The Indispensable Guide for Your Next Trip to North Korea

A new guidebook to the architecture and culture of the North Korean capital comes in two handy volumes -- censored and illicit. Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan has the details.
June 16, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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You may chuckle at the suggestion, but a visit to Pyongyang, which is "probably the world's best-preserved open-air museum of socialist architecture," may be entirely warranted. If you decide to plan a visit, you'll definitely need a copy of Pyongyang Architectural and Cultural Guide, which was released this spring by DOM Publishing and edited by its founder, Philipp Meuser, "a Berlin-based architect who's worked in locales as far flung as Kazakhstan, Sarajevo and Bosnia/Herzegovina and India."

The book is divided into objective content (images, maps, state-mandated information) and subjective content (commentary, criticism, non-state-mandated information) in two distinct volumes, which should help you navigate past the prying eyes of customs officials.

According to Campbell-Dollaghan, "many of the buildings in Meuser's guide are little known to foreigners not familiar with the country. The book frames the buildings around Kim Il-sung's concept of Juche, a mantra of self-reliance and autonomy that he invented in the 1950s. Meuser also examines the city on an urban scale, concluding that 'the fathers of modern architecture would have approved of Pyongyang.'" 

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Published on Thursday, June 14, 2012 in Fast Company Co:Design
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