Lasting for close to two decades now, the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Exhibition has become one of the most anticipated architectural events in London and for the global architecture community. With this year’s edition featuring not just one pavilion but four additional “summer houses,” the program shows no sign of slowing down. Each of the previous sixteen pavilions have been thought-provoking, leaving an indelible mark and strong message to the architectural community. And even though each of the past pavilions are removed from the site after their short summer stints to occupy far-flung private estates, they continue to be shared through photographs, and in architectural lectures. With the launch of the 16th Pavilion this month, we take a look back at all the previous pavilions and their significance to the architecturally-minded public.
"There is Much More at Stake Than Simply Being In or Out" – Rem Koolhaas Speaks Out Over a Potential EU 'Brexit'
In a recent interview with the BBC, Rem Koolhaas (OMA) has spoken out against the campaign seeking to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union, upon which the British people will vote in a referendum next week. Reflecting on his time spent at London's Architectural Association (AA) in the 1960s and '70s, Koolhaas fears that advocates for withdrawal may be looking at the past through rose-colored glasses.
If you look at the arguments to leave you can see this is a movement of people who want to fundamentally change England back into the way it supposedly was before.
On May 28th, a selection of participants of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, including Rem Koolhaas and Norman Foster convened for the first of Alejandro Aravena's "Meetings on Architecture," a series of talks that will take place throughout the Biennale. Under the theme of INFRASTRUCTURE, each invited speaker was given the chance to explain stories behind their participating projects in the Biennale, and the floor was also opened up for questions from the audience.
However, as Aravena explains about the talks, “we have organized them around themes, but architecture by nature always integrates more than one dimension. These Meetings will thus be a way to get from the authors themselves the richness and complexity of the built environment, and what it takes to get things done.” While highlighting unique projects, topics at the first Meeting converged around the focus on shaping the urbanization of emerging economies and the socio-political process and effect of realizing each project. The rest of the speaking panel was comprised by Joan Clos, Andrew Makin and Grupo EPM.
Rem Koolhaas and Bjarke Ingels to Discuss "Change of Climate" at International Architecture Congress in Pamplona
As part of their mission to foster debate about architecture and the city within a broader social context, the Fundación Arquitectura y Sociedad will carry out the 4th edition of their International Architecture Congress from June 29-July 1st in Pamplona. Titled “Architecture: Change of Climate,” the latest event echoes themes from the previous years, which were related to the crisis affecting Spain and its architects. This year the debate seeks to emphasize the need for change in architectural practices in order to improve our environment.
The title of this year’s congress refers as much to the change of climate taking place in architecture, which the crisis has put at an economic and ethical crossroads, as to the importance of architecture and planning when facing the challenges posed by climate change, perhaps the most pressing matter of our time.
Read on after the break for the full program and text from Luis Fernández-Galiano, Director of the IV International Architecture Congress, which introduces the paradigms that architects like Rem Koolhaas, Bjarke Ingels, Winy Maas, Pierre de Meuron, Iñaki Ábalos and Jean-Philippe Vassal will examine at this event.
Designed shortly before Zaha Hadid left the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)—led by Rem Koolhaas—to found her practice, Zaha Hadid Architects, the proposed extension for the Dutch Parliament firmly rejects the notion that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Rather than mimic the style of the existing historic buildings, OMA elected to pay tribute to the complex’s accretive construction by inserting a collection of visibly postmodern, geometric elements. These new buildings, unapologetic products of the late 1970s, would have served as unmistakable indicators of the passage of time, creating a graphic reminder of the Parliament’s long history.
Bjarke Ingels has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the magazine's annual list of groundbreakers in five categories: Pioneers, Titans, Artists, Leaders, and Icons. Other giants of the same field endorse the authority of each selected figure and, in Ingels case, former boss Rem Koolhaas offers poignant words of praise. “Bjarke is the first major architect who disconnected the profession completely from angst,” says Koolhaas. “He threw out the ballast and soared. With that, he is completely in tune with the thinkers of Silicon Valley, who want to make the world a better place without the existential hand-wringing that previous generations felt was crucial to earn utopianist credibility.” You can review the full profile and TIME’s complete list of people here.
At the end of 2015, OMA’s first major commission, the Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT) was swiftly demolished. The once-praised building was reduced to dust and debris within a few months, without drawing much attention from the architecture world. Koolhaas had heard rumors about the demolition of the NDT over the last decade, but did not expect the lack of public outcry. “There was almost nothing, almost zero,” he said.
Using the NDT as a case study, Metropolis Magazine takes a look at how the early works of our most lauded architects are treated when they are no longer fit for purpose, and asks how we decide on the role preservation plays in the architectural profession. Is the demolition of the NDT a sign of lack of respect for OMA? Or is it a more general sign of our current era of rapidly changing styles and a need for larger buildings? Read the full story by Metropolis Magazine, here.
Volume is an "agenda-setting" quarterly magazine, published by the Archis Foundation (The Netherlands). Founded in 2005 as a research mechanism by Ole Bouman (Archis), Rem Koolhaas (OMA*AMO), and Mark Wigley (Columbia University Laboratory for Architecture/C-Lab), the project "reaches out for global views on designing environments, advocates broader attitudes to social structures, and reclaims the cultural and political significance of architecture."
Over the next six weeks Volume will share a curated selection of essays from The System* on ArchDaily. This represents the start of a new partnership between two platforms with global agendas: in the case of ArchDaily to provide inspiration, knowledge and tools to architects across the world and, in the case of Volume, "to voice architecture any way, anywhere, anytime [by] represent[ing] the expansion of architectural territories and the new mandate for design."
As part of OMA co-founder Rem Koolhaas' sixth interview with Charlie Rose, the Rotterdam-based Architect discusses why the Dutch port-city is his practice's base – and why he switched from journalism and scriptwriting to architecture. In the discussion, of which four snippets have been made available, Koolhaas also explains why he feels that smart technology has a "sinister dimension," and on how he—and his practice—have a tendency to "resist aesthetic."
In an article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote responds to the recent news that OMA, based in Rotterdam, have won the competition to design the British city of Manchester's new "ultra-flexible" arts venue. The Factory, so-named because of city's rich musical heritage, will be one of the largest cultural projects of its kind. Having gained and maintained financial support from Westminster, the building—which must be able to transform from a 2,200-seat theatre into an open 5,000-capacity space—is a flagship project for the British government.
Since 1975, the Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture has produced some of the world's most provocative buildings. Led by Rem Koolhaas and his nine partners, the firm's most notable built projects include seminal works such as the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, the Seattle Central Library, and Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal. Known as one of the world's leading creators of boundary-pushing design, OMA's influence on the global architectural landscape is undeniable.
Among the firm's several hundred realized projects, however, many lesser known proposals were drafted but never constructed. Arguably a fundamental component of the OMA's practice, the unbuilt projects contain some of the firm's most outlandish and important ideas with incredible potential to influence architectural design worldwide. As a tribute to Koolhaas and OMA's continued pursuit of the unconventional, we've rounded up fifteen of OMA's most unusual unbuilt skyscrapers. Read on to find out which ones made the list.
With the extensive list of acclaimed alumni of his firm, OMA, it is not a stretch to call Rem Koolhaas (born 17 November 1944) the godfather of contemporary architecture. Equal parts theorist and designer, over his 40 year career Koolhaas has revolutionized the way architects look at program and interaction of space, and today continues to design buildings that push the capabilities of architecture to new places.
In Mark Foster Gage’s essay “Rot Munching Architects,” published in Perspecta 47: Money, the Assistant Dean of the Yale School of Architecture strove to find meaning in the current design landscape. Taking the essay title from a larger stream of expletives spun across the facade of the Canadian pavilion as part of artist Steven Shearer’s installation at the 54th Venice Art Biennale in 2011, Gage found truth in the vulgarities, arguing that - in a very literal sense - “architectural experimentation has left the building” as the discipline has been made impotent under the hostage of late capitalist ambition.
Last summer, when Brooklyn Bridge Park unveiled 14 proposals as finalists for two residential towers at the park's controversial pier 6 site, you could be fooled into thinking that design is alive and well. A caveat of the park’s General Project Plan (GPP) was to set aside land for retail, residential and a hotel development, in order to secure funding and achieve financial autonomy. The plans had already fueled a decade of legal battles and fierce opposition from the local community, with arguments ranging from the environment, to park aesthetics, to money-making schemes, but last year a bright outcome appeared a possibility, when the park unveiled the competing plans including those by Asymptote Architecture, BIG, Davis Brody Bond, Future Expansion + SBN Architects, WASA Studio, and of particular interest, O’Neill McVoy Architects + NV/design architecture (NVda).
"From his first conceptual, colorful phase, Koolhaas has traveled through dirty realism, enlightened deconstructivism and commercial pragmatism, grafting Leonidov on Le Corbusier, hybridizing mambo fifties with dry sixties, and joining programmatic diagrams with sculptural volumes to end in the realm of heritage and history, ecology and sustainability, elements and the discipline." - Luis Fernández-Galiano
The first monograph that AV has dedicated entirely to the Dutch architect covers his work at OMA starting in 2000, the year in which Koolhaas was awarded the Pritzker Prize. Accompanied by an essay and 12 critical texts by Luis Fernández-Galiano, the publication covers the work built by the studio during the last 15 years.
"I think it is much better to say," explains Rem Koolhaas, "that we are challenged by people's needs." The closing line of this short teaser released by the filmmaker and son of Rem, Tomas Koolhaas, sums up perfectly why "REM" is one of the most highly anticipated architecture documentaries of recent years. Now three years in the making, Tomas Koolhaas' film will examine his father's incomparable oeuvre of work through the eyes of the people that inhabit the designs, eschewing the high-brow and sometimes impenetrable discourse that usually surrounds the work of OMA for something more elemental.
No matter what you think of it, these days there is no denying that a celebrity culture has a significant effect on the architecture world, with a small percentage of architects taking a large portion of the spotlight. Questioning this status quo, Vladimir Belogolovsky's new book "Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity" interrogates some of these famous architects to find out what they think of the culture which has elevated them to such heights. In this excerpt from the book's foreword, Belogolovsky asks how we got into this celebrity-loving architectural culture, and what it means for the buildings produced.
Not to be confused with other kinds of stars, the most popular of architects are identified as “starchitects.”* Is this a good thing? The notion of starchitecture is hated wholeheartedly by most of the leading architectural critics. They run away from addressing the issue because they think it has nothing to do with professional criticism. But what do the architects think? One of the architectural megastars, Rem Koolhaas, was astonishingly self-effacing in an interview for Hanno Rauterberg’s 2008 book Talking Architecture:
“I think what we are experiencing is the global triumph of eccentricity. Lots of extravagant buildings are being built, buildings that have no meaning, no functionality. It’s rather about spectacular shapes and, of course, the architects’ egos.”
With the opening of the Fondazione Prada art galleries in May, OMA showed a different side to their practice, one focusing on preservation and assemblage rather than the iconography and diagrammatic layout that many associate with the firm. In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Koolhaas Talks Prada," Rem Koolhaas explains the reasoning behind this new approach, and how they attempted to avoid falling into the clichés of post-industrial art spaces.
When the Fondazione Prada opened its doors to a new permanent home in Milan dedicated to contemporary culture, it not only placed the Italian city firmly at the forefront of today’s global art world, but also introduced an ambitious new way of thinking about the relationship between architecture and art. The location—an original 1910 distillery in a distinctly gritty part of the city—comprised seven spaces including warehouses and three enormous brewing cisterns with a raw industrial quality that the architects, Dutch firm OMA, retained while adding three new buildings made of glass, white concrete, and aluminum foam. One, the centrally located Podium, is intended for temporary shows, while another—still under construction—is a nine-story tower that will house the foundation’s archives, art installations, and a restaurant. The third, a theater with a mirrored facade, features folding walls that allow the building to open onto a courtyard. In total, the collection of buildings provides nearly 120,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than twice that of the new Whitney Museum of American Art. Metropolis correspondent Catherine Shaw visited the site with Pritzker Prize–winning architect Rem Koolhaas to find out more about the challenges of creating a new cultural paradigm.
Ingrid Böck's "Six Canonical Projects by Rem Koolhaas" Dissects the Ideas that have Made Koolhaas' Career
First published in May, Six Canonical Projects by Rem Koolhaas by Ingrid Böck reveals the logic behind Koolhaas’ projects and the ideas and themes running through his career. Incredibly thorough in her analysis, Böck aims to correct what she views as an absence of complete studies on an architect who has had an enormous influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Böck presents these six projects, which include Koolhaas’ thesis project “Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture,” Ville Nouvelle Melun-Sénart, Maison Bordeaux, the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, the Seattle Central Library, and the CCTV Headquarters, because they most directly explore six concepts prominent throughout Koolhaas’ work: Wall, Void, Montage, Trajectory, Infrastructure, and Shape.