Posts tagged with "Rem Koolhaas":

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No more weird architecture in Philadelphia: a retroactive manifesto for the AIA National Convention

The main exhibit hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia is as long as three city blocks. This is a universal space, unencumbered by columns, and enriched by connection points and affordances that offer access to electricity, light, water, ventilation. This space could hold and sustain almost anything. Today, as part of the AIA National Convention, it is filled with the elements of building, decontextualized and layered on top of one another in delirious profusion of texture and meaning. Here, a mockup of an elevator booth, across the aisle, a maze constructed entirely of doors. Signs over the booths invite us to do things like “Re-Think Wood,” and “Build our Community.” They remind us that “Glass is Everything.” A company making door knobs and handles announces that it is “The Global Leader in Door Opening Solutions.”

The breathless valorization of the normal is infectious. Things and people here seem on the verge of tipping over into some kind of technological singularity of the everyday. Even ordinary conversations occur with an extra layer of mediation. Each interaction with the staff at a booth is punctuated with an unusual question, "do you mind if I scan your badge?" Attendees are all wearing custom lanyards with QR codes, which booth staff photograph using smartphone apps, quantifying and upgrading any simple question about building components into an elevated transactional informational layer. This halo around the space, people, and things is also visible on the official convention app, where continuous backchannel discussions and jokes flow in real time, pulling attendees from the gridded space of the convention hall back into its virtual counterpart.

Two architects are haunting this universal space: Denise Scott Brown and Rem Koolhaas. The exhibit hall’s collection of elements can’t help but bring to mind the Venice Biennale exhibition that Koolhaas curated in 2014. His Elements of Architecture show included a suspended acoustic tile ceiling installed under an ornate frescoed dome, and a collection toilets from throughout history, with detailed annotations.

Similarly, the signs at the convention’s exhibits recall the gallery work and research of Scott Brown and her husband/partner Robert Venturi. For the 1976 show Signs of Life: Symbols in the American City, at the Smithsonian, the pair gave voices to the ordinary pieces of the domestic landscape. “Historical Elegance” says the ironwork on a rowhouse front door, “Regency Style” announces a suburban living room armchair. In her 1972 book, Learning From Las Vegas, Scott Brown, Venturi, and a third collaborator, Steven Izenour, drew a warehouse shed building with a large billboard optimistically declaring “I am a Monument.”

And there the drawing is, on a t-shirt available in the gift shop off the main hall. And here is Scott Brown herself, onstage with AIA President Russell Davidson and Executive Director Robert Ivy. They are awarding the AIA Gold Medal to her and Venturi. This is the first time that this award has gone to collaborative partnership, they announce, and they have voted to change the medal’s rules, just to make this possible. This is extraordinary, and long overdue, but it is also extraordinarily normal. Architects have been working together in partnerships for centuries. To adapt Scott Brown's own language, this moment, that has the audience of thousands on their feet and overcome with emotion, is Heroic and Original, but it's also Ordinary, and the failure, up until now, of the AIA to recognize and valorize this normal everyday mode is certainly a bit Ugly.

Architecture, like Main Street, is almost alright. After Scott Brown, we hear from Koolhaas, onstage with Mohsen Mostavi, the Dean of Harvard's GSD. Reminiscing about Learning From Las Vegas, Koolhaas said "I remember very clearly when I first saw a copy of that book. It was extraordinary, I bought it right away." Koolhaas has just finished signing hundreds of copies of his own 1978 book Delirious New York, A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan for sale in the bookstore alongside the "I am a Monument" shirts.

That book had chronicled the assimilation of the disruptive effect that several new technologies had on architecture in Manhattan: the steel frame, the elevator, the electric light, and the air conditioner. This re-normalization had taken place in the universal space of the 1811 street grid, allowing for the accommodation of difference in a way not unlike the neutral space of the convention center's exhibit hall holds the diverse booths. Although the two interlocutors never mention the city we are all in, the title of Mostavi and Koolhaas' talk is "Delirious Philadelphia." Billed by Ivy as "a real kick in the pants," the talk turns out to be quite an ordinary, low key conversation.

Koolhaas' own grand experiment with the nonstandard, Beijing's CCTV Building, for China's state controlled media, was another topic touched on by Mostavi and Koolhaas. It was completed in 2012, and in 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping used it as an example to call for the end of what he called "weird architecture" in China. An official directive in 2016 followed up on this allusion, saying that buildings which are "oversized, xenocentric, weird," will no longer be permitted. "I share the opinion of my own most powerful critic," Koolhaas says, onstage in Philadelphia, "I am also perhaps skeptical of weird architecture."

Architecture is entering a period in which the destabilizing effects of robotics, digital communication, and computation are being brought to ground. New internet protocols coming online in the next few years will automate many aspects of the home, and there will soon be enough new IP addresses available to give every armchair and billboard its own identity and ability to communicate, fulfilling Scott Brown's vision of assertive home furnishings and self aware monumentally generic buildings. We will all have our badges to scan, and our conversations with each other, our spaces, and our things will be captured and recuperated constantly. As in Koolhaas's Manhattan, and in the conventionally universal convention space in Philadelphia, weirdness and xenocentrism will be deprecated and absorbed. In the future, everything will be normal.

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OMA selected to design The Factory, a major arts complex in Manchester, England

After fending off  Rafael Viñoly, Zaha Hadid, Nicholas Grimshaw, Haworth Tompkins Limited and compatriots Mecanoo, OMA's design for "The Factory" will become Manchester's new art house. Lead by Rem Koolhaas, The Factory will be in the British city's center and is touted to cost $166 million with a further $13.5 million-a-year to run. Funding will not be an issue for Koolhaas' building as U.K. Chancellor George Osborne has pledged $117.5 million to the project with the view that The Factory will become the "Northern Powerhouse" showpiece. The project's name supposedly comes from the home-grown Factory Records, an indie record label launched in 1978 that produced notable bands such as Joy Division and Happy Mondays. Koolhaas has designed what essentially is an art-box that will host a wide range of artistic events in Manchester, with an aim for the facility to become the cultural focal point of the region. The venue is dedicated to theatre, music, dance, technology, film, TV, and scientific advancements and will have a combined capacity of 7,200—2,200 seated and 5,000 standing. This will be OMA's first major public development on British soil, aside from a few minor forays into London, Glasgow, and the south coast. “The importance of the Factory cannot be overstated," Manchester council leader, Sir Richard Leese, told the Guardian. "It will be of international significance, the cultural anchor for the next phase of economic and cultural regeneration in Manchester, Greater Manchester and beyond. It will help power Manchester and the wider region towards becoming a genuine cultural and economic counterbalance to London, as well as being a place where inspirational art is created.” Koolhaas' project in Manchester is set to break ground next year with the aim to finish by 2019. According to the Guardian, "Those behind the project have predicted that within a decade it will help create the equivalent of 2,500 jobs adding nearly $211 million to the local economy."
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On View> The Cooper Union presents “Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky & the Architectural Association”

Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky & the Architectural Association Cooper Union 30 Cooper Square, New York Through November 25, 2015 Boasting a remarkable array of artwork from both past and contemporary architectural figures such as John Hejduk, Michael Webb, Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Bernard Tschumi, Drawing Ambience reflects and encourages the late Alvin Boyarsky’s assimilation of architectural drawings. During his tenure at the Architectural Association in London, Boyarsky developed a profound appreciation of these drawings. Known as a man with a keen eye for talent, Boyarsky fostered many young architects who would later dominate the field. He urged his students to investigate contemporary issues and use the evolving global culture as a vehicle to develop their own architectural agendas. These agendas manifested in the students’ visual work that Boyarsky regarded as equally important to the physical structures they depicted, viewing them as pieces of architecture in their own right. Visitors can expect to see works ranging from Hadid’s chaotic and crisp visualizations of her un-built projects to Koolhaas’ playful, almost Gameboy-esque The Pleasure of Architecture. The exhibition is currently on view at the Cooper Union in the Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery and closes on November 25.
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OMA’s stacked Timmerhuis project in Rotterdam edges closer to its December opening

OMA's Timmerhuis project for Rotterdam, a gleaming stack of municipal offices, will open to the public on December 11, 2015. The mixed-use building will primarily house office space taking up 262,000 square feet with residential, parking, gallery, and retail spaces occupying the rest of the building. The design for Dutch developers Ontwikkelingsbedrijf was lead by OMA partner Reinier de Graaf and associates Alex de Jong and Katrien van Dijk and will be only a stone's throw away from the firm's other, already built project in the city—the towering De Rotterdam. A modular aesthetic is created via the stratified composition of repeated units stepped back from the street and would be reminiscent to a game of architectural Tetris if it weren't for the building's glass facade that makes use of high-tech,translucent energy-efficient insulation. Adaptability was a key component to the project's program, Rem Koolhaas said in a statement. "Units can be added or even dismounted from the structure as demands on the building change over time, and can adapt to either office space or residential parameters as desired." OMA also wanted to create the possibility of having an apartment with a garden in the city center, so green terraces are featured on higher levels while overhanging modules create open spaces at street level, adding a private/public threshold between the dwellings at the city. According to Koolhaas, the design brief required Timmerhuis to be "the most sustainable building in the Netherlands." OMA achieved this via the buildings flexible program and thanks to two large atriums which essentially act as the "building's lungs." These lungs are integrated into a climate control system that retains the summer heat, releasing it in the winter. Likewise, cold air from the winter is stored to be released in the summer. "Rather than being yet another statement in Rotterdam's crowded history of revisionist planning and cacophony of architectural styles, the ambiguous mass of the Timmerhuis tries to mediate between the existing buildings surrounding it," Koolhaas said. "The axis between the existing town hall and the post office coincides with the axis of symmetry of the Timmerhuis , and the street between these two buildings continues into a passageway to the Haagseveer," he continued. "The Timmerhuis integrates with the neighbouring Stadtimmerhuis by maintaining the same floor heights, while the plinth height of 20m conforms to the character of the surrounding Laurenskwartier."  
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On View> MoMA presents “Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture”

Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture Museum of Modern Art The Robert Menschel Architecture and Design Gallery 11 West 53rd Street, New York Through March 6, 2016 The Museum of Modern Art pays homage to the single-family home in Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture, a rich exhibition comprised of photographs, drawings, video, installations, and architectural models from MoMA’s collection. It showcases the artistic endeavors of both architects and artists alike with works that span seven decades. Intriguing house designs—ranging from historical projects by Mies van der Rohe, Frank Gehry, Peter Eisenman, and Rem Koolhaas, to new acquisitions from Smiljan Radic and Asymptote Architecture—are juxtaposed with visions from artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Bruce Nauman, Mario Merz, and Rachel Whiteread. The inspiration for the exhibit’s name is Frederick Kiesler’s "Endless House," shown in the 1960 MoMA show Visionary Architecture. Courtesy MoMA
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OMA does weddings and bar mitzvahs on Wilshire Boulevard

Word of an OMA-designed building for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple has been in the grapevine for months. The firm was on the short list this past spring along with Kengo Kuma & Associates, Morphosis Architects, and Steven Holl Architects for the 55,000-square-foot event space across the street from the institution’s recently restored 1929 Byzantine-Revival sanctuary. Now, a new building is moving forward with a name, an architect, and a fundraising campaign. Koolhaas is officially the architect for the Audrey Irmas Pavilion, even if renderings are still under wraps. Shohei Shigematsu and Jason Long will lead the project out of OMA’s New York office. Irmas, a philanthropist, art collector, and temple congregant pledged $30 million to lead the fundraising campaign for the new building. She is raising those funds by putting a Cy Twombly in her personal collection up for sale. The entire proceeds of the sale of the painting will benefit The Audrey Irmas Foundation for Social Justice, with a portion earmarked for the OMA pavilion. The new building, proposed to open in 2019, will accommodate all sorts of community events: weddings, bar mitzvahs, and galas. The project would be the firm’s first cultural building in California and first commission from a religious institution. OMA’s commercial project, The Plaza at Santa Monica, seems to be sluggishly moving through that city’s political channels. It passed the City Council in June, but still faces community opposition due to its height.
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Behind the Veil: The Broad opens September 20

When The Broad opens to the public on September 20, Angelenos will finally get to see how Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design compliments philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad’s powerhouse collection of 2,000 pieces of contemporary art in their eponymous museum. Works by Ed Ruscha and Cindy Sherman will hang in the 35,000-square-foot, column-free gallery space lit by some 300 skylights. Expectations are high for the $140 million dollar building, but from what we’ve seen and heard, the architecture is refined and detail-oriented. Or, as DS+R architect Kevin Rice said of Eli Broad, “I’ve never worked with another billionaire so interested in bathroom fixtures.” While the opening of a new building is always a thrill, AN has been tracking this feat of design, engineering, and curatorial might almost since its inception and we thought we’d share some of the highlights along the way. Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 3.06.06 PM Q+A> KEVIN RICE Architectural journalist Sam Lubell spoke with DS+R's Kevin Rice and got a behind-the-scenes preview of the museum. He asked Rice about design goals for the adjacent public space. “The last thing we wanted was another dead corporate plaza that gets filled at lunchtime and has tumbleweeds flying around the rest of the time,” said Rice. “We wanted something that people would want to come back to throughout the day.” director talks Q+A> BROAD ART FOUNDATION DIRECTOR TALKS ARCHITECTURE, OPENING DATE FOR DS+R’S LOS ANGELES MUSEUM Late last year, AN talked with Broad Art Foundation Director Joanne Heyler to learn how the arts community was reacting to the new architecture. “The building is very sculptural because the Vault form [which contains the museum’s collection] creates the heart of the building,” said Heyler. “I’ve taken artists to see the collection inside and gotten an incredibly enthusiastic response.” rendering COMMENT: ARCHITECTURE IS NOT ENOUGH AT GRAND AVENUE “No amount of architecture will transform Bunker Hill,” said architecture critic and curator Greg Goldin in his comment that drew attention to the lackluster urban condition along Grand Avenue. While Eli Broad has an ambition to make the street into a boulevard, Goldin questions redevelopment efforts going back decades that have wiped out topography and displaced population. “Broad’s obsession with having architects strut their stuff has obscured the need for a considered response to the city itself—with varied program and a welcoming streetscape—not one street-top civic center,” he wrote. rem HERE’S REM KOOLHAAS’ “FLOATING” RUNNER-UP PROPOSAL FOR LOS ANGELES’ BROAD MUSEUM Lastly, why not show OMA’s similar, but not winning proposal? Rem Koolhaas’s firm proposed a “floating” box covered in a lacy-patterned metal screen and cantilevered via steel brace frames above Grand Avenue.
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In Beirut, a group of activists seeks to protect a coastal area by setting up a grassroots design ideas competition

In the last two decades, Beirut’s real estate market boomed and transformed the city. One of the yet non-developed areas of the city is a coastal area called Dalieh. Despite the fact that this area is privately owned, it was used as an openly accessible space by the public for years. However, recent development plans, aiming to build a high-end real estate complex, would largely change the open access and current character of this space. A group of activists called "Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche," rejects those plans and advocates for the protection of the social, archeological and ecological significance of this space. They addressed those concerns, for example, in an open letter to Rem Koolhaas, who was creating design ideas for the development of the site. However, this campaign is not stopping at opposing current development plans, they are also proposing alternatives for the future use of this space. Last spring, they organized a design ideas competition under the auspices of the Lebanese Ministry of Environment. The crowdfunded campaign set up an international jury of various professionals, including Jad Tabet, Lebanese architect and member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and the German landscape architect Hans Kienle. At the end of May, the jury selected three winning entries which were exhibited during the Beirut Design Week in June and will be published in a booklet in coming months. Sarah Lily Yassine, engaged in the campaign, said that “the competition was successful, to engage more people and to show the institutions that there are alternatives to consider on such a site.” Even though the competition was not aiming to directly implement the resulting ideas, it sought to generate a debate about urban issues in Beirut, and in cities in general. Marwan Ghandour, professor of architecture and juror of the competition, describes this as “a competition which talks about something which is claimed by the people as an open space rather than something which is delivered by the government as a public space”. As an example of those spaces, Dalieh is called an “open access shared space” by the campaign. The idea of a grassroots design ideas competition shows an interesting model to trigger a debate about these spaces and also to generate new ideas for the future of our urban fabrics. Below, some images of the three winning entries:
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Koolhaas’ Garage opens in Moscow with a social media narrative

Last week another point was scored for social media as the de rigueur disseminator of architecture with the opening of Rem Koolhaas' Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow’s Gorky Park. As new media takes over old, images of Facebook’s new headquarters by Frank Gehry hit Instagram first, the announcement of BIG replacing Norman Foster at Two World Trade Center came through on Wired, and it may have reached its natural apex with the Garage designed by OMA. The first images of the museum flooded Instagram several hours before the June 10 press event—the museum officially opened on June 12. Feeds from photographer Iwan Baan—@iwanbaan—Nadine Johnson PR, and of course Garage’s own account @garagemca, all captured the guts and glory of a building that still seemed to be finishing up construction. A more traditional press event with architect Rem Koolhaas, museum founder Dasha Zhukova, museum director Anton Belov and Garage chief curator Kate Fowle complimented the social media onslaught. The team sat under a giant mosaic from the building’s previous life as the 1960s pre-fabricated restaurant Vremena Goda where OMA cleverly (when are they not?) retained the generous interior spaces and replaced the exterior with a translucent polycarbonate enclosure. Koolhaas, like Gehry, seems to be returning back to his early projects for inspiration, utilizing low-cost materials for both economical reasons and to subtly subvert expectations of taste. Now, that off-the-shelf approach applies to media and storytelling. By revealing the project via a purely visual medium like Instagram, Koolhaas liberates the architectural narrative from the traditional modes of transmission much like he has altered our preconceptions of what types of buildings materials can be used for and to what purpose. These well-known architects are not the only ones taking charge of their own narratives via social media and using those platforms to create exposure that might not otherwise occur. Los Angeles–based Warren Techentin of WTA created the La Cage Aux Folles installation in the courtyard of experimental gallery Materials & Applications. Collective posts on Instagram led to digital coverage in before appearing in print. Leave it to OMA to most seamlessly integrate old and new media (intentionally or not) to build a narrative for the Garage Museum, an institution positioned to transform from an outpost of the art world to one that spawns its own curatorial efforts.
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Watch OMA partner Ellen van Loon and MAB Development discuss the de Rotterdam tower

Last September, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for its Shanghai symposium, entitled Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism. I conducted video interviews with dozens of architects, developers, building managers, and others on topics relevant to tall building design and sustainable urbanism. Among the many designers, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed were Jos Melchers of MAB Development & OMA partner Ellen van Loon. We discussed the design of De Rotterdam, an innovative mixed-use development that won CTBUH's 2014 Best Tall Building award for Europe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OygY60WSibU De Rotterdam's design resembles several skyscrapers stacked closely together, with bridges and protrusions in the facade connecting them into a single, flowing mass. "What you do in a low-rise city, where buildings are very close to each other with different functions, is now basically translated into a high-rise building," said van Loon. "I think what is interesting for me about this building is that tenants see each other on different heights... so not only the physical connections, but the view connections create a community in that building." Van Loon said it was a challenge to temper the community-building aspect of the building's connections with their potential to create confusion in the program or an overwhelming presence on the skyline. The result was the largest building in the Netherlands, but one that developer Jos Melchers said still respects the site. Getting tenants on board was another challenge at first, he said, but now the unusual layout is "becoming part of the city." "You feel that you can make a really mixed-use, multifunctional building," Melchers said. "The tenant has to believe in the concept of a vertical city. Of course tenants want to have their own block, their own building."
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More in Milan: Rem Koolhaas’ arts complex for Prada brings together old and new—with gold

Should you be looking for yet another reason to add Milan to your architectural travel itinerary, the Prada Foundation is scheduled to open its many doors to the public on May 9. Designed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA, the campus—part new construction, part rehabbed structures—will include 120,000 square feet of exhibition space, a theater, a children's area, a restaurant, and library. "It is surprising that despite the enormous expansion of art media, the number of typologies for the display of art remains limited," commented Koolhaas on his website. "It seems that art's apotheosis is unfolding in an increasingly limited repertoire of spatial conditions: The gallery (white, abstract, and neutral), the industrial space (attractive because of its predictable conditions which are meant to remain neutral when juxtaposed with any artwork), the contemporary art museum (a barely disguised version of the department store), and the purgatory of the art fair." The Prada Foundation is located in a former distillery at Largo Isarco, an industrial complex dating from 1910 that comprises seven existing buildings, including a warehouse, laboratories, and brewing silos surrounded by a large courtyard. OMA inserted three new structures into the site: a museum for temporary exhibitions, a transformable cinema building, and a ten-story gallery tower. Opening exhibits will draw on the holdings of the Prada Collection (which is heavy on 20th century and contemporary art) and works on loan from museums around the world. Projects commissioned for the occasion are also on the program; Robert Gober and Thomas Demand have created site-specific installations that engage the old and new architectures, and Roman Polanski has produced a documentary film that explores his cinematographic inspirations. [via NY Times.]
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This picture frame swaps out paintings with the wave of a hand

Displaying-Lightbox-Design---Close-Up---Feat.-Joao-Paulo-Bernardes-(lo-res) In an essay in the latest Art Forum magazine, architect Rem Koolhaas focuses his current research on what he calls the “new, networked technologies that are transforming the way we experience space and time,” and, he said, “seem resolutely intangible, a universe apart from bricks and mortar.” These technologies, he believes, are changing our experience of space and time so profoundly that they are leaving contemporary design far behind. A new digital image platform just launched in Brooklyn—Meural—proves his point exactly. It takes the idea of digital frame hanging on our walls and makes it interactive with the addition of an app. Purchasers of the new technology get a wooden frame by designer Richard Clarkson that is simultaneously a beautiful object and a platform to display Meural's body of images. The company has created alliances with various image providers that will make newly created works of art and classic paintings from museums all over the world available for downloading. The Meural frame uses a new ambient light sensor technology with which you can—with the swipe of your hand over the frame—change its mages to suit your mood or audience. The new platform costs $399 for now, but it will eventually be raised to $499. The service will continue to add new images to its data bank and moves our interiors ever closer to an entirely responsive environment.