Lecture Date: 2006-01-30
Peter Eisenman and Rem Koolhaas return to the AA for a discussion moderated by Brett Steele about architecture, ideology and the city. To initiate their critical conversation, each architect makes an opening statement outlining their views on the terms of architecture, including its theories and relationship to such topics as critical practice, autonomy and engagement, form and content, and subjectivity.
Lecture date: 2002-11-04
In the twentieth century architecture disappeared. The built product of modernization is not modern architecture, but junk space. Although its individual parts are the outcome of brilliant inventions, lucidly planned by human intelligence, boosted by infinite computation, their sum spells the end of enlightenment, its resurrection as farce, a low-grade purgatory.' Rem Koolhaas, The Harvard Guide to Shopping. Where do we go from here, if architecture has disappeared? As the declining urban substance of Europe intersects with China in ascension, Koolhaas explores the ironies and possibilities of a reconfigured globalized world. He discusses several recent OMA and AMO projects including the HOLLOCORE
Lecture date: 1995-11-29
Rem Koolhaas presents his innovative and influential publication S,M,L,XL. Designed in collaboration with Bruce Mau, written as a kamikaze critique of the work of the OMA office, Koolhaas describes the book as an architectural novel which aims at modesty at a megalomaniac scale. Rem Koolhaas is a former student and tutor at the AA and founder of OMA. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2000.
REM KOOLHAAS: In a way, it is very cruel that after publishing a book of 1400 pages I am asked to give a presentation, because the book is in itself the presentation; everything I have to say now is completely redundant: is in the book. Every project is both defined in the terms of positive ambitions, but also in terms of issues to avoid. In our work, and also in this book, the catalogue of things to avoid has been at least as important as the things to include. We wanted to do a book about architecture which both undermined and reinforced architecture; a book which spoke openly about the meaning of many of our architecture, but at the same time, which did so at a modest scale, so maybe the main definition of the book is modesty in a megalomaniac scale. At this point, the most interesting presentation I can give is about the book and its intentions, although in some way I feel that I am also spoiling your fun, because it will make explicit some things that are deeply buried in depth of the book. I am exposing connections now that I would rather have prefered to remain hidden, for you to discover or to ignore.
The book is a series of fragments, it has the pretension of a novel, people have waited for it a long time, and I think have written it very quickly. I started in 1992, and, for those of you who know ‘Delirious New York,’ I named myself its ghostwriter (the ghostwriter that describes New York’s theory). The role of a ghostwriter is still the role I prefer the most, but there were two issues, first of all, my age, and second, the huge amount of work that we have undeniably produced, which imposed the issue of publishing this kind of work.
I would still have prefered to be the ghostwriter, and to me the book is still a ghost-written book, but I felt it was also inevitable to make your own personal disclosures. One of them is that my father was a writer, and therefore, I am probably biologically programmed to be interested in writing. He died one week before I started the book, and maybe there is a connection between his death and a certain mission of this words. We wanted a book that changed of character every ten pages or something like that, a book that did not have a single appearance, a book that changed nature, character, identity and aesthetics at every possible moment.
I felt that was very important to make a book that provoked other people to think about architecture, and about the conditions under which architecture is produced today. Therefore, the book contains a series of informations about the economy of our office: (showing a graph) to the left the beginning of the office in 1981, and the moment that we started the book is when the line started to decline acutely. In that sense, you could say that writing the book is also a critique of the office and also probably an act of aggression against the office, to some extent kamikaze. The conditions under which architecture has to be produced today are, strictly speaking, insane.
These graphs give the corresponding frequency of travels, of nights spent in hotels, of the accumulated effort, so therefore there is a very blatant paradox that the more an architect is popular, the the less that he has to spend on architecture. We are all living with the consequences of that paradox, and it is not a beautiful sight in most cases. The more the work of an architecture office is disseminated in different areas, (by the way, 70% or 80% of our work is not in the country where we have our office), the more it becomes a logistical nightmare. Here (shows graph) you can see the up and down fluctuations of income, so running an office now is to try to even out a series of completely irrational mountain ranges, and therefore it is an almost impossible task.
It is important to make those revelations, because the book is to some extent a critique of the office. It was written at a time of incredible financial difficulty, the difficulties are simply given here, I can say that our office almost died this summer, but at the same time there is an interesting twist of scenario. We started negotiations with a major engineering firm in The Netherlands, and we are now autonomous but completely enravelled in association with an enormous office of 700 people, who built roads, bridges and tunnels, and who expect from the association to cover the entire field from architecture to infrastructure.
This is our new office (photograph)
Lecture date: 2000-06-09
Rem Koolhaas discusses new work by OMA. Rem Koolhaas is a former student and tutor at the AA and founder of OMA. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2000.
NB: 96 mins into lecture sound cuts out for 30 secs.
Lecture date: 1999-01-26
Shopping and the contemporary city. Recent studios led by Koolhaas have addressed the ways in which the accelerating commercial features of cities have changed terms like public or private.
Rem Koolhaas is a former student and tutor at the AA and founder of OMA. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2000.
NB: Cuts out for 30 seconds halfway through lecture.
Lecture date: 1974-05-23
Part of a lecture on The Socialist City
Lecture on a group of architects working in the 1930’s on a new form of the city. Based on Socialist ideas they begin to reformat the layout of a city based on an Anti-Urbanism. Members of the group; Ernst May, Eugen Kaufmann, Wilhelm Derlam, Ferdinand Kramer, Walter Kratz, Walter Schwagenscheidt, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, Wilhelm Schütte, Anton Brenner, Alfréd Forbát, Hans Schmidt, Mart Stam, Hans Burkart, Max Frühauf, Wilhelm Hauss, Werner Hebebrand, Karl Lehmann, Hans Leistikow, Albert Löcher, Ulrich Wolf, Erich Mauthner, Hans Schmidt, Walter Schulz, More information can be found El Lissitzky’s Russia: An Architecture for World Revolution. Pgs. 188-203.
Students from the Harvard Graduate School of Design discuss their work and experiences during the Fall 2013 Studio Abroad taught by architect Rem Koolhaas at the OMA offices in Rotterdam, Netherlands. They reflect on the research and concept design they are preparing for the exhibition "Elements of Architecture" presented in the Central Pavilion at the 2014 International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, Italy.
Learn more about the GSD's Studio Abroad Program: gsd.harvard.edu/studioabroad
View Part II
Lecture date: 1994-05-06
From 'Architecture and Complexity' conference. During the late 1960s and early 1970s a call for greater complexity in architecture and urban design arose. Simultaneously, individual researchers in diverse areas of physics, chemistry, biology, economics, mathematics and computer science were formulating new approaches to problems previously considered either intractably complicated or outside the realm of science. Over the following decades these discrete researches eventually coalesced into complexity theory. This conference, chaired by Jeff Kipnis, was convened as a first step towards stimulating dialogue between these two trajectories of complexity, in the belief that the larger social and political goals envisioned by each might be best served by a collaboration between the two.
Rem Koolhaas - Singapore Songlines
Lecture date: 2012-02-07
Rem Koolhaas, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Brett Steele, Shumon Basar
Project Japan is a new book by Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist, edited by Kayoko Ota with James Westcott and designed by Irma Boom. It tells the story of the first non-western avant-garde movement in architecture, and the last movement anywhere to play a crucial role in the economic, intellectual, and architectural (re)building of a nation: Metabolism.
Between 2005 and 2011, architect Rem Koolhaas and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewed the surviving members of Metabolism, together with dozens of their collaborators, mentors, rivals, critics, protégés and families. The result is a vivid documentary both of an architectural movement and an activist state that mobilised the most creative forces of its population for a task that, in 1945, seemed impossible.