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A North Korean Architect’s Crazy Visions of the Future
It’s difficult for anyone to imagine the future. But what if you were largely unfamiliar with the present? That’s the fascination at the heart of “Commissions for Utopia,” a series of futuristic scenes of North Korea dreamed up by one of the country’s promising young architects. The illustrations, currently on view at the Venice Architecture Biennale in Italy, show the buildings of tomorrow as envisioned by someone with little exposure to the architecture of today. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, “architect” is a government job. There are no private projects, and young North Korean architects come out of school with only a faint understanding of the field as it exists outside their deeply isolated country. Recently, however, one young architect was given a rare chance at an outside commission by a client named Nick Bonner. Bonner holds the unusual distinction of operating the most popular tourist agency to the least-visited country in the world. Born in Britain and trained as a landscape architect, he founded Koryo Tours in Beijing in 1993. Today, the company takes over two thousand tourists into North Korea a year—more than half of all the foreigners who visit. (via A North Korean Architect’s Crazy Visions of the Future | Design | WIRED)