The following interview with Reinier De Graaf was first published by Volume Magazine in their 48th issue, The Research Turn. You can read the Editorial of this issue, Research Horizons, here. Architectural practice requires a degree of intimacy and insight into complex sets of forces. While building is architecture’s bread and butter, it’s not always the best format to make a statement. It’s sometimes not even the most appropriate language to respond to a brief. Volume spoke with Reinier de Graaf of OMA/AMO about how research and media can become a vessel for political agendas. Volume You’ve been overseeing the work of AMO since 2002. Can you describe the nature of AMO within OMA? How does it sit? Reinier de Graaf To start, I find it interesting that this interview takes place in the context of research because I’m not sure whether we do research, whether what we do qualifies as research. I don’t think it actually is. As an architecture office that’s focused on building, any project that doesn’t get continued all the way to the end is regarded as an aborted effort or failure. Those efforts can be highly productive in generating a particular type of knowledge that you can only get by doing a project. Yet if you don’t autonomize that knowledge, you can never capitalize on it. So AMO started because we wanted to find a way to, first of all, autonomize that knowledge, and see whether that knowledge could see the light of day in a form other than a building.
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