Pyongyang Yanggakdo Hotel


Urban Islands

Saturday 22 July – Tuesday 1 August 2017

The Pyongyang Visiting School is a platform for exploring urban forms in one of the least accessible countries in the world: DPR Korea. For the past two years, working alongside local North Korean architects, academics and policy makers, we have developed design proposals for a main thoroughfare and an urban infill in the center of the city. This year, we will focus on another key urban structure of Pyongyang, the islands on Taedong River and Potong River. These rivers play an important part in structuring the anatomy of the city. The urban blocks, road axes, ceremonial squares have all been aligned along these two key rivers. In addition, key public infrastructure, stadiums, research centres and hotels are have also been strategically built on several islands along the Taedong River. Complementing the ceremonial nature of these islands, we will collectively develop a proposal for a new island neighbourhood. Through the proposals, we will speculate on the impact of a new neighbourhood model on the urban landscape, construction processes and the lives of local residents.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed
1. Unique Experience: Participants are presented with a unique opportunity to explore the environment of one of the least accessible countries in the world: DPR Korea.
2. Site Visits: Through the site visits, participants will gain a first-hand experience and reading of the history, culture and life in the city of Pyongyang.
3. Teaching Team: Students will have the opportunity to engage with design professionals from around the world and local DPRK architects and academics.
4. Student Interaction: Students will have the chance to interact and engage with local students. This interaction will allow students to better understand the study and practice of architecture, planning and construction in the country.


1) To apply, please email with a brief CV listing your profile, design experience and interest in joining the program.
2) We will be making the travel arrangements and we will let you know if your application has been successful by 15 June 2017. Please wait until you have received confirmation of your place before making travel arrangements and visa to the starting point of the program: Beijing. All successfully registered participants are to meet in Beijing on 21 July 2017 at 9am to collect their DPRK visa before collectively travelling to Pyongyang.
3) Once you have been notified of your successful application, you will be invited to make the full workshop and travel fee payment online via the AA Visiting School page and a bank transfer to our workshop organising partner.
4) After your place has been confirmed and fees paid, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.
5) More details on the application for the visiting school can be downloaded from the microsite. We advise students read through the information before making their application.
6) The deadline for applications is 1 June 2017.

Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang


This workshop requires a course fee of £695 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee, and travel fee of USD $2700 to be paid to Choson Exchange.
Travel fee includes:
- Visa for Entering DPRK
- Return Airfare between Beijing and Pyongyang on Air Koryo
- Local Transportation within DPRKs
- Accommodation in DPRK (Twin shared room)
- 3 Daily Basic Meals in DPRK
- City Tour and site visits
- Entrance fees to local sites
- Meetings and discussions with local policy makers
Travel fee excludes:
- Flights from home country to Beijing
- Visa entering Beijing. Participants traveling on certain passports may have a 72-hour visa free entry to Beijing and are to check with their embassy for their eligibility.
Discounts will be offered for group sign-up:
Group of 2: 10% reduction of course fee
Group of 4: 20% reduction of course fee
Students need to bring their own laptops, digital equipment and model making tools. Please ensure this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen at the workshop.

The workshop is open to architects, designers, students and young professionals interested in culture, history and design in the DPRK.
However, given the unique diplomatic conditions of the DPRK, we are unable to accept participants travelling on any of the following passports: Republic of Korea, Japan and United States of America.

Calvin Chua is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and directs Spatial Anatomy, a design office based in Singapore. Together with Choson Exchange, Calvin is also currently leading the AA Visiting School programme in Pyongyang, which has been featured in various news media, including CNN and DW News. An alumnus of the Architectural Association, Calvin is a registered architect in the United Kingdom.

Choson Exchange


Programme Head
Calvin Chua

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

Links & Downloads


Programme site



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