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ISSN : 1598-1142(Print)
ISSN : 2383-9066(Online)
Journal of architectural history Vol.32 No.5 pp.7-20

Urban Communal Housing in North Korea from an Artistic Point of View

Shin Gunsoo*
경남대 건축학부 교수
* Corresponding Author :


This study aims to reveal the multilayered nature of the formal aspects of communal house architecture in North Korea. It is said that Kim Jong Il, who emerged as a successor after the mid-1970s, brought about a change in the architecture, leading the construction of a sculptural communal house on Gwangbok Street in 1989, and wrote The art of architecture (1992), which theorized architecture as an object of art. Therefore, it is widely perceived that the communal house was transformed from a simple form of living function to an artistic architecture with the rise of Kim Jong Il. This study, however, argues that this change was the result of an internal evolution in North Korean architecture, rather than a simple change in the position of an individual in power. It seeks to move away from the dichotomy that divides the communal house into two periods: the "Kim Il-sung period," in which the communal house was laid out in a simple form to provide mass supply and a socialist lifestyle, and the "Kim Jong-il period," in which the communal house took on an artistic form, such as the Gwangbok Street communal house, in the early years of reconstruction. In the 1950s and 1960s, before Kim Jong-il's arrival, the communal house form was not simply a flat arrangement, but a three-dimensional and sculptural consideration of the effect on the cityscape.

‘건축예술’적 관점에서 살펴본 북한 공동살림집의 복합성

경남대 건축학부 교수