By Rem Koolhaas
Architecture is a fuzzy amalgamation of ancient knowledge and contemporary practice, an awkward way to look at the world and an inadequate medium to operate on it./Rem Koolhaas
Content is a product of the moment; a catalog of ideas on 546 pages organized in geographical order. Inspired by the ceaseless fluctuations of the early 21st century, it bears the marks of globalism and the market, ideological siblings that, over the past twenty years, have undercut the stability of contemporary life.
Dominated by a single theme, Go East, the book is an account of seven years tireless labor illustrating the architect's ambiguous relations with the forces of globalization.
Pieces on Koolhaas's projects for Prada and MCA/Universal in LA and the acclaimed Seattle Public Library lead to syncopated meditations on Guggenheim Las Vegas, Chicago's van der Rohe "Miestakes," a modest plan to save Cambridge from Harvard by rechanneling the Charles River, Lagos' future as Earth's third-biggest town, the Hermitage's strange Russian past, Shanghai's Expo 2010, and Asia's skyscrapers, which now outnumber those of the West.
Commissioned to design the new headquarters for MCA/Universal in 1995, OMA spent three years navigating the corporate landscape.
The Universal experience convinced OMA of the need to find ways of escaping architecture's lethal slowness.
The architect's vision:
A tower of laboratory ("thinking"), an elevator core ("circulation"), a stack of meeting rooms ("community"), a tower of accountants ("money").
The "real" issue:
Can architecture represent the intended amalgamation of a liquor company with a movie studio, a music giant, and an internet company?
Among other articles are interviews with Martha Stewart, No more surprises: Global Editing with Martha Stewart, and with Denise Scott Brown & Robert Venturi, Re-learning from Las Vegas.
Instead of starting with the product and then trying to inspire the audience, we try to inspire first and then provide./Martha Stewart
I believe that many developers are building to the glory of God. They have something beyond economics they are trying to achieve./Denise Scott Brown
Any architectural project takes five years; no single enterprise - ambition, intention, need - remains unchanged in the contemporary maelstrom. Architecture is too slow. Yet, the word "architecture" is still pronounced with certain reverence (outside of the profession). It embodies the lingering hope - or the vague memory of hope - that shape, form, coherence could be imposed on the violent surf of information that washes over us daily./Rem Koolhaas
Last updated: December 19, 2013