As Rem Koolhaas completes the introductory press circuit for the 2014 Venice Biennale, we’re learning more about one of the most anticipated Biennales in recent memory. Here’s what we’ve gleaned from Oliver Wainwright’s revealing story in today’s Guardian:
1. Koolhaas has been asked to direct the Venice Biennale before, but hasn’t accepted until now. “I have been asked to direct it a number of times before, but I held out for two conditions: that I have a year and a half to plan it, and that I can sever all connections with contemporary architecture – which is not in particularly good health.”
UPDATE: In a press conference on Monday, Venice Biennale director Paolo Baratta and curator Rem Koolhaas expressed their commitment to using the event to highlight “things that architects can’t ignore.” These “Fundamentals” get back to the basic inventions of modernity, thus individual exhibitions will look to the “elementary particles of architecture.” Paying special attention to the developments of the past century, Baratta and Koolhaas hope that the event will serve as “a reference point and source of inspiration for architecture.”
The Biennale website has posted new images and an expanded description of the Biennale and its events:
“Fundamentals consists of three interlocking exhibitions – Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Elements of Architectureand Monditalia – that together illuminate the past, present and future of our discipline. After several architecture Biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals will look at histories, attempt to reconstruct how architecture finds itself in its current situation, and speculate on its future.”
Read on to learn more about architecture’s most celebrated exhibition.
A few hours ago in Venice, Rem Koolhaas presented his curatorial vision for “Fundamentals” in a live-streamed opening press conference. As we reported last year, “Fundamentals” will focus on architecture rather than architects and history rather than contemporaneity. Koolhaas will not just curate an exhibition of his own, but will be coordinating the “collective effort of all national pavilions.”
This year’s exhibition features the participation of 65 countries–including 11 first-time participants (Azerbaijan, Côte d’Ivoire, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, New Zealand and Turkey). See the complete list of national participants–which includes collaborations with Jacques Tati, Hans Ulrich Obrist, FAT, Iñaki Ábalos and others–after the break.
Click here to see all of ArchDaily’s previous coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale. And stay tuned… we’ll be bringing you on-the-ground reports from Venice when the Biennale launches in the first week of June!
OMA’s De Rotterdam, a project 15 years in the making, is designed to maximize the number of functions possible in 44 floors. In addition to shops, hotels and office space, this “vertical city” also contains apartments that use transformable furniture to pack a variety of uses into small spaces. Chairs double as wall art and sofas flip into beds, showing that a 60 square meter apartment is more versatile than we think.
Developer Wim De Lathauwer explains, ”Why would we only think in quantity of bedrooms and square meters, while many of these spaces are used only sporadically?…In The Netherlands we are simply not used to this way of thinking. De Rotterdam is the ideal project when it comes to maximizing the joy of every square meter. We deal with an audience who understands this and yearns for this extra quality. Even in the large apartments the office, wardrobe- and guest room are combined in one space. Actually, it is very logical.” You can see the dynamic furniture, designed by Clei Italia, in the video below.
Read more about The Netherlands’ largest building here.
ArchDaily has teamed up with the The Berlage to provide exclusive access to their newly digitized archive of lectures. The Berlage is a postgraduate international institute where some of the world’s most renowned architects, thinkers, designers, photographers and other professionals come to share, exchange and critically reflect upon their ideas. Over the last 23 years, The Berlage has built up an extensive lecture archive of seminal lectures. Thanks to this partnership now we can now share them with you. ArchDaily is committed to providing inspiration and knowledge to architects all over the world, so please look forward to monthly publications of these lectures during the coming year, which include talks by Rem Koolhaas, Jacques Herzog, Toyo Ito, and more.
This 1998 lecture reflects Rem Koolhaas’ desire to initiate a direct meeting of the critic and the architect, so it’s no surprise that the he called upon Kenneth Frampton to join him in conversation. (Koolhaas–with his tendency toward polemic, hyperbolic statements–even refers to Frampton as “maybe the only critic left.”) The two spend a significant time debating the role of the critic, often disagreeing and playfully challenging the other’s theories.
Recorded at a time when the Office for Metropolitan Architecture was working on the Educatorium, the Maison à Bordeaux and the recently completed De Rotterdam, the conversation also delves into discussions of China’s emergent urbanization (which was, in 1998, still relatively young) as well as “the star system.”
What do you think the North American, Asian and Western European tall building communities most need to learn from each other? This is precisely what the Center on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) sat down to ask five leading architects, whose responses formed an eclectic and meaningful overview on the state of tall building worldwide. As Rem Koolhaas noted, each region has their own journey that is worth understanding, such as the Arab world’s transition from “extravagance to rationality” or Asia’s hyper-focus on project realization. However, as James Goettsch points out, “not every building has to be something remarkable.” It’s alright for some buildings to be nothing more than “good citizens.”
Watch all five responses in the short video above.
During the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, we had the opportunity to speak with David Gianotten, partner-in-charge of OMA’s Hong Kong office. Gianotten launched the Dutch firm’s Asian headquarters in 2009, where he supervises major projects such as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Taipei Performing Arts Centre.
Standing outside of the recently completed Stock Exchange headquarters, he answered our questions about urbanization, innovation and the intricacies of running an office in an environment with such rapid urban growth. Shenzhen has proven an experiment of economic openness and is a vivid example of China’s recent growth. The city’s skyline is practically a physical graph of an upward-trending economy, with buildings designed by nearly every internationally renowned architecture firm. But OMA’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange building stands apart from the rest not only because of its impeccable construction (a rarity in the fast-paced building booms of Chinese cities), but also because it houses the institution that lists China’s biggest companies.
The 254 meter tower is an elegant structure that combines pure volumes with an exoskeleton grid clad in translucent glass. It represents a characteristic OMA-approach to innovative architectural solutions, made possible by extensive programmatic and technical research.
Read the full interview (which includes Gianotten’s insights on the study of architecture, the role of architects, and the importance of simplicity when communicating complex innovation) after the break.
It is difficult to even imagine an architectural practice more influential than OMA. Not only has Koolhaas‘ practice completed high-profile buildings worldwide, but it has also been the incubator for some of the world’s most famous architects, with many striking out alone after a period working under Rem. This article in the Wall Street Journal profiles some of the latest crop of “graduates”, including Bjarke Ingels and Ole Scheeren, who have founded their own practices in the last decade and are now acting as some of OMA’s biggest competitors. You can read the full article here.
This time last year we published our 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013 featuring a fantastic range of films telling the tales of some of the world’s greatest unsung architectural heroes. We now bring you eleven more for 2014, looking past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.
Alan Faena — prominent argentine developer — is partnering with an all-star cast of celebrated artists, architects and Hollywood darlings to revive the decadence of the roaring twenties, envisioning a booming cultural “epicenter” for the city of Miami. The development, Faena Miami Beach, would include the restoration of the historic Saxony Hotel (the original symbol of opulent resorts along Florida beaches), the construction of new luxury apartments by Foster + Partners and the Rem Koolhaas/OMA-designed Faena Arts Center and Artist Residency. Review them all after the break.
Los Angeles-based cinematographer Tomas Koolhaas is nearing completion of his highly anticipated film, REM. The feature length documentary, which focuses on the work of Tomas’ famed father, Rem Koolhaas, is the first architectural film to “comprehensively explore the human conditions in and around Rem Koolhaas’ buildings from a ground level perspective.” Rather than lifeless still shots and long-winded, intellectual discourse, REM exposes the one thing that gives each building function and purpose: how it is used by people.
So far, REM has been funded entirely by grants. However, in order for Tomas to collect the necessary funds to complete post-production, he has turned to you by launching a Kickstarter campaign.
Watch REM’s official trailer above, which follows a parkour expert as he moves through the Casa De Musica in Porto, and follow us after the break for Tomas’ exclusive interview with Kanye West, who comments on his work with OMA at the 2012 Cannes film festival.
At the opening of the newly constructed De Rotterdam building in his home city, Rem Koolhaas spoke at length about how this “vertical city” was designed to appear scaleless, despite its urban context. More about what Koolhaas had to say about the project and the city, after the break…
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
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.
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.
Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas 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 Russia; 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.
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.
“Living Architectures” is a series of films 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!