In the architectural stomping ground that is Rotterdam, it’s no small task to design a building that actually stands out. But, according to The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright, the recently completed De Rotterdam building manages to. Although the Koolhaas-designed structure, which houses offices, apartments and even a boutique hotel, may at first seem simple (simplistic, even), Wainwright praises how the shifting masses cleverly play tricks on your perception. The building is undoubtedly impressive, but is the unconventional envelope enough to distract from a bland-at-best interior? Read the rest of Wainwright’s critique here. evaluate
OMA’s comprehensive strategy to rebuild the New Jersey city of Hoboken, after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, has been selected as one of ten initiatives moving forward in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rebuild by Design competition. The proposal, Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge, focuses on establishing resiliency through the integration of key infrastructural elements that not only protects coastal neighborhoods, but also the entire city of Hoboken.
The celebrated architect and designer began his architectural education at the Architectural Association in London in 1968, eventually founding OMA (Office of Metropolitan Architecture) with one of his former professors, Elia Zenghelis (along with Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp).
Despite it’s current ubiquity, the firm’s beginnings in 1975 were fairly modest. The commission of the high-profile Euralille project in 1989 was a turning point; the firm then began to move away from small scale projects (such as the Villa dall’Ava) to the large scale works that they’re known for today.
OMA’s CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, ArchDaily’s 2012 “Building of the Year,” was deemed “Best Tall Building Worldwide” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Selected from a shortlist of four deserving skyscrapers, CCTV was awarded “best” due to its “unusual take on skyscraper typology.”
The jury stated: “Instead of competing in the race for ultimate height and style through a traditional two-dimensional tower soaring skyward, CCTV’s loop poses a truly three-dimensional experience, culminating in a 75-meter cantilever.”
Following the announcement last month that the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) had shortlisted five designs for their new Global Centre for Social Sciences (GCSS) in London’s Aldwych, they have now revealed that “there’s not one really outstanding scheme” and “there’s some further work to do by the practices and the LSE.” Therefore contestants Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, OMA, Hopkins Architects, Grafton Architects, and Henegham Peng Architects must reconsider their proposed designs.
In the latest of NOWNESS‘ spectacular videos, Ole Scheeren – a former partner at OMA and now principal of Büro Ole Scheeren in Beijing – reflects on the past decade he has spent in China overseeing construction of the CCTV Headquarters. He muses over the delicate balancing act that Western architects maintain when they work in China, simultaneously bringing change to the city and allowing the city to change who they are and how they see the world. In this context, where change is “something that you are immediately and instantly confronted with” he believes that the CCTV Building is “both confrontational and complicit”.
In August, we reported a Request for Qualifications for the renovation of Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. - Mies’ only library and the only building in D.C. A few days ago, the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) narrowed down the list of potential firms from 26 to 10 and revealed that it was looking for community input on the library’s future spaces and services.
The ten firms that made the cut are:
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have unveiled five shortlisted proposals for the new £90 million Global Centre for Social Sciences (GCSS) in London’s Aldwych. The competition, which has attracted designs from the likes of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and OMA, will be the school’s “biggest ever building project” and is set to “transform” the world-leading institution. Other entrants include Hopkins Architects, Grafton Architects, and Henegham Peng Architects. See the anonymous proposals after the break…
In July the Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s (OMA) competition proposal for a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Santa Monica was recommended by City Council members after they “seemed genuinely wowed by OMA’s theatrically-terraced design.” City officials have since voted to re-evaluate the recommendation over concerns of a lack of affordable housing in the development, as well as issues “related to design [and] economics.” They have also invited Related California, a team comprising of BIG, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, and Rios Clementi Hale Studios, to revise its original proposal that was shortlisted in March of this year.
OMA (NY), along with local collaborators Gomez + Castro Arquitectos, has been selected to masterplan the Bogotá Centro Administrativo Nacional (CAN) in Colombia, a mixed-use civic center roughly the size of Washington DC’s National Mall. Located at the midpoint of Calle 26 Avenue, the city’s main axis that has symbolically charted its growth from the historic downtown to the airport and the international gateway of Colombia, CAN will serve as a new city center and government headquarters with additional programs of residential, educational, retail and cultural developments.
Shohei Shigematsu, director-in-charge of OMA New York, commented, “Our proposal enables CAN to be a lively node, providing a continuous public domain that curves through the site to connect the park, the university and Calle 26. With a single gesture, the arc achieves a clear urban identity while accommodating programmatic diversity.”
New York-based, Serbian-born performance artist Marina Abramović has successfully secured funding via Kickstarter for phase one of an interdisciplinary performance and education center in Hudson, New York. The project, known as the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI), aims to be the first crowdfunded cultural institution ever to be built as well as the only international arts center dedicated to presentation and preservation of long-durational work. With the help of Abramović’s “global community of collaborators,” OMA will now move forward with the project’s design development process. More information on the MAI’s design can be found here.
Marina Abramovic, one of the most seminal performance artists of our time, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the transformation of an abandoned New York theater into an interdisciplinary performance and education center: Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI).
The institute, designed by Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas of OMA, will be dedicated to the presentation and preservation of long durational work. Visitors will spend a minimum of six hours partaking in the Abramovic Method, a method that helps participants “develop skills for observing long durational performances through a series of exercises and environments designed to increase awareness of their physical and mental experience in the moment.” Needless to say, MAI will be unlike any other institute in existence.
A virtual tour of OMA’s design and more information after the break…
OMA*AMO (New York), Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura (Barcelona), and Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Boston) with SHoP (New York) have been selected as the top three teams to re-envision Dallas’s urban center and its connection to the Trinity River Corridor. The teams kickstarted the final leg of the competition this past weekend with a summer workshop, symposium and site visit alongside local developers and city officials. All three final proposals will be unveiled to the public this mid-October with a lecture series host by each team (dates and information here). A winner is expected to be selected shortly after.
While the final products of OMA’s oeuvre are well-documented and widely published, a large portion of the Dutch firm’s work goes unrecognized and relatively unnoticed: the contextual, solution-oriented research undertaken by AMO. OMA’s lesser-known twin, AMO is vital to OMA’s approach, allowing the firm to delve into a world of context and explore possibilities beyond the built form.
It was with this in mind that we sat down with Reinier de Graaf, a partner at the firm. In addition to the building and masterplan projects he also manages on the OMA side of things, de Graaf has been the director of AMO since 2002, overseeing a diverse portfolio of projects. Over the past few years, AMO’s energies have fueled the creation of the curriculum at Strelka; a “roadmap” for a de-carbonized power grid for the EU; and an exhibition that celebrated the architect as civil servant.
From our very first question (what is OMA’s mission?), de Graaf answered with his characteristic aversion to “general terms,” explaining that “[OMA's] mission is to explore unexpected subjects [...] without a preconceived mission.”
Santa Monica’s City Staff has recommended OMA’s competition proposal for a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. The building and surrounding plaza incorporates a civic plaza, cultural venue, retail, residences, offices and a boutique hotel. The City Staff selection panel praised OMA’s project for its iconic architecture and flexibility, saying it would “easily accommodate potential design modifications and adjust to market demand changes in the future.” Santa Monica’s City Council will review the recommendation on August 27th before the project formally proceeds in 2014.
The proposal’s plazas and terraces will add over 55,000 square feet of programmable open space. A cultural venue will sit inside of the building, anchored by office spaces for Santa Monica and greater Los Angeles’ growing tech industry. The project will be led by OMA’s New York office, headed by Shohei Shigematsu. He explained, “Our design provides residents, tourists, and entrepreneurs a dynamic new public realm – a stepped building that achieves a strong interaction between interior program and exterior environments.”
More images and information after the break…