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Old August 24th, 2010, 03:31 AM   #1581
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperfreak2 View Post
Such a wonderful update on the previous page, and everyone want to talk politics and poverty instead. Strange.

The building did not get the type of concrete repairs I thought it did. The 'balconies' on the three corners look great, but the cladding is just a big cover up. Look at the feet holding the track. They should all be the same length:
They skipped fixing at least two of the balconies. Wonder why? Guessing either they require a greater level of repair and they will come back to them, or the other balconies are going to be used, while the skipped ones may be on mechanical floors and can be hidden as-is.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 04:15 AM   #1582
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The concrete doesn't look too sturdy. Is there a solid steel frame under there? I have never seen glass facade put on top of cement in current times. This looks like a way to make it look current even though the building technique is outdated
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Old August 24th, 2010, 05:03 AM   #1583
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Many modern skyscrapers are concrete with glass facades, like most of the ones in Dubai. Hopefully Ryugyong has plenty of steel rebar inside its concrete, and the rebar isn't corroding. (Actually there are companies that specialize in repairing concrete that contains corroding rebar. Seems like it would be very expensive job though.)
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Old August 24th, 2010, 05:18 AM   #1584
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I wonder if any of the hotel will be open to the public- obviously all of it won't, like most of the hotels in town. All they need is the lobby, a restaurant, and two or three floors and program the elevators to go to those floors when a button is pressed.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 09:55 AM   #1585
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The two balconies Swiddle mentioned are around the same position as the bend Viperfreak2 mentioned, which is the same bend in one of the edges that has been lamented many times in this thread (and its locked predecessor). I too wonder if Orascom are simply going to leave that bend in the structure and simply cover it up with the facade, or if there's going to be some attempt at fixing it up before installing the cladding over it. We'll have to wait and see.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 04:01 PM   #1586
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Many modern skyscrapers are concrete with glass facades, like most of the ones in Dubai. Hopefully Ryugyong has plenty of steel rebar inside its concrete, and the rebar isn't corroding. (Actually there are companies that specialize in repairing concrete that contains corroding rebar. Seems like it would be very expensive job though.)
Even in Dubai, the bare concrete gets often a treatment with some sort of painting, and then some sort of isolation.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 05:14 PM   #1587
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Quote:
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The concrete doesn't look too sturdy. Is there a solid steel frame under there?
Good question. Are there any pictures from the original construction phase? I too would like to see some steel beams.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 05:07 PM   #1588
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KFA pictures:



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Old August 26th, 2010, 05:21 PM   #1589
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the techniques may be outdated, but the look is still quite modern. Great updates!
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Old August 26th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #1590
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I love the way it reflects the sky. Good job Orascom!
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Old August 26th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #1591
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great pics
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Old August 26th, 2010, 06:38 PM   #1592
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I heard rumors (I don't know if it is true yet) that North Korea might open the door to American tourists sometime in 2012. That might be good news for Ryugyong Hotel.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 08:44 PM   #1593
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A tiny bit off topic: I went to the site printed on the photo above, just out of curiousity. So much BS propaganda! Then there is a 'forum' where a button to click to add comments is located! Oh boy! Oops, comments closed. Darn. I heard KJI was in China today anyway.

Back to the building. When they finish that right edge, the building will look complete from the front view, except there still is nothing visibly done on the lower structures at the front of the tower. Strange. I wonder if the NK's will have Orascom finish the outside of the tower, then they will complete the interior, other sections, and grounds.??
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Old August 26th, 2010, 09:10 PM   #1594
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Such a waste.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 10:50 PM   #1595
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Wow what a difference a nice facade makes!
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Old August 27th, 2010, 12:22 AM   #1596
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Originally Posted by CrazyAboutCities View Post
I heard rumors (I don't know if it is true yet) that North Korea might open the door to American tourists sometime in 2012. That might be good news for Ryugyong Hotel.
US tourists are already allowed to visit North Korea. The official website of the DPRK and the website of Koryo Tours both indicate that US tourism is allowed. Vbs.tv did a documentary on the travel experience of a US tourist.

On the subject of the hotel, the cladding seems to be almost finished. I'm skeptical about how the hotel will be used. Seems like they added a shell just to make the building seem complete. Seeing that the existing hotels in Pyongyang are almost completely empty most of the time, I think that this building will either be public housing or some sort of office building. Building another large hotel was a strange thing to do in the first place for the DPRK.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 01:33 AM   #1597
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Here are some fantastic close-up pics by Ray Cunningham. These were taken on August 16.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaruka/

8.
image hosted on flickr
Is there any indication that they will use those tracks on the side for an observation car? That would be pretty cool to travel up a building like this one with wonderful uninterrupted views of the city.

Last edited by No1_Saint; August 27th, 2010 at 01:36 AM. Reason: Spelling.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 02:21 AM   #1598
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Seeing that the existing hotels in Pyongyang are almost completely empty most of the time, I think that this building will either be public housing or some sort of office building. Building another large hotel was a strange thing to do in the first place for the DPRK.

It will be used as a hotel, business center and public housing.

This is also a very interesting read from the guy who gave us the great update on flickr, user zaruka / Ray Cunningham on the situation in NK:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaruka/...7624761048352/

Quote:
I have returned after an 11 day visit to the DPRK. This was my third annual visit and I traveled to Pyongyang, Wonsan, Samjiyon, Mt. Paektu, and our group was the first tour group into the city of Hamhung. As with the previous visits I tried to gauge how the economy is doing and photographed everything. The photos can be seen on Flickr, user Zaruka.

While trying to do anything is difficult this trip allowed more time on the ground and a slower pace. We could wander a bit more and we had many interactions with local people in towns other than Pyongyang. While aid workers had been to Hamhung we were the first tour group from the outside and nothing could be stage managed. We were able to not only see the conditions on the streets but we were able to live more like the locals during our days on the east coast. We visited the Tongbong Cooperative farm, the Hungnam Fertilizer complex, as well as the Hamhung Revolutionary Opera.

In 2008 there was very little economic activity seen. I counted two state run kiosks in Pyongyang and the semi-permanant ones were mostly shut. In 2009 more kiosks were seen selling food and small goods and even some underground economic activity was documented. In August 2010 the kiosks were everywhere hawking a wide range of goods. I was able to purchase from many of these even if the poor attendant did not know how to price items to foreigners. We had a good laugh at that because in Hamhung they had never encountered the issue. For the first time open selling was permitted outside the markets and boys hawking melons, women selling crackers and baked goods, and ice cream vendors were all over the streets. What was different this time was that people were buying. I went into a vegetable store in Pyongyang and saw a great variety of things for sale. Fruits were sold on the streets by private citizens. In the free markets I could see from 100 feet, there was activity and people of all ages were indeed allowed inside in contrast to the old rules.

The attitude of people in the parks, beaches, downtowns and amusement parks was very good. It is always hard to see if people in any society are happy - much less Korean society. On the farms and in the city we saw more people laughing and enjoying themselves. Cell phones were finally making a real penetration. I saw some in Pyongyang in 2009 but now teenagers were using them. What a change. At the bowling alley I went into a shop were many people were buying consumer goods in won and in dollars. I actually had to wait in line to buy things behind local people. Even in small towns some lines formed to buy. I never saw that in 2008 and it was rare in 2009 except for some street foods. I think things are better in the major cities. For the first time I saw lots of trash left over from consumption of food items and the ice cream wrappers.

Photography is much more relaxed. In Wonsan our cameras were not permitted on a walk on the sea wall in the evening. The Koreans brought out their cameras and took photos of us. How ironic. We laughed at the turn around. Digital photography is taking off there as so many people seem to have cameras. People are much more used to photography even in the rural areas now. They wave as you photograph them. Even soldiers wave.

Indeed there is more traffic and the street lights are on - not just for the Liberation Day holiday August 15, but other nights as well. Yes, they are shut off at 11pm but I had never seen them on. Alas, the street lights are on and so many of the traffic girls stand on the sides of the intersections. Pyongyang with working traffic lights? Amazing.

In the far north of the country we saw more of what the old days were like. There was less to buy and the older rules of security seemed to apply. We noticed some gifts to children were quickly confiscated. A few of the children looked malnourished in one village. There seemed much less to buy but I would expect some regional differences as I saw in the USSR. Still life was not bad.

Some conclusions - The reports by Good Friends about starvation and deaths from May to now are not true. The food situation is as good as I have ever seen. If ice cream is all the rage on hot days there are probably no large problems in the major cities. Indeed we would watch the locals at factories and farms eating lunch and they had meat and noodles every time. We made unscheduled stops and saw the same across the southern tier of the country. I saw an elderly couple eating fruit and noodles under a tree and that was not too bad for a hot day. The cash situation was not as bad as 2009 and people were spending. The guides told us inflation was on the rise and many people did have Chinese RMB or USD. I saw one rural kiosk using dollars and won.

The crops look good in the south, not so good in the north of the DPRK due to flooding. Reports that I heard prior to landing told of the Pyongyang-Wonsan road being destroyed and closed. That was a lie as we only saw minor road issues, not even real damage. Locals said it was not closed. Toward the Yalu it is worse and this week I hear people are being evacuated.

The Chinese-DPRK Border - I was up on the border southeat of Mt. Paektu and there is no border. The Yalu is a creek and anyone can cross at any time. I saw two soldiers walking the border but that was really it. You can wave to the Chinese truckers on the road across the "river."

No word on Kim Jong-un from anyone but the party meeting coming up in September may give us some clues. I looked everywhere and asked but my usual party contact was not around. I wish I had seen something.

Some interesting observations from those on the tour who were new to the country. They were all disgusted at the lies the media in the US tells. We sat with average citizens having lunch in unplanned circumstances and found they were doing well. Oh they could have a higher standard of living but they were doing just fine. Whatever happens they want to do it in the "Korean way."

I am still digesting what I experienced. Sorry for the disjointed piece. I am getting my photos up on Flickr and still trying to sort out the experience. That and the jet lag is hell.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 03:32 AM   #1599
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Thanks vincenand, this story really made my day. Maybe there is still hope for united Korea?
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Old August 27th, 2010, 11:18 AM   #1600
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Yes, very interesting to read that, thanks Vincenand.
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