What's It Like to Design for North Korea?

Middlemen, private jets, communication blackouts: providing design services to the world's most reclusive regime isn't easy. Mark Byrnes describes how one architecture and planning firm was selected to redesign North Korea's airports.
August 3, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Not many architecture firms can claim (or would even want to claim?) North Korea as a client, but one firm in China has seemingly found its way into making Kim Jong Un a happy, repeat customer," writes Byrnes. "PLT Planning and Architecture, with offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, had previously proposed a redesign for the Kamgang tourism zone airport in the North Korean port city of Wonsan. The firm imagined the military airport transformed for civilian use via two sleek terminals designed to resemble the drums used in traditional Korean musical performances."

"Their design apparently pleased North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong Un. 'We were told that Kim was happy with our design,' PLT planner Otto Cheng told the South China Morning Post earlier this week, in a fascinating interview that offers a glimpse at how the North Korean government goes about reaching out to private, outside firms."

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Published on Friday, August 2, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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