||Following the architectural guidelines of the socialist countries, the architecture of North Korea has been formally classified either as architecture of socialist realism or of socialist modernism, with the particularity of the two formal systems coexisting over the years in response to the official ideological discourse. Studies of socialist architecture have rarely included postmodernism until the fall of the Berlin Wall, identifying the appearance of the neo-historicist or technologically inspired forms with the restoration of capitalism, as an opposition to reduced forms (colours and materials) of socialist modernism. In this sense, the architecture of North Korea produced after 1989 -- i. e. since the construction related with the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang -- remains in a kind of conceptual limbo: still maintaining the socialist character as well as carefully chosen historicist references according to the prescriptions of the Juche theory. Postmodernism appears in Western architecture starting from the 1970s, claiming historical references and the expression of relationship between the building and its physical and social context. However, the use of these references is rational and depends on a specific narrative; therefore the theorist Robert Venturi introduces concepts like "irony" or "double meaning" in the analyses of architectural works (Venturi et al 1972). The connecting line between socialist realism (as defined by Boris Groys, 1992) and postmodernism refers to this rational and industrial use of traditional forms, traced by Romanian historian and theorist of architecture Augustin Ioan (1999) and more recently by Rem Koolhaas in one of his lectures on Russian architecture (2014). The article investigates the post-modern nature of North Korean architecture of the last twenty-five years and relates it to similar examples from Russia, China, and the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan where the newly built capital cities have followed the representative trend of Pyongyang.
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North korea ;
Socialist realism ;
Socialist modernism ;
||Tiempo devorado, Vol. 2 Núm. 2 (2015) , p. 98-118 (Articles) , ISSN 2385-5452