Koolhaas on Place, Scale, and (De) Rotterdam

© Richard John Seymour

All images are from photographer Richard John Seymour,who caught ’ recently completed De Rotterdam building on a broodingly foggy morning. 

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…

Wainwright Weighs In on Rem’s De Rotterdam

Courtesy of

In the architectural stomping ground that is , 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

Happy Birthday Rem Koolhaas!

Courtesy of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture, and Design, via Flickr

Remment (Rem) Koolhaas, the Pritzker Prize laureate and curator of the 2014 , turns 69 today.

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. 

AD Classics: Villa dall’Ava / OMA

© Peter Aaron/OTTO

Much of the spatial composition of the Villa dall’Ava was influenced by its site, in a garden on a hill. It was completed in 1991 in the area of , overlooking Paris. The clients selected OMA to design a house with two distinct apartments—one for themselves and another for their daughter—and requested a swimming pool on the roof with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

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)

, 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 Milan, 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 .

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

Denise Scott Brown outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of and Denise Scott Brown © Frank Hanswijk

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

His support was then quickly followed by Rem Koolhaas, 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 ’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, Rem Koolhaas charts the evolution of his ideas and built projects in this lecture provided by . He describes a double life split between practice and theory, two ventures reflected by his studios, 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

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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, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and , 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: