HIGHLIGHT: REM KOOLHAAS

HIGHLIGHT: REM KOOLHAAS

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.

Netherlands Dance Theater, 1987

The Netherlands Dance Theatre, completed in 1987, was OMA’s first major project. It was originally conceived in 1980 as an extension to a circus theatre in Scheveningen, a seaside resort in The Hague. In 1984, the design was adapted for a new site – the Spui Complex – in the centre of The Hague. Koolhaas’s theater shared the site with a hotel and a concert hall, incorporating the latter’s exterior wall in a shared foyer.

Nexus World Housing, 1991

This project consists of 24 individual houses in the Kashi District of Fukuoka, Japan, each three stories high, packed together to form two blocks. Each house is penetrated by a private vertical courtyard that introduces light and space into the center.

Image: David Ewen

Villa dall’Ava, 1991

The villa is situated on a hill which slopes steeply toward the Seine, the Bois de Boulogne, and the city of Paris, in a neighbourhood characterised by 19th century houses in a classical “Monet” landscape. The house is conceived as a glass pavilion containing living and dining areas, with two hovering, perpendicular apartments shifted in opposite directions to exploit the view. They are joined by the swimming pool which rests on the concrete structure encased by the glass pavilion.

Kunsthal, 1992

The Kunsthal combines 3300 square meters of exhibition space, an auditorium and restaurant into one compact design. Sloping floor planes and a series of tightly organized ramps provide seamless connection between the three large exhibition halls and two intimate galleries. Its position, wedged between a busy highway and the network of museums and green spaces known as the museum park, allows it to function as a gateway to Rotterdam’s most prized cultural amenities.

Maison à Bordeaux, 1998

The Maison à Bordeaux is a private residence of three floors on a cape-like hill overlooking Bordeaux. The lower level is a series of caverns carved out from the hill, designed for the most intimate life of the family; the ground floor on garden level is a glass room – half inside, half outside – for living; and the upper floor is divided into a children’s and a parents’ area. The heart of the house is a 3×3.5m elevator platform that moves freely between the three floors, becoming part of the living space or kitchen or transforming itself into an intimate office space, and granting access to books, artwork, and the wine cellar.

Seattle Central Library, 2004

At a moment when libraries are perceived to be under threat from a shrinking public realm on one side and digitization on the other, the Seattle Central Library creates a civic space for the circulation of knowledge in all media, and an innovative organizing system for an ever-growing physical collection – the Books Spiral. The library’s various programs are intuitively arranged across five platforms and four flowing “in between” planes, which together dictate the building’s distinctive faceted shape, offering the city an inspiring building that is robust in both its elegance and its logic.

Seoul National University Museum Of Art, 2005

The Seoul National University Museum is defined by its siting on the side of a small hill, close to the entrance of the university. The building’s form was conceived as a basic rectangular box, sliced diagonally by the incline of the hill. This form is then raised up on a small central core – the only point of contact with the ground – so the building is nearly all cantilever, extending up and down the hill, following the topography precisely and appearing to hover above it.

Casa da Musica, 2005

The Casa da Musica attempts to reinvigorate the traditional concert hall in another way: by redefining the relationship between the hollowed interior and the general public outside. The Casa da Musica, the new home of the National Orchestra of Porto, stands on a new public square in the historic Rotunda da Boavista. It has a distinctive faceted form, made of white concrete, which remains solid and believable in an age of too many icons.

CCTV – Headquarters, 2012

The CCTV headquarters aims at an alternative to the exhausted typology of the skyscraper. Instead of competing in the race for ultimate height and style within a traditional two-dimensional tower ‘soaring’ skyward, CCTV’s loop poses a truly three-dimensional experience, culminating in a 75-metre cantilever. The building is visible from most of Beijing; it sometimes comes across as big and sometimes small, from some angles strong and from others soft.

De Rotterdam, 1997 – 2013

De Rotterdam is conceived as a vertical city: three interconnected mixed-use towers accommodating offices, apartments, a hotel, conference facilities, shops, restaurants, and cafes. The project began in 1997. Construction started at the end of 2009, with completion in 2013. The towers are part of the ongoing redevelopment of the old harbour district of Wilhelminapier, next to the Erasmus Bridge, and aim to reinstate the vibrant urban activity – trade, transport, leisure – once familiar to the neighbourhood.

Source: https://oma.eu/

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