Rem Koolhaas

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Rem Koolhaas, 1987.

Rem Koolhaas (born 17 November 1944 in Rotterdam, Netherlands) is a Dutch architect, former journalist and screenwriter who studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and co-founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

Quotes[edit]

  • Architecture is a dangerous mixture of power and impotence.
    • From S,M,L,XL, New York: The Monacelli Press, 1995
  • Find optimism in the inevitable.
    • From the New York Times article on Koolhaas and Dubai appearing March 3rd, 2008. Available here:
  • The city is no longer. We can leave the theatre now.
    • From "Generic City", published in S,M,L,XL, New York: The Monacelli Press, 1995
  • Bigness is no longer part of any urban tissue. (...) Its subtext is fuck context.
    • From "Bigness or the problem of Large", published in S,M,L,XL, New York: The Monacelli Press, 1995
  • Japan lives with drastic segregation between the sublime, the ugly, and the utterly without qualities. Dominance of the last 2 categories makes mere presence of the first stunning: when beauty 'happens', it is absolutely surprising.
    • From "Learning Japanese", published in S,M,L,XL, New York: The Monacelli Press, 1995
  • We were making sand castles. Now we swim in the sea that swept them away
  • People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it. Of course, that's both liberating and alarming. But the generic city, the general urban condition, is happening everywhere, and just the fact that it occurs in such enormous quantities must mean that it's habitable. Architecture can't do anything that the culture doesn't. We all complain that we are confronted by urban environments that are completely similar. We say we want to create beauty, identity, quality, singularity. And yet, maybe in truth these cities that we have are desired. Maybe their very characterlessness provides the best context for living.
  • It's very simple and it has nothing to do with identifiable goals. It is to keep thinking about what architecture can be, in whatever form. That is an answer, isn't it? I think that S,M,L,XL has one beautiful ambiguity: it used the past to build a future and is very adamant about giving notice that this is not the end. That's how it felt to me, anyway. That is in itself evidence of a kind of discomfort with achievement measured in terms of identifiable entities, and an announcement that continuity of thinking in whatever form, around whatever subject, is the real ambition.
  • Noting that architecture can no longer keep up with the world: "The areas of consensus shift unbelievably fast; the bubbles of certainty are constantly exploding. Any architectural project we do takes at least four or five years, so increasingly there is a discrepancy between the acceleration of culture and the continuing slowness of architecture.
  • Architecture can't do anything that the culture doesn't. We all complain that we are confronted by urban environments that are completely similar. We say we want to create beauty, identity, quality, singularity. And yet, maybe in truth these cities that we have are desired. Maybe their very characterlessness provides the best context for living.

External links[edit]

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