Posts tagged with "Rem Koolhaas":

Will China Become a Design Dictatorship?

The days of China as a staging ground for progressive, even experimental, architecture may be numbered. High-profile projects by Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, et al, while the delight of design aficionados around the world, haven't impressed Chinese President Xi Jinping—at least in a positive way. At a symposium on the arts held in Beijing at the end of last year, he made statements to the effect that "weird" buildings—an adjective that has not yet been codified—would not be welcome in the future. Government intrusion into architectural aesthetics is not, of course, without ugly precedent. Joseph Stalin—who was called "the father and friend of all Soviet architects" at the All-Union Congress in 1946—essentially conscripted architects to work for the state, forcing them to close their practices to deliver structures like the Seven Sisters, fortress-like buildings topped with Gothic-ish towers. (Un-fun fact: The project manager for these buildings was a KGB honcho, and the construction crews were composed of POWs and political prisoners.) Mies van der Rohe, in an act of cunning integrity, convinced the Third Reich of the importance of keeping the Bauhaus open, only to close the school himself in a statement of artistic principle. We wonder who among the contemporary architectural community might take such a stand—should the need arise—with regard to China.

Want a Rem in your room? Beijing’s CCTV tower transformed into a wardrobe

At the recent Design Miami fest, artist Naihan Li exhibited her work-of-art wardrobe, which is helpfully—or confusingly—titled I AM A MONUMENT. (Apologies, and a tip of the chapeau, to Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour.) The monument in question is, of course, Rem Koolhaas' CCTV building. But the homage isn't limited to the exterior of the structure. Inside—the cabinet, if not the building—things get interesting. The elaborate compartments and cupboards contained in the rosewood armoire would seem to take inspiration from programmatic diagrams of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture's Beijing skyscraper. The artist explained her thinking: "The CCTV tower, shaped like a loop of video in endless production, has been turned into a wardrobe, where the ritual of dressing and undressing can also be said to be an endless loop."

OMA heading back to China with an exhibition center in Shanghai

Having designed what is arguably Beijing's most recognizable building, CCTV, OMA is ready to make a similar, if slightly smaller, mark in Shanghai. They've just won a commission to design the Lujiazui Exhibiton Centre, located on the northern edge of Shanghai Pudong, a famed tower-filled area along the Huangpu River. The project, sponsored by the Lujiazui Central Financial District Development Corporation, takes its cues from its formerly industrial location along the former Shanghai Shipyard, and actually sits on a former ship cradle. It will be wrapped in a metallic mesh, exposing its steel structure and recalling the under-construction boat hulls once common on the site. The firm plans to transform the nautical ramp into a large-scale theatrical space for events, carving out a covered plaza under the elevated, cantilevered building. Completion is set for the end of next year, a lighting fast schedule for anywhere but China.

On View> Drawings by Hadid, Tschumi, Gehry, Libeskind, and Koolhaas are being exhibited right now in St. Louis

Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum Washington University in St. Louis 1 Brookings Dr, St Louis, MO Through January 4th The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis is currently exhibiting early drawings from some of the world’s leading architects including Zaha Hadid, Bernard Tschumi, Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and Rem Koolhaas. The works come from the private collection of the late Alvin Boyarsky who chaired the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London from 1971 to 1990. The collection includes about 40 prints and drawings from the architects, and nine limited-edition folios published by the AA. Those folios include works from Peter Cook, Coop Himmelblau, and Peter Eisenman. “Drawing Ambience offers a rare glimpse into a pivotal moment in architectural history and the imaginative spirit of drawing that was and continues to be instrumental to the development of the field,” said the Kemper Museum in a statement. The exhibit was co-organized with the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design and will travel to Providence in April. This is the first public museum exhibition of Boyarsky’s collection.

Miami Beach approves revised convention center plan by Fentress, Arquitectonica, West 8

The Miami Beach Design Review Board has unanimously approved the scaled-back renovation of the city’s convention center. The $500 million project is being led by Fentress Architects with Arquitectonica covering the structure’s facade, and West 8 overseeing landscape design. As AN wrote last month, despite the center's rippling aluminum exterior, the overall plan doesn't quite pack the punch of the more dramatic (and more expensive) one drawn up by Rem Koolhaas. That plan came out of the epic head-to-head matchup between Koolhaas and his former student, Bjarke Ingels. Koolhaas ultimately won, but the design was scrapped, so here we are. With the new plan set to move forward, we are getting a better sense of the development, especially of West 8's contribution: 12 acres of open space. In a statement, the firm explained that "the Convention Center’s existing 5.8 acre truck staging and parking lot is transformed into a new world-class public park with a plant palette that showcases the unique flora and botany of Miami Beach, and provides flexible lawn areas.” The plan also includes the Park Pavilion which has indoor/outdoor dining areas set underneath tall “concrete umbrellas.” The pavilion connects to a 3.5-acre park and a veteran's memorial that's also incorporated onto the site. Other components of the open space include a butterfly garden, ballroom terrace, and “bike-friendly pathway. The convention center is expected to break ground in December 2015 and open two years later. The park is slated to be ready in 2018. [h/t Curbed Miami]

After a high-profile design competition, Miami Beach Convention Center dials it back

Remember that exciting design competition between Bjarke Ingels and Rem Koolhaas to revamp the Miami Beach Convention Center? Remember those two bold plans, all of those exciting renderings, and the official announcement that Koolhaas had won the commission? And then remember when the Miami Beach mayor said no to the whole thing and Arquitectonica was tapped for a less-expensive renovation? Well, now there's a new milestone in the convention center soap opera. That last part played out this summer and, a few months later, we know what the more fiscally-conservative plan will look like. Frankly, it looks more fiscally conservative. Curbed Miami, which is no fan of the new design, reported that Arquitectonica is doing the exteriors, Denver-based Fentress Architects is covering the interiors, and West 8 is overseeing landscape design. Overall, Curbed calls the new plan "more evolution than revolution." The most striking aspect of the $500 million design is the rippling aluminum facade that is made of fins and louvers and is attached onto the existing structure. The site also includes a cafe, a lawn, a nearly two-acre park along the Collins Canal, and a Veterans Memorial. Inside the convention center, Fentress is renovating the 500,000-square-foot exhibit hall and the 200,000 square feet of meeting space, and creating a new 80,000-square-foot ballroom. The Miami Herald reported that a design-build firm will be selected by the city in November, and that if everything moves forward, groundbreaking could happen after Art Basel next year with the center opening in 2017.

Rem Koolhaas’ Biennale: Or how the Tempest Swept Venice

peter-lang-biennale-02 [Editor's Note: The Venice Architecture Biennale is still on through November 23 and it's still proving to be controversial. Professor Peter Lang shares his thoughts on Rem Koolhaas' event here.] A Tale about the Magician Koolhaas who plays Prospero, lives on an island in the Venetian Laguna, and brings a Tempest to the Venice Biennale. Miranda: O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't. —William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5] (Aldous Huxley quoted this line from the Tempest for the title of his dystopian novel Brave New World published in 1931) In choosing to take a different perspective on the 14th edition of the Architecture Biennale in Venice directed by Rem Koolhaas, I decided to skip the standard blow-by-blow critique, and instead confront what I believe is the greatest enigma behind this controversial event. Up till now, the majority of critics taking a look at this year’s exhibition find fault with Koolhaas’ method, not so much with his madness. But the key to the exhibition is not in its studied aloofness, but in its insubordination—Koolhaas is determined to shake up the Biennale institution by any means possible. In all likelihood it didn’t start out this way. Koolhaas went about his business to remake the Biennale as did any major curator in the past, but Koolhaas is ambitious, and he set the stakes very high. To remake the Biennale, Koolhaas would need to dismantle the entire institution in order to rid it of its nearly century old infrastructure, complete with archaic “nationalist” pavilions, an array of inflexible labyrinthine spaces and gigantean maritime buildings, and a legacy of incredibly dated architectural categories. Koolhaas must at some point hit a frustrating impasse, compelling him to look for alternative best practices. It might have been around then that he hit upon the Tempest. The Tempest has an incredible allure for the kind of intellectual figure who won’t be compromised. The Shakespearean play itself lives on and on: it morphs continuously through time into an incredibly wondrous amalgam of human drama and personal transcendence. The Tempest is a malleable condition, and can double as a playbook for utopian practices, a manual for post-colonial discourse, or a stage for feverish fantasies. Prospero, the ex-Duke of Milan was a man of great vision and curiosity. While his methods may not be commonly practiced today, he would be of great inspiration to someone like Koolhaas who also faced insurmountable odds. Prospero ruled by sorcery, commanded over an army of slaves, spirits, half humans and fairies. His supernatural powers were based on his immense intellect, drawn from his great library in Milan of which a portion accompanied him in his escape from the city. His strongest affections are reserved for his daughter, Miranda. But the most important cue Koolhaas probably takes from Prospero is dramaturgical, that all spectacle is one big illusion, and that the scenes and characters are but figments of one’s imagination. Prospero evokes the “stuff dreams are made on.” He reveals the insubstantial world of the theatrical craft, masking fiction from truth. Continue reading the rest of Peter Lang's essay here.

Moscow’s Shukhov Tower won’t be dismantled after all

One of Russia’s most distinctive pieces of architecture—the 1920s-era Shukhov Radio and Television tower in Moscow—has skirted what appeared to be its imminent death. Earlier this year, news broke that local authorities planned to dismantle the deteriorating, hyperboloid structure, which was built as a communist communications tower. Russian officials said the structure could possibly be reassembled somewhere else, but preservationists didn't buy it. And, at the time, leading architects from around the world—including Rem Koolhaas, Thom Mayne, Tadao Ando, and Elizabeth Diller—signed a petition to stop the tower’s demolition. It’s hard to know exactly what impact that petition had, but something clearly changed in the past few months. The Moscow Times is now reporting that the city has placed the structure on a federal list of protected heritage sites. While this reportedly stops plans to dismantle or relocate the structure, the Shukhov Tower is not entirely in the clear just yet. The tower has been decaying for years and needs close to $14 million in repairs. "The bureaucratic procedure of drafting documents to preserve buildings … is not a guarantee they will be saved," Sergei Arsenyev, the vice president of the Shukhov Tower Federation, told the Guardian. "If they don't allocate money for saving [the] tower, sooner or later it will die." [h/t ArchDaily]

Arquitectonica to replace OMA at Miami Convention Center redevelopment

Some of the most exciting renderings of the past few years came out of the epic face-off between teacher and student for Miami’s convention center. We're of course referring to bids by Rem Koolhaas' OMA and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to radically expand and  transform the facility. While it looked like a pretty evenly-matched fight, Rem ultimately won-out with a dramatic transformation of the site. But it was only a matter of time until project accountants and fiscally conservative politicians made it clear that Rem's billion dollar plans were not going to be realized. As AN covered in January, Miami Beach’s new mayor, Philip Levin said the city should scrap the project entirely and pursue a more modest renovation. Well, half a year later, the team in charge of making that less-exciting plan a reality has been revealed. ExMiami reported that Koolhaas has officially been replaced by Arquitectonica and landscape firm West 8. “Koolhaas, regarded by many as one of the greatest living architects, was given the boot following the election of Philip Levine as mayor,” reported  the site, which continued on to lambast the choice. “Instead, mediocre local firm Arquitectonica, with a long history of churning out subpar buildings with especially poor street level design, is now overseeing exterior architecture.” According to the site, the revised plans call for renovating the current space, and adding a meeting room and ballroom. An existing parking lot will be converted into a 6.5-acre park, while new parking spaces will be placed on top of the existing structure. Designs are expected to be released in December.

Official Renderings Unveiled for Koolhaas’ Miami Condos Towers

And you can now add Rem Koolhaas to the ever-growing list of starchitects designing luxury condos in Miami. Curbed Miami recently attended the unveiling of the Dutchman’s luxury project at Coconut Grove, which is rising conspicuously close to a project by his former student, Bjarke Ingels. Conspicuously close. But since this is Miami, Koolhaas was not the only starchitect vying for the project, known as Park Grove. He had to beat proposals from Christian de Portzamparc, Jean Nouvel, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. On the roughly 6-acre site, Koolhaas creates three 20-story cylindroid towers of glass and what appears to be concrete. The structures’ floor-to-ceiling windows—no surprise there, this is oceanfront Miami after all—are separated by vertical columns that subtly undulate as they rise. A similar design element is incorporated into Herzog & de Meuron’s luxury condos on the other side of town. Park Grove also resembles the Swedes’ latest condo project in New York City, which similarly has a rolling, curving facade. In total, the project includes 298 units and three acres of green space. The most dramatic part of this project are the towers’ multi-story, green roof–topped bases, which house commercial tenants. In at least one of the structures, the grassy topper appears to rise into the tower itself. The project, overall, though is surprisingly restrained—appearing more like a collection of stock Miami apartment towers than the latest work of one of the world’s most acclaimed architects. Either way, the luxury condos at Park Grove are not going to run cheap. The project includes interiors by William Sofield and landscapes by Enzo Enea. And real estate brokerage firm Douglas Elliman said the project has a "sense of tropical urbanism." Construction on the project is slated to break ground next year.

Such Great Heights: CTBUH names world’s best tall buildings

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the nonprofit arbiter on tall building design, has named its 2014 picks for best tall buildings. Among the winners are a twisting tower in Dubai, Portland's greenest retrofit, and a veritable jungle of a high-rise. The four regional winners are: The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, Portland, USA (Americas); One Central Park, Sydney, Australia (Asia & Australia); De Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands (Europe); and Cayan Tower, Dubai, UAE (Middle East & Africa). Portland’s Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building is not a new building. Designed by SOM in 1974, the office tower used a pre-cast concrete façade that had begun to fail by the turn of the 21st century. Bainbridge Island, Washington-based Cutler Anderson Architects and local firm SERA modernized the 18-story, 512,474 square-foot structure that is now targeting LEED Platinum. One Central Park in Sydney uses hydroponics and heliostats to cultivate gardens and green walls throughout the tower, cooling the building and creating the world's tallest vertical garden. OMA’s De Rotterdam is the largest building in the Netherlands, and its form playfully morphs the glassy midcentury office high-rise in a way that’s part homage and part experimental deconstruction. In the Middle East, Dubai’s twisting Cayan Tower (formerly The Infinity Tower) is a 75-story luxury apartment building that turns 90 degrees over its 997-foot ascent. Remarked the CTBUH panel: “happening upon its dancing form in the skyline is like encountering a hula-hooper on a train full of gray flannel suits.” CTBUH will pick an overall “Best Tall Building Worldwide” winner at their 13th Annual Awards on November 6, at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Their panel of judges includes Jeanne Gang, OMA’s David Gianotten, Laing O’Rourke’s David Scott, and Sir Terry Farrell, among others. OMA’s CCTV Tower in Beijing won last year’s competition. Most of the 88 contest entries were from Asia, CTBUH said, continuing that continent’s dominance of global supertall building construction. CTBUH's international conference will take place in Shanghai in September. You can find more about the 2014 CTBUH awards, including a full list of finalists, at their website.

Absorbing Modernity: Domesticity at the Venice Biennale

At the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Rem Koolhaas set the theme "Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014" for the national pavilions, and many countries took it up through the lens of domesticity. The Taiwanese American designer Jimenez Lai examined the spaces and rituals of Taiwanese life with his exhibition Township of Domestic Parts. Lai created "superfurniture," overscaled, Memphis-inflected installations that interpreted ideas such as museum-like living rooms—part shrine, part show place, reserved only for guests. The result is a fantasy hangout space, which conjures up memories of childhood. Inside the neoclassical German Pavilion, the organizers built a modern house. The two structures intersect and "absorb" one another—a sofa is split by a wall, an outdoor fireplace undercuts the monumentality of the pavilion's central atrium. The pavilion turns amusing and strange—the kitchen is entirely formed by a glass wall and resembles a scientific lab—the installation is one of the best-crafted of the Biennale, though its meaning is largely opaque. Germany (3) The French Pavilion skewered Modernism as it met the realities of modernity. The central portion included a model of the house at the center of Jacques Tati's film Mon Oncle. The gallery behind includes a beautiful collection of prefabricated panels designed by Jean Prové, but also includes videos that detail the failure commercial failure of prefabricated architecture. The exhibition takes a decidedly sinister tone in the side gallery, which looks at an unsuccessful modernist housing development outside Paris, which was later used as an internment camp for French jews during the Holocaust. By asking the national participants to consider "Modernity" as a condition rather than "Modernism" as a style, Koolhaas has provided a useful framework for examining 20th century architecture in the culture of the 20th century. But few seemed prepared to engage with the state of architecture and culture today. France (3) France (5)