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Garagem Sul | Architecture Exhibitions

Oliver Wainwright

Inside North Korea


Locker room of the May Day Stadium, Pyongyang by Oliver Wainwright

East Pyongyang Grand Theatre by Oliver Wainwright

Aerial view of Pyongyang from the Juche Tower by Oliver Wainwright

Relentless grey apartment blocks, windswept squares and parades of missiles. This is the grim image of Pyongyang that most of us have from western media, but the reality is pastel-coloured fantasy world dotted with curious sci-fi structures, forming one of the strangest cities on the planet. Oliver Wainwright will take us on an eye-opening tour behind closed doors in the most secretive country in the world, revealing a place that has been carefully constructed as a political and ideological tool. From the palatial reading rooms of the Grand People’s Study House, to the locker rooms of the recently renovated May Day Stadium, he will explain how architecture and planning is used to reinforce the national Juche ideology. Under the present
leader, Kim Jong Un, construction has ramped up apace: “Let us turn the whole country into a socialist fairyland!” declares one of his official patriotic slogans. He is rapidly transforming Pyongyang into a playground, conjuring a flimsy fantasy of prosperity and using architecture as a powerful anaesthetic, numbing the population from the stark reality of his authoritarian regime.


Oliver Wainwright
has been the architecture and design critic of the Guardian since 2012. He trained as an architect at the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Art and has worked for a number of practices, including OMA in Rotterdam and Muf in London, as well in strategic urban planning for the Mayor of London’s Architecture and Urbanism Unit. He has written extensively on architecture and design for a wide range of publications and is a regular visiting critic and lecturer at a number of architecture schools. His photographs have been exhibited internationally, and his first book, Inside North Korea (Taschen) is out now.

April 16, 2019
7 pm
Luís de Freitas Branco Room
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