Rem Koolhaas, co-founder of Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), receiver of the Pritzker Prize Award in 2000, and leading urban theorist, was one of the first to question the high-rise phenomenon and its influence on city transformation. Particularly intrigued by the Gulf region and the urban ambitions of this area, in 2009, during the 9th edition of the Sharjah Biennial, he delivered a lecture on the potential of re-inventing urbanization in the Emirates.
On the occasion of the golden jubilee of UAE, marking 50 years since the Emirates were founded in 1971, 50U, published by Archis explores the different developments in the Gulf, this region that “witnessed the transformation of a partly nomadic, partly town-based community into a globally active metropolitan society”. After Al Manakh, in 2007, followed in 2010 by Al Manakh Cont’d, 50U tells the story of the UAE through 50 portraits of people, plants, and places. The book also shares an excerpt of Koolhaas’ 2009 talk that reflects on contemporary conditions, focusing specifically on his reading of Dubai, his architectural involvement as well as his future urban predictions.