He had a high position in the Air Force, but the housing provided was not very comfortable. He lived in Hamxing, a six-storey concrete apartment house in the base.
There is no elevator. There were three rooms in the dwelling units, but no hot water. The wallpaper was yellowish, so I replaced it with a high quality one that my mother could easily wash.
Mother immediately put blue tiles on the bathroom wall. In winter, the pipes freeze, and in summer, the outer walls become black with mold. (Lee Hyun-so, “A Girl with Seven Names”)
In North Korea, it is a rule that apartments below the 15th floor have no elevator. (Asahi newspaper Aera editorial department, “Exiles from North Korea”)
My home was an apartment on the riverside of Datong River. Datong Bridge is not too far away.
The apartment was built by Soviet people after the Korean War and was a relatively high-end apartment in Pyongyang at the time.
Residents were also the leaders of the Labor Party, the members of the Ministry of Social Security, and returnees who had made large donations.
(Kang Cheol-Hwan, An-hyuk “Escape from North Korea”)
The middle area is the first central area of Pyongyang city, the highest downtown area of the 6th era. Our house was located on the third floor of the 3rd floor of the 8th entrance of the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Transportation, Social Security Division, Sanhae-dong, Sanghae-dong, a group in the middle area. (Ibid.)
Our family first lived in a two-storey apartment, typical of ordinary workers. Inside it looked like a two-family house, where my house lived on the first floor and the second floor part was home to another family. Such two-family apartments were connected like a row house, and about 20 households lived. Each household had only one room, and the toilets were shared and separated from the entire apartment.
Toilets usually consist of digging a hole in the ground, burying a drum in it and hiding it with boards and straw. When the drum is full, pump it out and mix it with the soil.
Then, once or twice a week, they take them to a designated village farm in a rear car. In the summer, my eyes hurt with a stimulating smell. (Lu Jinzhu, Lee Meilan “North Korea as seen by a girl”）
The forested cylindrical building is called a “cylindrical apartment,” in which instructors of the government council and deputy general managers or higher live. The size of each house is 45 to 60 tsubo. (Kang Myeong-do, North Korea’s Top Secret)
The apartment on the main street had colorful tiles. But no tiles could be seen anywhere on the wall of the backstreet apartment where my brother lived. It was dark cemented and lightly dirty. The road in front of the building was not paved, and the open space, which occupied a considerable area behind, was dirty. Broken cement blocks of various shapes were scattered. Burnt coke and briquette ash were also dumped here and there. (Kim Won-jo, “Republic of the frozen land”)
My father’s room was on the top floor of an eight-storey complex. There was no elevator and I had to go up the dark stairs eight floors to get to the room. So in North Korea the lower floors are preferred. People without money will live in higher places (Park Yong-mi, “The Choice to Live”)