“One Architecture Does Not Fit All”

Posted: April 13, 2018 in Uncategorized


[Rem] Koolhaas, Dutch architect, author (Delirious New York) and cult figure, wants architecture to be “a chaotic adventure,” and this massive tome certainly is. Created with Toronto-based designer Mau, it’s a huge collage splicing freewheeling essays, diary excerpts, photographs, architectural plans, sketches, cartoons and surreal montages of images. There’s also a running glossary of Zen-like definitions, plus fables and parables intended to shake modern architects out of conventional thinking and to dispel urban despair. In one essay, Koolhaas admires Japan’s metabolist movement, which fuses organic, scientific, mechanistic and romantic vocabularies. That approach seems compatible with his own innovative, eclectic vision as head of the Dutch firm Office of Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.), whose houses, villas, office towers, libraries, colleges, cultural complexes and other projects are showcased here. While some readers may be mystified by a nonlinear hodgepodge, architects, planners and designers will find this frequently outrageous assemblage a provocative repository of ideas.

–Publishers Weekly

Rem Koolhaas is founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.); the firm’s most important projects include the Lille Grand Palais in Lille; the Kunsthal in Rotterdam; Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague; Nexus Housing in Fukuoka; the Dutch House in Holland; and Villa dall’Ava in Paris, all of which are included in S,M,L,XL. Koolhaas is author of the seminal Delirious New York and professor in practice of architecture and urban design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Bruce Mau founded the critically acclaimed firm Bruce Mau Design in 1985. He is the author of Life Style and Massive Change.



  1. Morgan Victorine says:

    I am impressed with Mau’s approach to architecture. Though his buildings seem a little disjointed and odd, he seems to have a clear reasoning for his designs. I looked at the description of his book “Massive Change” and was surprised that he found influences from not only urbanism and architecture, but also health, politics, the military, etc. He has incorporated world events into his thought process while he is designing a building, and I admire that. Architects should have a strong insight to the world around them, and take the culture and life into consideration with any building they design- there are too many that design simply because it looks good. That isn’t what it’s about. (in my opinion).

    • The motto of Urbanism (the term Corbusier used for his own style) was the famous “form follows function.” The result of this guiding idea was meant to be buildings whose beauty resided in the simple elegance and utility of the structure. Each part of the building immediately and cleanly announced what it was meant to do, without any distracting ornamental or illusion. The buildings produced my Mau, or Koolhaus, do draw from that movement. But they differ insofar as the show a far more complex view of function. Further, I might add that they begin not with the obvious clarity of the structure but rather a deep commitment to illusionism, which is then modified to conform to utility. Consider, for example, the Chinese National Communication building. Its basic concept is to create usable space by surrounding the empty space where a more conventional building might have stood. Here, object and frame have become identical.

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