Koolhaas Revamps UN Building’s Modernist-Era Lounge

Courtesy of Frank Oudeman

Dutch designers, Rem Koolhaas and Hella Jongerius, have revamped the delegates’ lounge in the United Nations building just in time for the 68th General Assembly this week. The “workshop of peace” lounge space, originally designed in 1952 by Wallace K. Harrison in collaboration with renowned modernists Le Corbusier and Oscar Neimeyer, now sports a range of pastel-colored sofas and lounge chairs, opting for minimal intervention in attempts to maximize the social space. Read more about the UN North Delegates lobby on Gizmodo.

Rem Koolhaas Will Design New Building for State Hermitage Museum in Russia

© Dominik Gigler

Dutch architect will design a new project for the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. RIA Novosti and The Calvert Journal report that the new building will be “located in the museum’s storage facility in Staraya Derevnya in the north of the city” and that it “will house the Hermitage Library, the Costume Museum, the gallery’s publishing arm, and a public event space.” This projects marks Koolhaas’ continued presence in ; he has been collaborating and teaching at the Strelka Institute and is currently working on the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in Moscow’s Gorky Park.

Giveaway: Win Living Architectures Books and Films

Thanks to the courtesy of our friends from Beka & Partners, we are giving you the chance to win one of the five DVD-Books of the Living Architectures collection.

” is a series of that seeks to develop a way of looking at architecture which turns away from the current trend of idealizing the representation of our architectural heritage.

The five DVD-Books are: ‘Inside Piano‘, ‘Gehry’s Vertigo‘, ‘Pomerol, Herzog & de Meuron‘, ‘Koolhaas Houselife‘ and ‘Xmas Meier‘. We will have five winners, each of one will receive one randomly. All you have to do to participate is become a registered user (if you’re not one already) and answer the following question in our comments:

“Which architect would you like to see next in the Living Architectures series and why?”

You have until June 24 to submit your answer. Winners will be announced and contacted during the same day.

For more information about the DVD-Books you can check the trailers after the break, or go to www.living-architectures.com for more details. Good luck!

Living Architectures: Koolhaas Houselife / Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine

First project of the series, Koolhaas Houselife portrays one of the masterpieces of contemporary architecture. The film lets the viewer enter into the house’s daily intimacy through the stories and daily chores of Guadalupe Acedo, the housekeeper, and the other people who look after the building. Pungent, funny and touching.

A Crash Course on Modern Architecture (Part 2)

High Line, New York, is a good example of what is to come. Image © Iwan Baan

Merete Ahnfeldt-Mollerup is associate Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. This article originally appeared in GRASP.

Miss Part 1? Find it here.

Architecture is inseparable from planning, and the huge challenge for the current generation is the growth and shrinkage of cities. Some cities, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, are growing at exponential rates, while former global hubs in the northern are turning into countrysides. In the south, populations are still growing a lot, while populations are dwindling in Europe, Russia and North East Asia. The dream of the Bilbao effect was based on the hope that there might be a quick fix to both of these problems. Well, there is not.

A decade ago, few people even recognized this was a real issue and even today it is hardly ever mentioned in a political context. As a politician, you cannot say out loud that you have given up on a huge part of the electorate, or that it makes sense for the national economy to favor another part. Reclaiming the agricultural part of a nation is a political suicide issue whether you are in Europe or Latin America. And investing in urban development in a few, hand-picked areas while other areas are desolate is equally despised.

The one person, who is consistently thinking and writing about this problem, is Rem Koolhaas, a co-founder of OMA.

Johannes Vermeer Award 2013 goes to Rem Koolhaas

© Fred Ernst

With the ambition of honoring and encouraging outstanding artistic talent, the Dutch state prize for the arts – the – has been awarded this year to architect and writer . The jury made a unanimous decision, citing Koolhaas’s critical contributions to architecture and urbanism since his career began with the publication of Delirious New York in 1975. 

Best Architect-Designed Products of Milan Design Week 2013

Tools for Life / © Ilan Rubin

This week at the 52nd edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in , over 2,500 exhibitors showcased an endless collection of the latest international products and home-furnishing designs. Among them included a variety of elegant and intelligently designed items envisioned by some of our favorite architects. Continue after the break to scroll through a list of the best architect-designed products featured at the Design Week 2013.

Robert Venturi and Rem Koolhaas Side with Denise Scott Brown on Pritzker Debate

outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and © Frank Hanswijk

Robert Venturi has joined nearly 4,000 advocates in the call to retrospectively acknowledge Denise Scott Brown as a joint Pritzker Prize laureate, stating: “Denise Scott Brown is my inspiring and equal partner.”

His support was then quickly followed by , who stated: “I totally support this action. The fact that one of the most creative and productive partnerships we have ever seen in architecture was separated rather than celebrated by a prize has been an embarrassing injustice which it would be great to undo.”

New updates after the break…

OMA Wins Skyscraper Competition in China

Essence Financial Building ©

OMA has won the design competition for the Essence Financial Building in , China. Led by OMA Partners David Gianotten and Rem Koolhaas, the design beat out four other entries by international and Chinese practices.

The skyscraper will be OMA’s second in Shenzhen (the first being the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which will be completed in April this year). By challenging many typical office tower conventions (such as a central core plan and curtain wall systems), OMA hopes their buildings will help lead the way for a “new generation” of office towers in the city.

As David Gianotten commented in the Press Release: ”OMA is very excited about its continuous and deepening participation in Shenzhen’s development, especially as the city makes its latest evolution: from a manufacturing city into a services hub. This next generation of urbanism calls for a new generation of office towers of which the Essence Financial Building could be one.”

More on the Essence Financial Building, after the break… 

Batman and Architecture Finally United in ‘Batman: Death by Design’

Courtesy of DC Comics

From Tim Burton’s steamy, gothic megalopolis to Christopher Nolan’s cold, Miesian jungle, Gotham’s malice has always been manifested in its architecture. Writer Chip Kidd and artist David Taylor have pulled this nefarious background character to the forefront in the tale of Vs. Mega-starchitect, entitled Batman: Death by Design

Read more about Batman : Death by Design after the break…

Koolhaas Reveals Title for 2014 Venice Biennale

Image via Instagram User Josephgrima http://instagram.com/p/U6DMbxNuK4/

At a presentation in Italy this morning, announced that the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale will be “Fundamentals.” According to Domus magazine’s live-tweeting of the eventKoolhaas wants this Biennale, which he will curate, to use historical research to explore how Modernity and globalization has, since 1914, formed the architecture we practice today. The Biennale will focus on the erasure of national architectural identities and the formation, over the last 200 years, of a global architecture which produces, in Koolhaas’ words, “the same stuff, with the same materials, in the same styles. How did this happen?” 

Read more about Koolhaas’ 2014 Biennale topic, after the break…

Rem Koolhaas To Direct 2014 Venice Biennale

© Dominik Gigler

It seems the rumors were true. The Venice Biennale’s board has just confirmed that Rem Koolhaas will be the Director for the next Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014 (to take place June 7th to November 23rd).

There’s no word yet of the theme that will be chosen. Koolhaas has only commented that: “We want to give a new look to the basic elements of architecture – used by any architect, anywhere and at any time – to see if we can discover something new about architecture.”

The 2012 Biennale, curated by David Chipperfield, who chose “Common Ground” as the theme, was characterized by collaboration and socially-oriented projects (which stole the show). If Koolhaas’ radical leanings and adventurous design sensibilities are anything to go by, the 2014 Biennale will probably push the envelope even further.

Revisit our coverage of the 2012 Venice Biennale and read more about Rem Koolhaas, including our popular editorial and an essay written by former New York Times architecture critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff.

Story via Venice Biennale and bd online 

Agenda: 4 Ambitions / Rem Koolhaas

As the 2012 Jencks Award winner, charts the evolution of his ideas and built projects in this lecture provided by RIBA. He describes a double life split between practice and theory, two ventures reflected by his studios, OMA and AMO, the Office of Metropolitan Architecture and the Architecture Media Organization. Enjoy!

The lecture is chaired by Charles Jencks, designer, author and broadcaster.

via RIBA

The architect at work: 425 Park Ave

YouTube Preview Image

A few months ago we informed you about a competition to re develop the massive “wedding-cake” style building at 425 Park Ave in NY, near Mies’ Seagram Building and SOM’s Lever House. The objective of the developer, L&L Holding, was to turn this project into the next iconic building of the city, and for that they invited a group of eleven renowned practices, including ten Pritzker laureates.

The shortlist was announced in October, and included OMA, , and Foster + Partners, which was later announced as the winner of the competition a few weeks ago.

Over the last days, the presentations of the architects to the clients appeared on YouTube, and now we have the opportunity to see these interesting group of architects doing a fundamental part of their work. In the videos we see each architect using their own presentation style, either a PPT, video or just physical boards, connecting it to the practice’s research and discourse, projecting their passion about certain features of their projects and engaging with the client around their main objective: to turn this into an iconic project.

Four videos that take us further into how we understand projects, showing insights that we often don’t have access to, turning the competition into a particular moment of architecture this year.

Zaha Hadid Architects, OMA and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners presentations after the break:

AD Round Up: Rem Koolhaas

© Iwan Baan

Today, November 17th, its the birthday of one of the most influential architects of our time, Rem Koolhaas. Founding partner of , Laureate, included in the 2008 Times magazine’s 100 most influential people of the World and even have an appearance in the TV show, The Simpsons. We celebrate Rem Koolhaas with five great post previously featured in ArchDaily. Check out the CCTV Headquarters, an amazing work between OMA and Arup. Revisit the Prada Transformer,Position 2: Cinema, an anti-blob with 4 different postions. Don´t miss the AD Classics, Dutch House or Maison Bordeaux, the project that redefined the term “a house is a machine for living”. Finally, watch the Dutch Profiles Video: Rem Koolhaas.

Rem Koolhaas: A Reluctant Architect

© Dominik Gigler

In honor of ’ birthday today, we are bringing you all things Koolhaas: 12 Fun Koolhaas 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 Yorkbefore 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), Koolhaas, the “reluctant architect,” is also the most radical of our time, and the most vital for our future.

Why is Rem Koolhaas the World’s Most Controversial Architect?

Rem Koolhaas © Dominik Gigler

In honor of Rem Koolhaas’ birthday today, we are printing a fascinating piece on his life and work written by Nicolai Ouroussoff, architecture critic for The New York Times from 2004-2011. 

Rem Koolhaas has been causing trouble in the world of architecture since his student days in London in the early 1970s. Architects want to build, and as they age most are willing to tone down their work if it will land them a juicy commission. But Koolhaas, 67, has remained a first-rate provocateur who, even in our conservative times, just can’t seem to behave. His Central Television headquarters building, completed this past May, was described by some critics as a cynical work of propaganda and by others (including this one) as a masterpiece. Earlier projects have alternately awed and infuriated those who have followed his career, including a proposal to transform part of the Museum of Modern Art into a kind of ministry of self-promotion called MoMA Inc. (rejected) and an addition to the Whitney Museum of American Art that would loom over the existing landmark building like a cat pawing a ball of yarn (dropped).

Koolhaas’ habit of shaking up established conventions has made him one of the most influential architects of his generation. A disproportionate number of the profession’s rising stars, including Winy Maas of the Dutch firm MVRDV and Bjarke Ingels of the Copenhagen-based BIG, did stints in his office. Architects dig through his books looking for ideas; students all over the world emulate him. The attraction lies, in part, in his ability to keep us off balance. Unlike other architects of his stature, such as Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid, who have continued to refine their singular aesthetic visions over long careers, Koolhaas works like a conceptual artist—able to draw on a seemingly endless reservoir of ideas.

12 Classic Koolhaas Quotes

© 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.

In honor of the occasion, today we’ll be bringing you all things Koolhaas: a fabulous article by former New York Times critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff, a Round-Up of all of ’s latest works, an original ArchDaily editorial, and this list of quotes from the architect himself – some poignant, all provocative (this is Koolhaas, after all). Such as this gem: “People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it. Of course, that’s both liberating and alarming…”

12 Classic Koolhaas Quotes, after the break…

In Criticism of Architecture:

“People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it. Of course, that’s both liberating and alarming. 

But the generic city, the general urban condition, is happening everywhere, and just the fact that it occurs in such enormous quantities must mean that it’s habitable. Architecture can’t do anything that the culture doesn’t. We all complain that we are confronted by urban environments that are completely similar. We say we want to create beauty, identity, quality, singularity. And yet, maybe in truth these cities that we have are desired. Maybe their very characterlessness provides the best context for living.” interview in Wired, July 1996  

“Where space was considered permanent, it now feels transitory – on its way to becoming. The words and ideas of architecture, once the official language of space, no longer seem capable of describing this proliferation of new conditions. But even as its utility is questioned in the real world, architectural language survives, its repertoire of concepts and metaphors resurrected to create clarity and definition in new, unfamiliar domains (think chatrooms, Web sites, and firewalls). Words that die in the real are reborn in the virtual.” - Note from , guest-editor of Wired, June 2003 

“Architecture has been defined in terms of one activity, and that activity is adding to the world. A few years ago I realized the profession was as if lobotomized – it was stuck conceiving of itself only in terms of adding things and not in terms of taking away or erasing things. The same intelligence for adding ought to also deal with its debris.”interview in Wired, July 1996 

“Junkspace is the sum total of our current architecture: we have built more than all previous history together, but we hardly register on the same scales. [...] It substitutes accumulation for hierarchy, addition for composition. More and more, more is more. Junkspace is overripe and undernourishing at the same time, a colossal security blanket that covers the earth. … Junkspace is like being condemned to a perpetual Jacuzzi with millions of your best friends.”- Article in Wired, June 2000

On Thinking and Writing:

When asked if he has a certain aspiration: “It’s very simple and it has nothing to do with identifiable goals. It is to keep thinking about what architecture can be, in whatever form. That is an answer, isn’t it?[...] continuity of thinking in whatever form, around whatever subject, is the real ambition.” —Interview with Jennifer Sigler in Index Magazine, 2000 

“I like thinking big. I always have. To me its very simple: if youre going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.” -S, M, L, XL 

“There is an enormous, deliberate, and – I think – healthy discrepancy between what I write and what I do.” —interview in Wired, July 1996  

On his work:

“I’ve absolutely never thought about money or economic issues,but as an architect I think this is a strength. It allows me to be irresponsible and to invest in my work.” Smithsonian Mag, Septebmer 2012

Commenting on the ambiguity of his visions as either utopian or dystopian: “That has been my entire life story. Running against the current and running with the current. Sometimes running with the current is underestimated. The acceptance of certain realities doesn’t preclude idealism. It can lead to certain breakthroughs.”Smithsonian Mag, Septebmer 2012

“The unbuilt is the fantasy that underlies everything.” -  Article in Wired, June 2000

Miscellaneous

Describing the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in the late 60s: “flower power and terminal humanism. Goodness had become niceness. I felt incredibly uncomfortable.” - Article in Wired, June 2000

On New York City: ”‘Zero tolerance’ is a deadly mantra for a metropolis: What is a city if not a space of maximum license?”An article in Wired, June 2003