Description from

"The Pyongyang Visiting School Program is a platform for exploring emerging urban conditions in one of the least accessible countries in the world: DPR Korea. Through an annual research on a particular city and a specific topic of investigation, this workshop aims to provide a collective understanding of the country beyond its clichéd image as a symbolic socialist state.

For the first year, we will focus on the emerging phenomenon of small-scale autonomous projects taking place in the country. Similar to other developing countries, the DPRK has been employing the ‘economic zone’ as a form of development, a space with exceptional laws, regulations and incentives that allows experimentation with policies and projects that deviate from the norm. However, given the challenges with operating at such a large scale and the recent trend of non-state actors funding smaller scale projects in the cities, the range of experimentation has expanded, from a single isolated region to urban blocks or even building plots within a city.

In this workshop, we will investigate and test the viability of these autonomous projects by developing smaller-scale architectural interventions for selected sites in Pyongyang. Instead of adding to the repertoire of symbolic objects and spaces, we will focus on one of the basic elements of the city: the interior of an urban block. Through the proposals, we will speculate on the impact of the autonomous development model on the urban landscape, construction processes and the lives of local residents. In addition, we will attempt to project the potential of the model as an alternative to today’s default urban condition of the ‘economic zone’ and rediscover the quality of the city as the site that provides the texture for development."

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