ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide

the world's most visited architecture website

Rem Koolhaas: A Reluctant Architect

Rem Koolhaas © Dominik Gigler
Rem Koolhaas © Dominik Gigler

In honor of ’ birthday today, we are bringing you all things Koolhaas: 14 Fun Koolhass quotes; a fabulous article by former New York Times critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff; this ArchDaily original editorial; and, later today, a Round-Up of all of OMA's latest works. Stay tuned!

Imagine London, but not the way you know it. Imagine it physically separated, much like Berlin once was, into two zones: one of pleasure and one of practicality. Consider how the city would eventually appear as inhabitants rushed to the pleasure zone; how the zone of practicality would eventually, inevitably become bereft. 

This is the London of a young Rem Koolhaas’ imaginings, written for his Thesis at the Architectural Association School in London in the late 60s. Before Delirious New York, before OMA, and much before the CCTV Tower, Koolhaas was inspired by this idea of the divided city - and it’s a fitting image to start thinking about the ever provocative, often controversial Rem: a man who stands with one foot in the world of desire and the other, reluctantly, in that of practicality; a man who would perhaps prefer the title of urban thinker, despite clearly being one of architecture’s great masters. 

It’s exactly this in-between-ness, this reluctance to fit into one supposed role, that has been Koolhaas’ greatest asset, that has allowed him to approach the profession from such unlikely angles. Using the city’s freedoms as his inspiration, and rejecting as given the expectations of what architecture is(even questioning its relevance at all), Koolhass, the “reluctant architect,” is also the most radical of our time, and the most vital for our future. 

Las Torres / Hierve-Diseñeria

  • Architects: Hierve-Diseñeria
  • Location: Cuautitlán Izcalli, México.
  • Collaborators: Armando Niño de Rivera, Sugey Ramirez, Mikel Merodio, Jesus Ramirez, Gabriela Rosas
  • Partner: Alejandro Villarreal
  • Area: 8,502 sqm
  • Year: 2010
  • Photography: © Rafael Gamo, Cortesia de Hierve-Diseñeria

© Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo

12 Classic Koolhaas Quotes

© wyly wonderment
© wyly wonderment

Pritzker-Prize Laureate Remment Lucas Koolhaas (you probably know him as "Rem") turns 68 today. The co-founder of one of the world's most renowned architecture firms, OMA, and an urban-planner/philosopher whose theories have provoked admiration (and ire) for over thirty years, Koolhaas is undeniably one of a kind.

Insertion Below Chimney / Original Design Studio

  • Architects: Original Design Studio
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Design Team: Zhang Ming, Zhang Zi, Sun Jialong
  • Area: 3000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Zhang Siye - Wang Yuan - Sun Jialong

© Zhang Siye - Wang Yuan - Sun Jialong © Zhang Siye - Wang Yuan - Sun Jialong © Zhang Siye - Wang Yuan - Sun Jialong © Zhang Siye - Wang Yuan - Sun Jialong

House G12 / (se)arch Freie Architekten

© Zooey Braun © Zooey Braun © Zooey Braun © Zooey Braun

Faliro Pier Competition Entry / Ksestudio

© Huy Dao
© Huy Dao

With the challenge of creating a new landmark on a floating platform, the ‘U-Topos’ proposal for the Faliro pier competition proposes a constructed “place”, a new “Land-” and a new “-mark”. Designed by Ksestudio, in an attempt to optimize climatic conditions, views and generate events, while developing an iconic identity, their project bends the given square platform to a “U” shape. The design is essentially a shell, an empty vessel, that frames the view towards the city and the sea, while signifying a gate, as small boats are allowed to park at the perimeter of the platform. More images and architects’ description after the break.

425 Park Avenue / Foster + Partners

Courtesy of Foster + Partners
Courtesy of Foster + Partners

As we announced in early October, British powerhouse Foster + Partners have been declared as winner of the six-month long, all-star competition to design the next “landmark” high rise on the prime site of 425 Park Avenue in New York City. The tapered, steel-frame office tower is planned to rise 687 feet to claim a spot on the New York City skyline by 2017. Upon competition, the world-class high rise is expected to achieve LEED Gold status and serve as an exemplar for sustainable office design.

Foster’s concept succeeded visions from Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers (view all the proposals here). Construction is expected to begin in 2015, shortly after the completion of Foster’s first U.S. residential high rise, which broke ground this week in New York.

Details of 425 Park Avenue after the break…

Prentice Granted Temporary Landmark Status as Preservationists Sue

Hedrich Blessing, courtesy of Estate of Bertrand Goldberg/ Strawn.Sierralta with Plural Design via Chicago Architecture Foundation
Hedrich Blessing, courtesy of Estate of Bertrand Goldberg/ Strawn.Sierralta with Plural Design via Chicago Architecture Foundation

Cook County Judge Neil Cohen has granted Bertand Goldberg’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital a temporary reprieve after preservationist filed a lawsuit against the city and the Chicago Commission on Public Landmarks yesterday afternoon. Plaintiffs, Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation claim that the commission “acted arbitrarily and exceeded its authority,” after granting and subsequently revoking Prentice landmark status in just a short afternoon on November 1. These proceedings, which typically takes months, followed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to publicly support Northwestern University’s plan to demolish the vacant icon.

More after the break…

Casa Maitencillo / Mas y Fernández Arquitectos Asociados

© Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh

Video: Faye Toogood, Studio Visit

Collserola Park Competition Entry / Nabito Architects + ACTAR

Mixed-Use Building 01 ./ Courtesy of Nabito Architects + ACTAR
Mixed-Use Building 01 ./ Courtesy of Nabito Architects + ACTAR

Nabito Architects + ACTAR shared with us their design proposal for the “Les Portes de Collserola” international competition held by the government of Barcelona. As a finalist, the architects were challenged to create an ambitious strategical plan to regenerate the entire Park of Coillserola in the North of the city. The architects were then selected to take part in the 4B door called: ‘LES PLANES IN-PARK UNA PORTA, VÀRIES CLAUS’. The Project is a Master plan for the re-interpretation of one of the doors from Collserola Mountain going into the city of Barcelona. It is a space in between a complex superposition of different elements: urban, natural, rural and infrastructural. The perfect mix to ordinate the territory for a contemporary project. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Save Time and Experience Greater Collaboration with Vectorworks 2013 Software

As processes evolve, architects and designers need superior tools to transition their designs from vision to reality. Answering that call is the Vectorworks® 2013 product line from Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. This multi-dimensional software suite helps users implement Building Information Modeling (BIM) techniques and workflows and gain an edge in drawing, 3D modeling, integrated rendering, and high-quality presentations.

Sponsored by Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc.

Evangelical Temple in Terrassa / OAB

© Alejo Bagué
© Alejo Bagué

Architects: OAB Location: Terrassa, Spain Project Architects: Carlos Ferrater y Lucía Ferrater Technical Architect: Enric Betlinski Project Year: 2010 Photographs: Alejo Bagué

© Alejo Bagué © Alejo Bagué © Alejo Bagué © Alejo Bagué

Day Care Center for Adults with Developmental Intellectual Disabilities Competition

Courtesy of ZEZEZE Architecture Gallery
Courtesy of ZEZEZE Architecture Gallery

The ZEZEZE Architecture Gallery recently launched their open design competition for the design of a day care center for adults with developmental intellectual disabilities, to be established in the city of Beer Sheba. Held on behalf of the Beer Sheba municipality and the Shalem Fund, while managed by ZEZEZE Architecture Gallery, the winner of the two-stage competition will have the unique experience of entering into agreement with the city of Beer Sheba for the design of the center. The deadline for submissions is February 3rd, with the second stage following shorty after. To register and for more information, please visit here.

Call for Submissions: MONU Magazine’s #18 Issue – ‘Communal Urbanism’

Meal in a Political Commune (1968) © Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Photo credit: Günter Zint
Meal in a Political Commune (1968) © Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Photo credit: Günter Zint

MONU magazine on urbanism is continuously looking for interesting contributions. The current open call for submissions for MONU #18 is on the topic of “ Communal Urbansim” with submissions due December 31. This new issue aims to focus on contemporary communal living in cities in general and on contemporary communal housing projects in particular. Nevertheless, we are interested in the history of communal housing and communal living in general as well, whether in the Western world or anywhere else. Today, communes or communal housing projects probably appear to be by far less naïve than in the past, more pragmatic and economic, better organized, and built up around serious and professional financial strategies.More information after the break.