Rem Koolhaas in 2013
Remment Lucas Koolhaas
17 November 1944
|Alma mater||Architectural Association School of Architecture, Cornell University|
|Occupation|| Architect |
|Awards|| Pritzker Prize (2000)|
Praemium Imperiale (2003)
Royal Gold Medal (2004)
Leone d'oro alla carriera (2010)
|Practice||Office for Metropolitan Architecture|
|Buildings|| Casa da Música in Porto |
Seattle Central Library
Netherlands Embassy Berlin
China Central Television Headquarters
Qatar National Library, 2017
Remment Lucas Koolhaas (Dutch pronunciation: [rɛm koːlɦaːs] ; born 17 November 1944) is a Dutch architect, architectural theorist, urbanist and Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He is often cited as a representative of Deconstructivism and is the author of Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan .
He is seen by some as one of the truly significant architectural thinkers and urbanists of his generation, by others as a self-important iconoclast.In 2000, Rem Koolhaas won the Pritzker Prize. In 2008, Time put him in their top 100 of The World's Most Influential People .
Remment Koolhaas, usually abbreviated to Rem Koolhaas, was born on 17 November 1944 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Anton Koolhaas (1912–1992) and Selinde Pietertje Roosenburg (born 1920). His father was a novelist, critic, and screenwriter. Two documentary films by Bert Haanstra for which his father wrote the scenarios were nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature, one won a Golden Bear for Short Film. His maternal grandfather, Dirk Roosenburg (1887–1962), was a modernist architect who worked for Hendrik Petrus Berlage, before opening his own practice. Rem Koolhaas has a brother, Thomas, and a sister, Annabel. His paternal cousin was the architect and urban planner Teun Koolhaas (1940–2007). The family lived consecutively in Rotterdam (until 1946), Amsterdam (1946–1952), Jakarta (1952–1955), and Amsterdam (from 1955).
His father strongly supported the Indonesian cause for autonomy from the colonial Dutch in his writing. When the war of independence was won, he was invited over to run a cultural programme for three years and the family moved to Jakarta in 1952. "It was a very important age for me," Koolhaas recalls "and I really lived as an Asian."
In 1969, Koolhaas co-wrote The White Slave, a Dutch film noir, and later wrote an unproduced script for American soft-porn king Russ Meyer.
He was a journalist in 1963 at age 19 for the Haagse Postbefore starting studies in architecture in 1968 at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, followed, in 1972, by further studies with Oswald Mathias Ungers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, followed by studies at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City.
Koolhaas first came to public and critical attention with OMA (The Office for Metropolitan Architecture), the office he founded in 1975 together with architects Elia Zenghelis, Zoe Zenghelis and (Koolhaas's wife) Madelon Vriesendorp in London. They were later joined by one of Koolhaas's students, Zaha Hadid – who would soon go on to achieve success in her own right. An early work which would mark their difference from the then dominant postmodern classicism of the late 1970s, was their contribution to the Venice Biennale of 1980, curated by Italian architect Paolo Portoghesi, titled "Presence of the Past". Each architect had to design a stage-like "frontage" to a Potemkin-type internal street; the façades by Costantino Dardi, Frank Gehry and OMA were the only ones that did not employ Post-Modern architecture motifs or historical references.
Other early critically received (yet unbuilt) projects included the Parc de la Villette, Paris (1982) and the residence for the Prime Minister of Ireland (1979), as well as the Kunsthal in Rotterdam (1992). These schemes would attempt to put into practice many of the findings Koolhaas made in his book Delirious New York (1978),which was written while he was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, directed by Peter Eisenman.
Koolhaas's book Delirious New York set the pace for his career. Koolhaas analyzes the "chance-like" nature of city life: "The City is an addictive machine from which there is no escape" "Rem Koolhaas...defined the city as a collection of 'red hot spots'."(Anna Klingmann). As Koolhaas himself has acknowledged, this approach had already been evident in the Japanese Metabolist Movement in the 1960s and early 1970s.
A key aspect of architecture that Koolhaas interrogates is the "Program": with the rise of modernism in the 20th century the "Program" became the key theme of architectural design. The notion of the Program involves "an act to edit function and human activities" as the pretext of architectural design: epitomised in the maxim form follows function, first popularised by architect Louis Sullivan at the beginning of the 20th century. The notion was first questioned in Delirious New York, in his analysis of high-rise architecture in Manhattan. An early design method derived from such thinking was "cross-programming", introducing unexpected functions in room programmes, such as running tracks in skyscrapers. More recently, Koolhaas unsuccessfully proposed the inclusion of hospital units for the homeless into the Seattle Public Library project (2003).
Koolhaas' next publications were a byproduct of his position as professor at Harvard University, in the Design school's "Project on the City"; firstly the 720-page Mutations,followed by The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping (2002) and The Great Leap Forward (2002).
All three books published student work analysing what others would regard as "non-cities", sprawling conglomerates such as Lagos in Nigeria, west Africa, which the authors argue are highly functional despite a lack of infrastructure. The authors also examine the influence of shopping habits and the recent rapid growth of cities in China. Critics of the books have criticised Koolhaas for being cynical,– as if Western capitalism and globalization demolish all cultural identity – highlighted in the notion expounded in the books that "In the end, there will be little else for us to do but shop". Perhaps such caustic cynicism can be read as a "realism" about the transformation of cultural life, where airports and even museums (due to finance problems) rely just as much on operating gift shops. It does, however, demonstrate one of the architect's characteristic devices for deflecting criticism: attack the client or subject of study after completing the work.
When it comes to transforming these observations into practice, Koolhaas mobilizes what he regards as the omnipotent forces of urbanism into unique design forms and connections organised along the lines of present-day society. Koolhaas continuously incorporates his observations of the contemporary city within his design activities: calling such a condition the ‘culture of congestion’. Again, shopping is examined for "intellectual comfort", whilst the unregulated taste and densification of Chinese cities is analysed according to "performance", a criterion involving variables with debatable credibility: density, newness, shape, size, money etc.
In 2003, Content, a 544-page magazine-style book designed by &&& Creative and published by Koolhaas, gives an overview of the last decade of OMA projectsincluding his designs for the Prada shops, the Seattle Public Library, a plan to save Cambridge from Harvard by rechanneling the Charles River, Lagos' future as Earth's third-biggest city, as well as interviews with Martha Stewart and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.
In 2005, Rem Koolhaas co-founded Volume Magazine together with Mark Wigley and Ole Bouman. Volume Magazine – the collaborative project by Archis (Amsterdam), AMO Rotterdam and C-lab (Columbia University NY) – is a dynamic experimental think tank devoted to the process of spatial and cultural reflexivity. It goes beyond architecture’s definition of ‘making buildings’ and reaches out for global views on architecture and design, broader attitudes to social structures, and creating environments to live in. The magazine stands for a journalism which detects and anticipates, is proactive and even pre-emptive – a journalism which uncovers potentialities, rather than covering done deals.
In the late nineties he worked on the design for the new headquarters for Universal.
Indeed, online marketing and propaganda has been a hallmark of OMA's rise in the current century. It has also led to pointed criticism, such as the critique by New York Magazine critic Justin Davidson, who found the 2020 Guggenheim exhibition Countryside, the Future "mildly amusing if it weren’t such terrible waste — of attention, of gallery square footage, of resources, talent, and expertise. Bored with being an architect and building things, Koolhaas lets his fingertips graze important topics, genuine insights, and actual lives. He treats them all as ironic bric-a-brac, meaningless souvenirs of his meanderings through a fragile world. How frustrating that the Guggenheim couldn’t force a little more intellectual rigor on this romp."
With his Prada projects, Koolhaas ventured into providing architecture for the fleeting world of fashion and with celebrity-studded cachet: not unlike Garnier's Opera, the central space of Koolhaas' Beverly Hills Prada store is occupied by a massive central staircase, ostensibly displaying select wares, but mainly the shoppers themselves. The notion of selling a brand rather than marketing clothes was further emphasised in the Prada store on Broadway in Manhattan, New York,which had previously been owned by the Guggenheim: the museum signs were not removed during the outfitting of the new store, as if emphasizing the premises as a cultural institution. The Broadway Prada store opened in December 2001, cost €32 million to build, and has 2,300 square meters of retail space.
Probably the most costly and celebrated OMA projects of the new century were the massive Central China Television Headquarters Building in Beijing, China, and the new building for the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the equivalent of the NASDAQ in China. In his design for the new CCTV Headquarters in Beijing (2009), Koolhaas did not opt for the stereotypical skyscraper, often used to symbolise and landmark such government enterprises; he patented a "horizontal skyscraper" in the U.S. The building, popularly called "The Big Pants" by Beijing residents, was designed as a series of volumes which attempt to tie together the numerous departments onto the nebulous site, but also introduce routes (again, the concept of cross-programming) for the general public through the site, allowing them some degree of access to the production procedure. An unfortunate incident that highlighted the folly of the circulation scheme (no effective fire egress for people on the upper floors), was the construction fire that nearly destroyed the building and a nearby hotel in 2009.
Koolhaas was previously married to Madelon Vriesendorp, an artist who is the mother of his two children, Charlie, a photographer, and Tomas, a filmmaker.Koolhaas divorced Vriesendorp in 2012. He has known his current partner Petra Blaisse, an interior and landscape designer since 1986.
The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is a Dutch architectural firm based in Rotterdam, founded in 1975 by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and Greek architect Elia Zenghelis, along with Madelon Vriesendorp and Zoe Zenghelis.
The CCTV Headquarters serves as the headquarters for China Central Television (CCTV) that was formerly at the old China Central Television Building located at 11 Fuxin Road some 15 km (9.3 mi) to the west. The tower is a 234-metre (768 ft), 51-story skyscraper on East Third Ring Road, Guanghua Road in the Beijing Central Business District (CBD). Groundbreaking took place on 1 June 2004 and the building's facade was completed in January 2008. After the construction was delayed by a fire that engulfed the adjacent Television Cultural Center in February 2009, the headquarters was completed in May 2012 and was officially inaugurated in June 2013. The CCTV Headquarters won the 2013 Best Tall Building Worldwide from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Elia Zenghelis is a Greek architect and teacher. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, completing his studies in 1961. From 1961 to 1971 he worked for architects Douglas Stephen and Partners, London, while also teaching at the Architectural Association. Zenghelis became a prominent teacher at the school for introducing more radical avant-gardism into the curriculum. From 1971 to 1975 Zenghelis collaborated with various architects in London, Paris and New York: Georges Candilis, Michael Carapetian, Aristeides Romanos, Rem Koolhaas, O.M. Ungers and Peter Eisenman.
Ole Scheeren is a German architect, urbanist and principal of Büro Ole Scheeren Group with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Berlin and Bangkok and a visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong since January 2010.
Madelon Vriesendorp is a Dutch artist, painter, sculptor and art collector. She was married to Rem Koolhaas and best known as one of the co-founders of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in the early 1970s. Vriesendorp would often create visuals and graphics for OMA in the early years.
Alejandro Zaera Polo is a Spanish-born American contemporary architect and founder of London and New York based Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Maider Llaguno Architecture (AZPML). He is the former dean of the School of Architecture at Princeton University for two years and a prolific theorist, widely published in different professional media.
Cecil Balmond OBE is a Sri Lankan–British designer, artist, and writer. In 1968 Balmond joined Ove Arup & Partners, leading him to become deputy chairman. In 2000 he founded design and research group, the AGU.
Kees Christiaanse is an architect and urban planner from the Netherlands. After working with Rem Koolhaas, he started two firms, Kees Christiaanse Architects & Planners in 1989 and Architects and Planners in 1990, where he was a partner till 2002. Christiaanse has "tackled some of the highest profile urban design schemes in the Netherlands, hosting buildings by" the finest Dutch and several international architects.
Reinier de Graaf is a Dutch architect, architectural theorist, urbanist and writer. He is a Partner of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas, and author of the book Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession.
Kunlé Adeyemi was born on the 7 April 1976 and is a Nigerian architect, urbanist and creative researcher. Adeyemi is founder and principal of NLÉ, an architecture, design and urbanism practice, based in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Adeyemi studied at the University of Lagos in Nigeria and Princeton University in New Jersey, the United States. Before starting his own office in the Netherlands, he worked nearly a decade at Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).
Petra Blaisse is a British-born Dutch designer. Her work is an intersection of the professions of architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, textile design, and exhibition design.
De Rotterdam is a building on the Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam, designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in 1998. The complex is located between the KPN Tower and Rotterdam Cruise Terminal and was finalized at the end of 2013. On 21 November 2013, the municipality of Rotterdam, as the largest user, received the keys. The design provides space for offices, a hotel and apartments. The 44 floors amount to a total floor space area of about 160,000 m², making it the largest building in the Netherlands.
Fondazione Prada, co-chaired by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli since 1995, is an institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture. From 1993 to 2010, the Fondazione has organised 24 solo shows at its exhibition spaces in Milan, conceived as dialogues with acclaimed contemporary artists. In 2015, the Fondazione Prada opened a new, permanent facility in Milan.
Teun Koolhaas was a Dutch architect and urban planner.
Patrizio Bertelli, is chief executive officer (CEO) of Prada Group and husband to Miuccia Prada.
Yves Brunier was a French landscape architect best known for his collage illustrations and projects done in France and Belgium.
Matthias Hollwich is principal and co-founder of New York architecture firm Hollwich Kushner (HWKN), a published author, and co-founder of Architizer.com. His work has been published in publications such as Wallpaper*, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Mark, Bauwelt, Dwell and Architectural Digest.
The Factory is a cultural space currently being built in Manchester, UK, which is to be the permanent home of the Manchester International Festival. It is inspired by the city's history of innovation and MIF's "reputation for big-hitting world premieres, envelope-pushing new work" and "being one of the leading worldwide incubators for new, cutting-edge art."
Christophe Van Gerrewey is a Belgian architectural and literary theorist, writer and architect. He is currently tenure track professor for architectures, criticism, history and theory at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan is a 1978 book, written by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The book serves as a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan between 1850 and 1960, analyzing the development of architecture and urban design throughout New York's history from the founding of New Amsterdam by the Dutch, to the design of the Headquarters of the United Nations by Le Corbusier. Rem Koolhaas describes the concept of 'Manhattanism', the theory of the creation and functioning of the city of New York, at length in the book.
Koolhaas' habit of shaking up established conventions has made him one of the most influential architects of his generation. A disproportionate number of the profession's rising stars, including Winy Maas of the Dutch firm MVRDV and Bjarke Ingels of the Copenhagen-based BIG, did stints in his office. Architects dig through his books looking for ideas; students all over the world emulate him. The attraction lies, in part, in his ability to keep us off balance. Unlike other architects of his stature, such as Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid, who have continued to refine their singular aesthetic visions over long careers, Koolhaas works like a conceptual artist—able to draw on a seemingly endless reservoir of ideas.
Koolhaas and Blaisse have been together since 1986—not living together, she notes, “but having a life together.” Three years ago, they began sharing an apartment. Two years later, he obtained a divorce from Madelon Vriesendorp, an artist who is the mother of his two children.
Since its opening in 2011
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