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Rem Koolhaas: The Latest Architecture and News

OMA's Arts District Master Plan Unveiled

This past week, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority of Hong Kong unveiled OMA’s conceptual master plan for a new arts district (Koolhaas’ plan is one of three competing proposals). Divided into three villages, the 40 hectacre waterfront site places strong emphasis on the quality of the street life and the “cultural production where all aspects of the creative process are nurtured and made visible.” The master plan has been years in the making, as Koolhaas established an office in Hong Kong to better understand the culture and context, as well as collaborate with financial and culture experts to design a feasible plan to positively affect the communities involved. Rem Koolhaas commented, “Using the village – a typology every citizen of Hong Kong is familiar with – as the model for our plan allows us to absorb the massive scale of WKCD’s ambition into manageable portions and forge deep connections with Kowloon, whose vital urban energy will be the lifeblood of WKCD.”

Images and more information about the master plan after the break.

Koolhaas wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Chaired by Paolo Baratta, the Board of the Biennale di Venezia has awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Rem Koolhaas. The much deserving architect has produced dozens of thought-provoking and inspirational works that constantly push the limits of the current state of architecture. His strength lies in his buildings’ strong conceptual nature that is carried through to ideas about circulation, structure and programmatic organization. ”Rem Koolhaas has expanded the possibilities of architecture. He has focused on the exchanges between people in space. He creates buildings that bring people together and in this way forms ambitious goals for architecture. His influence on the world has come well beyond architecture. People from very diverse fields feel a great freedom from his work,” explained the board.

More about the award after the break.

Broad Museum / Koolhaas v. DS + R

Eli Broad, an American philanthropist, is getting ready to design the newest home for his extensive art collection. For his latest museum project, on the corner of Grand Avenue and 2nd Street in Los Angeles, Broad invited six of the professions’ leading minds to compete. Resting across the street from Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and Arata Isozaki’s 1986 Museum of Contemporary Art, Broad’s museum with include approximately 40,000 square feet of top-floor exhibition space, along with offices for the Broad Art Foundation.

Rotterdam City Hall Competition Proposal by OMA

The City of Rotterdam held a competition for a mixed-use extension for the City Hall, accommodating public and administrative facilities and a residential program. The competition requests that the mixed-use building becomes “the most sustainable in the Netherlands”.

Five designs were presented by the City, and they will be on public display at the NAI until Sept 13th to receive public feedback, which can also be made through the website. The teams will present to the jury on Septh 23th, and the winner will be announced sometime in October.

The 5 finalists are: Claus en Kaan Architecten, Mecanoo Architecten, Meyer en van Schooten Architecten, OMA and SeARCH.

OMA shared with us their finalist entry, in collaboration with ABT and Werner Sobek Green Technolgies. The project adheres to the highest energy efficiency requirements, and it also considers a sustainable approach in terms of speed of construction and future flexibility of the building through a repeated and flexible structural system.

Images from the other proposals will be featured on another article. Rem Koolhaas’ statement and more images after the break.

Prada Transformer, Position 2: Cinema

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Rem Koolhaas’ latest project -The Prada Transformer- is not just a building, but also a statement on today´s state of architecture. Dubbed the anti-blob, this “object” rejects all common blobby shapes we have seen lately. Simple geometrical shapes (a circle, a cross, a rectangle and an hexagon) enclose a space that depending on its rotation results on different spaces suitable for fashion exhibitions, cinema, art exhibitions and other special events. Each face is the platform on which these activities take place, while also being served by the other faces enclosing the space.

A few weeks ago, we presented the Transformer at Position 1 (Fashion Exhibition) with photos by Iwan Baan . Now, he sent us his photo set for the Transformer at Position 2: Cinema.

From June 26th to July 5th, the Transformer used a center piece on one of the faces to project “Flesh, Mind and Soul”, a film festival co-curated by Alejandro González Iñárritu (director Babel, 21 Grams). Please note that the interiors are now almost all black.

As of now, the Transformer is going through some changes to debut on its new position on Jul 30th to host “Beyond Control”, an exhibition by the Prada Foundation.

More photos by Iwan Baan after the break and the complete photo set on Iwan’s website:

De Rotterdam: OMA and the biggest building in the Netherlands


We just received this from OMA: After almost 12 years in the boards, OMA announced that the De Rotterdam complex will enter construction during December 2009, expecting completion in 2013.

Tree stacked towers with a total height of 150m, will result on a gross floor area of approximately 160,000m2, making De Rotterdam the largest building in the Netherland, with a total cost of €340m.

The mixed-use program (offices, apartments, a hotel, conference facilities, gym, shops, restaurants, and cafes) and the resulting density make this project a vertical city, located in the old harbour district of Wilhelminapier, next to the iconic Erasmus bridge.

Rem Koolhaas on CNN, the end of the star architect?

CNN's Talk Asia just featured an interesting interview with Rem Koolhaas. At the beginning of the video we see the Prada Transformer in action.Highlights of this interview are Dubai, which lead to Koolhaas talking about the public sector and the stimulus, and his views on the Generic City.When talking about influence (Rem was on the 100 most influential people list by Time magazine in 2008) and "star architects", Koolhaas sentences the term to death:"I think it's a name that is actually degrading to the vast majority of people it is applied to. And it really is a kind of political term that for certain clients is important because they use star architects. My hope is that through the current complexity that title will exit discretely and disappear".