom, Phantom Hotel, or the Phantom Pyramid, is an unfinished hotel skyscraper located in downtown Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.[1] If it were finished on time in 1989, it would've been the tallest hotel in the world.[2] Now, it is often cited among the ugliest buildings ever constructed.[3] At 1,082 ft (330 m), its vast concrete superstructure stands alone in the Pyongyang skyline. But despite its size, the Ryugyong is shrouded in secrecy. The North Korean government commonly photoshops the tower out of official government photographs, few foreigners are allowed to visit, and North Korean residents refuse to talk about it.[4]

Contents

Construction History

Construction of the Ryugyong Hotel began in 1987.[5] North Korean officials were hopeful that the hotel would attract foreign investors. It was to be finished in time to host the World Festival of Youth and Students in 1989.[6] If all had gone according to plan, it would've been the world's seventh largest building, and the world's tallest hotel.[7][8] However the project was plagued with problems. Construction continued for a number of years, but the project was finally shelved in 1992.

Reports as to why construction stopped vary. Some cite the collapse of the USSR, who had been one of North Korea's strongest allies and financial supporters. Others say it was because the building was structurally unsound and unworthy of human occupation due to the poor quality of concrete used for its structure. A shortage of electricity and frequent famine are also believed to have played a role.[9]

Renovations/Recent Projects

From 1993 until 2008, the Ryugyong sat without progress.[10] North Korean officials were said to be seeking US$300 million in foreign investment;[11] although South Korean media reports estimate it would cost US$2 billion to make the building habitable.[12]

In April of 2008, after 16 years of sitting idly, the Egyptian conglomerate Orascom Telcom Holding resumed working on the hotel. The goal of their renovation is to improve the aesthetics of the building. Glass panels are being adorned to the building's exterior to cover the concrete beneath and telecommunications antennas have been fixed to the roof.

Orascom Telcom Holding have recently been involved in a number of other infrastructure projects in North Korea, including purchasing a 50 percent stake in the country's nationalized concrete producer, and committing US$400 million towards establishing a nationwide 3G cellular network.[13] Rennovations to the Ryugyong Hotel are expected to conclude in 2012.[14] 

Unique Facts

  • Tower height: 1,082 ft (330 m)
  • Number of floors: 105
  • Total area: 3.9 million square feet (360,000 m2)
  • Construction cost: US$750 million
  • Designed to have 3,000 rooms, seven revolving restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, and a Japanese lounge.

References

  1. The Worst Building in the History of Mankind. Esquire.com [January 7, 2010].
  2. Ryugyong Hotel Tower - Construction, photos and general information. RyuhyongHotel.com [January 7, 2010].
  3. ROM Crystal named one of world's ugliest buildings. National Post [January 7, 2010].
  4. North Korea’s “Secret” Hotel. DamnInteresting.com [January 7, 2010].
  5. Ryugyong Hotel Tower - Construction, photos and general information. RyuhyongHotel.com [January 7, 2009].
  6. North Korea’s “Secret” Hotel. DamnInteresting.com [January 7, 2010].
  7. Ryugyong Hotel Tower - Construction, photos and general information. RyuhyongHotel.com [January 7, 2009].
  8. North Korea’s Ryugyong Hotel: Ugliest Building on Earth?. Weird Asia News [January 7, 2009].
  9. North Korea’s “Secret” Hotel. DamnInteresting.com [January 7, 2010].
  10. Ryugyong Hotel Tower - Construction, photos and general information. RyuhyongHotel.com [January 7, 2010].
  11. ORASCOM AND DPRK TO COMPLETE RYUGYONG HOTELfckLRCONSTRUCTION. Wilson Center [January 7, 2009].
  12. Ryugyong Hotel Tower - Construction, photos and general information. RyuhyongHotel.com [January 7, 2010].
  13. ORASCOM AND DPRK TO COMPLETE RYUGYONG HOTELfckLRCONSTRUCTION. Wilson Center [January 7, 2009].
  14. Ryugyong Hotel Tower - Construction, photos and general information. RyuhyongHotel.com [January 7, 2010].

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