Korean Architecture (조선전축 / Choson Konchuk)

Korean Architecture
조선전축 / Choson Konchuk
Translation and backgrounder by Stephen Mercado

A bimonthly journal covering architectural developments for public buildings, residences, schools and other structures, published by the Industrial Publishing House.

Cover of Korean Architecture (조선건축 / Choson Konchuk), no. 6 (2022).

Journal Title: The journal title has various renderings. Korean Architecture is the name in English. Its name in a simplified version of the standard McCune-Reischauer (M-R) transliteration system and the actual title in Korean are listed above. Its full M-R transliteration, as used in catalogs of the Library of Congress and other major libraries, is Chosŏn kŏnch’uk.

Author Information: Many of the authors are identified as “this company’s reporter.” A relative few are identified as affiliated with a particular university or other organization. The journal publishes profiles of architects and relevant officials as part of its content. For example, Issue 6, 2020 includes a profile with an accompanying color photograph of “Comrade Ryu Ki Hyon, section chief, department head, Kangwon Province Design Institute.” Anecdotes of the Revolution (혁명일화) are unsigned.

Subject Matter: The articles have to do with architectural development and projects.

References: The articles do not have endnotes or other references to scientific or technical sources.

Sections: Each issue comprises a front cover; a front inside page, unnumbered; a table of contents (TOC) in Korean; the articles; the publishing information; a back inside page; and the back cover. Regime messages/propaganda appear throughout the journal.

The front and back covers have photographs or illustrations of buildings and other architectural projects. The pages inside the front and back covers also sport such images. In addition, a large number of photographs and illustrations accompany articles and are at the heart of “photographic introduction” (사진소개) articles. One such introduction in Issue 6, 2020 featuring the Munsu Rehabilitation Clinic runs to 13 pages of photographs showing interiors and exteriors of the facility. The Korean TOC is divided into a number of sections, including “Modernization, Scientificization of Architectural Design” (건축설계의 형대화, 과학화). Following the last item is the publishing information. In recent years, the back cover shows the periodical publication number and the journal’s International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) over a bar code.

A page of the Korean TOC.

Publisher: The publisher’s name in English is the Industrial Publishing House. It is the Kongop Chulpansa in simplified M-R and 공업출판사 in Korean. The publisher’s name appears in Korean on the journal’s cover and the publishing information page; the English version of the publisher’s name appears on the front cover and the copyright line on the publishing information page.

The publisher publishes an issue every other month, starting in February, totaling six issues per year. Issue 5 (October), 2021—the latest issue available—was listed as cumulative issue number 128. On the front cover was the announcement in Korean and English that the journal was “an organ (기관지) of the Central Committee of the Architects Union of Korea (조선건축가동맹중앙워원회), also known as the Korean Architects Union (KAU). The inside front page is unnumbered and lists in Korean and English the members of the journal’s “Compilation Committee” (편찬위원회): Chairman Sim Yong Hak, Vice Chairman Jon Man Gil and seven other members.

The publishing information page also indicated that there was an editorial committee (편집위원회, no members named), the publisher was the Industrial Publishing House, the place of printing was the Pyongyang General Printing Plant, the date of printing was 20 October Juche 110 (2021), and the date of issue was 25 October Juche 110 (2021). The copyright line was © Industrial Publishing House 2021, DPRK. The publishing information has shown changes over time; for example, in Issue 2, 2011, the listed mailing address was different.