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.]
Posts tagged with "Rem Koolhaas":
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.
More than seventy years after their creation, a collection of classic office furniture by Jean Prouvé is being updated and released to the market. Dutch fashion purveyor G-Star, in conjunction with Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra, have developed "Prouvé Raw," a collection of ten pieces that include chairs, desk and wall lighting, conference tables, and writing desks. And Rem Koolhaas also plays a role in this revival. In 2014, OMA and Koolhaas completed a new headquarters for G-Star. Observing an affinity between the architecture and the Prouvé pieces that was mirrored by the design philosophy of the fashion house, a decision was made to outfit the offices, conference rooms, and canteens of the new building with the seven-decade-old furnishings. In cooperation with the Prouvé family, Vitra adapted the French designer’s furnishings to meet the needs of today’s office. Desks have been modularized, and fitted with concealed runs for cables and pop-up power outlets. The swiveling desk chair has a more stable five-branch base. Teaming up with art directors at G-Star, color and material palettes were created that are true to the aesthetic of both Prouvé and the Dutch company. Several shades of industrial green, and leather and fabric upholstery complement the steel and solid-wood furnishings. The Prouvé Raw collection debuts next month at Salone in Milan.
It was always a question of when—not if—Rem Koolhaas would join the starchitect party alongside New York City's High Line. With the third phase of the popular park open, and multiple splashy projects rising alongside it, the New York Post is reporting that Koolhaas' time has come: he has been hired by The Related Companies to design a building on West 18th Street. Related is also developing a nearby building by Koolhaas' former student and then partner, Zaha Hadid. While there are very few details about Koolhaas' new building, it will certainly be significant given that it is the world-renowned architect's first major project in New York City—a city which he, of course, explored in depth over 30 years ago in Delirious New York. Rem's High Line tower won't be the only project his firm, OMA, will be working on in the New York City region. Last year, Koolhaas' team was selected as one of the major winners of HUD's Rebuild by Design competition.
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.
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."
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.
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]
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.
[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 (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.
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]