Rem Koolhaas (Rotterdam, 1944) is that rare combination of visionary and implementer—philosopher and pragmatist—theorist and prophet—an architect whose ideas about buildings and urban planning made him one of the most discussed contemporary architects in the world even before any of his design projects came to fruition.
He has demonstrated many times over his ability and creative talent to confront seemingly insoluble or constrictive problems with brilliant and original solutions. In every design there is a free-flowing, democratic organization of spaces and functions with an unselfconscious tributary of circulation that in the end dictates a new unprecedented architectural form. In 1975, he founded OMA together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp.
His architecture is an architecture of essence; ideas given built form. He is an architect obviously comfortable with the future and in close communication with its fast pace and changing configurations. One senses in his projects the intensity of thought that forms the armature resulting in a house, a convention center, a campus plan, or a book. He has firmly established himself in the pantheon of significant architects of the last century and the dawning of this one. For just over twenty years of accomplishing his objectives—defining new types of relationships, both theoretical and practical, between architecture and the cultural situation, and for his contributions to the built environment, as well as for his ideas, he is awarded in 2000 with the Pritzker Architecture Prize.