Ryugyong Redux

The Ryugyong Hotel:  Still not open, but now illuminated.  Photo credit:  NK News

The Ryugyong Hotel was the topic of a post ten years ago during my first dance with writing a blog.  Since it came up again when I was discussing Prora with my husband two days ago, I thought I’d revisit the infamous Hotel of Doom and see what’s happened during the last decade.

First:  My original post will tell you the history of the only building I know of that can rival Prora in the creepy department.

When last we left the story, the exterior of the hotel was being clad in glass by Egyptian company Orascom, targeting an opening as a hotel in 2012.  The cladding was finished in 2011.  The 2012 target for the hotel opening passed; in the meantime, photos of the interior showed that little work had taken place.  Regardless, the hotel operator Kempinski was supposedly going to open the hotel (including a revolving restaurant at the top) in 2013–until they weren’t, and claimed that discussions had never progressed beyond early stages.

Rumours continued to swirl about the hotel’s possible opening, but the site was closed off and “no trespassing” signs posted, with no visible progress for nearly five years.  In late 2017, though, signs of activity appeared again and scaffolding went up, prompting speculation once again about a possible opening.  No evidence has yet appeared that this is imminent,  but what has happened is the erection of a large LED screen at the top of the structure in March 2018, and then the installation of vertical strips of LED lights between the windows on one side in May of 2018.  The result is a 105-story triangular screen, making this seem even more like a structure from a Blade Runner-esque dystopia.  (This video shows what that looked like during test phases.)  According to this article there are also less elaborate lights on the other two sides of the building, and light shows have been taking place nightly.  A tweet from CNN reporter Will Ripley includes a video of the lightshow.  Ironically,  the interior of the structure still lacks electricity.

And, of course, there’s this.

From a tweet by Ankit Panda.  No evidence that this is actually happening, but a girl can dream…

News satire sites had some fun with this as well.