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Rem Koolhaas and Dasha Zhukova: “Art Partners” Reinventing Moscow's Garage Museum

Rem Koolhaas and art philanthropist Dasha Zhukova will be gracing the WSJ. Magazine’s February cover as “art partners” embarking on a transformation that will turn a ruined Brezhnev-era Communist landmark - the Vremena Goda in Moscow’s Gorky Park - into the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s new home. “The building is basically a found object,” said Koolhaas, regarding his “raw” design and intent to preserve the structure’s decay. “We are embracing it as it is.” 

Defining a More Purposeful Architecture: A Guide to Current Architectural Trends

The current state of architectural design incorporates many contemporary ideas of what defines unique geometry. With the advent of strong computer software at the early 21st century, an expected level of experimentation has overtaken our profession and our academic realms to explore purposeful architecture through various techniques, delivering meaningful buildings that each exhibit a message of cultural relevancy.

These new movements are not distinct stylistic trends, but modes of approaching concept design. They often combine with each other, or with stylistic movements, to create complete designs. Outlined within this essay are five movements, each with varying degrees of success creating purposeful buildings: Diagramism, Neo-Brutalism, Revitism, Scriptism, and Subdivisionism.

OMA’s Pantheon-Inspired Faena Forum Set to Open in 2015

Alongside the launch of Faena Circle, an experimental collaboration between Faena Art in Miami Beach and its sister institution in Buenos Aires, comes new images of the OMA-designed Faena Forum. The new center for arts and culture planned for Miami Beach is designed to “catalyze experimentation within and across artistic disciplines and foster cross-cultural collaborations among artists throughout the Western Hemisphere.” A series of flexible spaces formed by interlocking cylindrical and cuboidal volumes will provide for a range of projects, commissions, performances and events. 

© OMA Assembly Hall. Image © OMA Faena District . Image © Faena Art Lobby (model). Image © Nik Koenig

New Images Released of OMA's Norra Tornen Towers in Stockholm

UPDATE: OMA has released new images of the Norra Tornen project (previously named “Tors Torn”), as the close-to 300 apartments planned for the residential towers have been put on the market. The ground-breaking of the Stockholm towers is currently set for May 2015. 

OMA has won the design competition for Tors Torn in Stockholm, beating out four competing practices for the opportunity to build the third tallest twin skyscrapers in Sweden.

Existing urban guidelines call for a gateway to the new Hagastaden area of Stockholm, and OMA’s proposal accommodates a mixed-use program with a set of “rough-skinned” towers. The protrusions and inversions at different heights produce an alternating pattern of indoor living spaces and protruding outdoor spaces. OMA explains that their design “challenges the expected uniformity and homogenous façade treatment that is often assigned to tower structures. Instead, it extends the skin to expose the individuality of the separate living units in the two blocks - a true vertical, urban agglomeration."

More on OMA’s winning proposal after the break…

© Frans Parthesius © OMA © OMA Detail Night. Image © bloomimages

Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas' earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”

13 Things You Didn't Know About Rem Koolhaas

1. When he was young he collaborated with the director Jan de Bont, whose credits would later include Speed and Twister.

2. Koolhaas dates his desire to become an architect to a speech he delivered to a group of architects at the University of Delft when he was 24. 

3. The drawings from his final project at the AA are the most requested items from MoMA's Architecture and Design collection. (Smithsonian Magazine)

Help Us Honor Rem Koolhaas On His 70th Birthday

Rem Koolhaas, one of today's most celebrated architects, has lived a significant year. With the closing of his much-talked about Venice Biennale just days away, the Dutchman also turns 70 years old this coming Monday. 

Why China's President Says "No More Weird Buildings"

The President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, has reportedly called for an end to the "weird buildings" being built in China, and particularly in the nation's capital, Beijing. In a two hour speech at a literary symposium in Beijing last week, Mr Xi expressed his views that art should serve the people and be morally inspiring, identifying architectural projects such as OMA's CCTV Headquarters as the kind of building that should no longer be constructed in Beijing.

With China's construction boom being one of the most talked about features of today's architecture scene - and many a Western practice relying on their extravagant projects to prop up their studios - the Chinese leader's comments have the potential to affect the landscape of architectural practice worldwide. But what is behind these sentiments? Read on after the break to find out.

Video: Rem Koolhaas Answers Questions From Fans as Part of 'REM' Kickstarter

In December of last year, we brought you news of Tomas Koolhaas' kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about his father, Rem Koolhaas. Well, not only was Koolhaas' REM documentary fully funded, three generous backers offered up $500 each in return for one question to be answered directly by Rem Koolhaas himself. The video above is the result of those questions, in which Koolhaas responds to questions on urbanism in the developed country of the Netherlands compared to still-developing India, as well as a question about how his early work in film-making and scriptwriting influenced his architectural career.

Watch the video above and read on after the break for a synopsis of Koolhaas' answers

OMA + OLIN Selected to Design D.C.'s 11th Street Bridge Park

The competition jury for Washington D.C.'s 11th Street Bridge Park has unanimously selected OMA + OLIN's design to turn the ageing freeway structure over the Anacostia River into an elevated park and new civic space for the city. With their dynamic intersecting structure, OMA + OLIN saw off competition from three other teams composed of: Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT), NEXT Architects and Magnusson Klemencic AssociatesStoss Landscape Urbanism and Höweler + Yoon Architecture; and Balmori Associates and Cooper, Robertson & Partners.

Read on after the break for more on the design and a complete set of images.

Courtesy of OMA Courtesy of OMA © OMA & Luxigon © OLIN © OLIN Courtesy of OMA Courtesy of OMA Courtesy of OMA + OLIN

4 Visions Released for D.C.’s First Elevated Park

OMA, Höweler + Yoon, NEXT Architects, and Cooper, Robertson & Partners are amongst four interdisciplinary teams competing to design Washington D.C.’s first elevated public park. As part of a six month nationwide competition, the shortlisted teams have just released their preliminary design proposals for what will be known as the 11th Street Bridge Park.

Suspended over the Anacostia River, the multi-use park aims to re-connect two disparate city districts and re-engage residents with the riverfront by offering a 21st century civic “playscape.” Education and performance spaces, as well as a cafe and water sport areas will all be included in the masterplan.

A preview of the four shortlisted schemes, after the break…

OMA Announces Addition of Four New Partners

OMA has announced the addition of four new equity partners, all promoted from Associate level, to take its total number of partners to ten. The move is a reflection of OMA's increasing workload in both architectural projects, and also the increasing involvement of AMO, the company's research offshoot. With two of the new partners based in their overseas offices, it also represents a move to strengthen their work in markets outside of their European base. Read on after the break for details of all four new partners.

OMA Creates 360-Degree Cinema at the Venice Biennale

OMA has recently transformed the F stage of the Corderie at the Venice Biennale to become a four screen, 360-degree cinema hall. Complementing the exhibitions at the Biennale, full movies will be screened in the space on weekends from now until November.

OMA's Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Tops Out

OMA's Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) has topped out in a ceremony including Taipei’s mayor Hau Lung-pin, and OMA's Partners in charge of the project, Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten. Even in its current skeletal state, the rigidly geometric form is clearly expressed with it's central cube supporting three protruding auditoriums, two cubic and one spherical. The design of the TPAC is in many ways experimental, incorporating a looped public path which shows off the building's backstage areas, and flexible auditoriums which can even be combined, offering extraordinary stage spaces that allow performances which would be impossible in any other theater.

Ahead of the topping out ceremony we spoke to partner in charge David Gianotten, who explained the building's design concepts and the challenges (or rather, surprising lack of challenges) in the construction, and told us "you will only understand it when you have seen it. It's super exciting, we encourage everybody that loves architecture to come and see it because it's spectacular."

Read on after the break for the full interview

Courtesy of OMA; Photography by Philippe Ruault Courtesy of OMA; Photography by Philippe Ruault Courtesy of OMA; Photography by Philippe Ruault © OMA

The Berlage Archive: Elia Zenghelis (2009)

In this 2009 lecture titled "Fabricating Ideology and Architectural Education," seminal architect, educator, and co-founder of OMA Elia Zenghelis discusses the development of ideologies that shape architectural discourse vis-a-vis architectural education. Arguing that architectural education is motivated by religious, socio-political, and economic principles, Zenghelis makes the case that the war-torn 20th century has been an era of upheaval and conflict, resulting in the loss of historical context and a confused state for artists and architects. Proposing the idea that architecture is a servant of power, and is thus intrinsically intertwined with political and societal trends, Zenghelis urges a return to a contextualized understanding of architectural history in order for contemporary architects to develop a sensitive and nuanced approach to their practice. 

Discussing his relationships and collaborations with former students and colleagues Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Peter Eisenman, as well as the political and architectural legacy of such giants as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, Elia Zenghelis provides a compelling conversation about the inherent role of architecture in political discourse.

Don't miss the other lectures in The Berlage Archive series

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."

Arquitectonica Takes Over Miami Beach Convention Center From OMA

Following the controversial decision to scrap plans by OMA earlier this year, Miami Beach officials have selected Arquitectonica for the redesign of the Miami Beach Convention Center. In a significant scaling-down of OMA's $1 billion masterplan, the new scheme calls for the existing center to be kept and renovated to 'Class A' standards, along with the addition of a new ballroom, meeting space and rooftop parking. The center's existing parking lot will be converted into a 6.5 acre public park, designed by landscape firm West 8.

More on the Convention Center Controversy after the break

Infographic: What Do European Architects Actually Do?

Though the professional practice of architecture can be broadly defined, we often just focus on the design work in relation to the completed building, leaving behind other areas in which architects find more opportunities. In this infographic created by OMA in preparation for the Monditalia exhibition at the Venice Biennale, we see how the professional activities are distributed among these sub-areas such as planning, landscape design, interior design and feasibility studies--a relationship which can also allow us to extrapolate the outcomes and products that emerge from these countries. 

Click the infographic to get a closer look and browse the projects we've published from the represented countries: