34 Football Fields of Museums: Rem Koolhaas Talks at the Galeries Lafayette

“I feel a misfit in my own time,” says Rem Koolhaas, setting the tone. Seated in soon-to-be renovated Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Koolhaas bares all intellectually through the course of his lecture. As founder of Rotterdam-based OMA with a worldwide practice, candid conversations with Koolhaas are rare. The discussion provides a glimpse into the creative process of one of the world’s leading architects and current Curator of the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Koolhaas confides in the audience from the outset, admitting his discomfort with current architecture. “From the inside of my current condition, I feel profoundly out of step with the contemporary situation,” says Koolhaas, adding ”I’m very annoyed by the contemporary belief in comfort as the ultimate virtue.”

Read on after the break for more summary of the fascinating lecture

Koolhaas stands at the intersection of art and architecture, deliberating on the evolution of museum design. Using the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern by Herzog & de Meuron as an example, Koolhaas states: “In order to fill spaces like this, artists are forced into an apocalyptic mode as only very strong emotions register – this is not a space you can fill with delicacy.” Koolhaas’ solution to the apocalyptic problem can be found in his recent design for the renovation of Galeries Lafayette, a heritage protected building in Paris with zero tolerance for structural modification. The design calls for movable floors installed in a steel-framed courtyard – the only intervention available in the listed building. “The beauty of preservation is that it begins with acknowledging that another architecture is worth keeping,” concludes Koolhaas.

OMA to Refurbish Paris Industrial Building for Galeries Lafayette

Exhibition tower, Three configurations, Model 1-100e. Image © / Frans Parthesius

OMA has unveiled its latest design project to blend the worlds of fashion and architecture: the of a late 19th century industrial building for French high-end retail group Galeries Lafayette’s Fondation d’Entreprise, in Paris.

OMA is no stranger to the world of fashion, having collaborated on bold catwalk designs for Prada over the last decade as well as the renovation of a 16th century palazzo in Venice for Benetton. For Galeries Lafayette, a five-story, U-shaped, courtyard building built in 1891 will be transformed into a space for exhibitions and production. Located in Le Marais, one of Paris’ oldest neighborhoods, the architecture is protected under a heritage preservation plan. The building is to be fully preserved, cleaned and restored, and OMA’s design also includes the construction of a new exhibition tower for the courtyard. The tower will contain two sets of mobile platforms that can be split into four independent platforms, adding additional space and flexibility.

See photos and read a project description from OMA after the break.

100 years under the Dome : 1912-2012

Festival de la mode, David Lachapelle, 1999 © Archives

Beginning on October 16th, 2012, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France, will be celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Dome designed by architect Ferdinand Chanut and glass artist Jacques Gruber in 1912.  100 years under the Dome will be held at the flagship store of the boulevard Haussmann, a true Parisian symbol.  In addition, the gallery will launch an exhibition called 1912-2012. Chronicles of a Creative Itinerary by architect Rem Koolhaas and his studio , along with a collaboration called Chrysalide between visual artist Yann Kersalé and Djuric Tardio – Architectes.

Join us after the break for more stunning images for the anticipated celebration.