New EU-flag, design for a new European flag based on existing national flags of all EU-countries. Image: OMA/AMO
The Rem Koolhaas web file contains biographical information, references to books and periodicals and links to internet resources on Koolhaas, OMA and AMO, as well as some of their most important works. A list of projects offers an overview of works between 1972-2002.
Rem Koolhaas was born in Rotterdam in 1944 and lived in Indonesia from 1952 until 1956. He worked initially as a journalist for the Haagse Post and as a scriptwriter before studying architecture at the Architectural Association - School of Architecture in London. In 1972 Koolhaas received a grant to travel to the USA, where he continued his studies at Cornell University and then became a Visiting Fellow of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York.
Delirious New York
His stay in New York inspired Koolhaas to write his book 'Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan' (1978), which is now considered a classic text. In this period Koolhaas decided to attempt to put his theoretical ideas about architecture and contemporary cultural and society into practice. He returned to Europe and in 1975 established the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in London. Following a series of Dutch commissions Koolhaas moved the practice to Rotterdam in 1978. In 1995, together with the graphic designer Bruce Mau, Koolhaas published S,M,L,XL - a book about contemporary society, architecture and urban planning. The book was also a survey of twelve years of OMA's work.
Since 1995 Koolhaas has been Professor at Harvard University, where he leads several research projects as part of the Harvard Project on the City. Important projects have included a study of five cities in the Chinese Pearl River Delta, 'Shopping' and the Nigerian city Lagos. Koolhaas has received numerous prizes including the Rotterdam Maaskant Prize (1986), the Prix de l'Equerre d'Argent for the Maison à Bordeaux (1999), the Antonio Gaudí Prize for Euralille (1992), the Pritzker Prize for Architecture (2000) and the Praemium Imperiale (2003). In November 2003 Koolhaas received the prestigious Architektur Preis Berlin for his Netherlands Embassy design. In February 2004 Koolhaas will receive Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London for his entire oeuvre.
Rem Koolhaas established the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 1975 in London together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp. The office was keen to put Koolhaas' theories into practice. It was the competition for the extension of the House of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague and subsequent commissions in the Netherlands that brought about the practice's relocation to Rotterdam in 1978. The first completed projects were the town-planning design for the IJ-plein in Amsterdam (1986) and the Nederlands Dans Theater in The Hague (1987).
At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s the practice took part in several prestigious international competitions: the Très Grande Bibliothèque (1989) and the Jussieu Library (1993) both in Paris, and the Center for Art and Media (1989) in Karlsruhe, Germany. The designs remained unrealized, but were revolutionary and therefore extremely influential. They demonstrated love of large-scale and complex buildings. Although the majority of OMA's work has been carried out in the Netherlands and France, since the end of the 1990s the practice has shifted its focus to Asia. The USA has also become an important region for the practice with projects for Prada in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and the McCormick Tribune Campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (University of Chicago).
Olympic Games 2008
During 2004 three large-scale Koolhaas buildings will be completed, including the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin, the 'Casa da Musica' Concert Hall in Porto and the Seattle Public Library. OMA is currently working on its largest project to date: the new headquarters for China Central Television (CCTV) in Beijing with an area of 575,000 m2. The complex is due for completion in time for the Olympic Games in 2008.
In the late 1990s, whilst working on the design for the new headquarters for Universal (now Vivendi), OMA was first exposed to the full pace of change that engulfed the world of media and with it the increasing importance of the virtual domain. In order to respond more fully to these challenges Koolhaas and OMA decided to create a new company - AMO. Whilst OMA focuses on architectural projects, AMO is entirely devoted to research in areas such as organization, culture and identity. AMO develops ways in which all the possible ingredients within a particular situation can be employed. AMO combines the professional experience of OMA and knowledge generated by the Harvard Design School Project on the City.
OMA and AMO often work together on commissions, with AMO focusing on the client's organization and identity. A clear example of this practice is the commission from Prada, for whom AMO worked on the company's information technology, its web site and the media content of Prada's stores. Since its inception AMO has worked on commissions independently of OMA and has acted as a consultant for the magazine WIRED. AMO's most widely publicized project to date was its participation in a brainstorming project about Europe's visual communication organized by the European Commission. The resulting 'new European flag' with a colored 'barcode' has received much media attention.
An overview of works by Koolhaas/OMA/AMO between 1972 and 2002.
> Read more...
A selection of links, books and thematic issues about OMA and Rem Koolhaas,
often produced in collaboration with Koolhaas. These are less
well-known and more difficult to find, but can be seen in the NAI's
> Read more...
A selection of websites about Rem Koolhaas, OMA and AMO, and about
the three projects that have served as a pretext for the exhibition
CONTENT: Seattle Public Library, Netherlands Embassy in Berlin and the Casa da Musica in Porto.
> Read more...
A simple search in a magazine database with the keywords OMA or Rem
Koolhaas quickly turns up hundreds of articles. Professional journals
from Japan to Canada regularly publish articles about Koolhaas' work,
one of the most talked about architects of our time. Both his projects
and his theories are the subject of detailed discussion and reflection.
Many of the magazines that regularly cover OMA are to be found in the
NAI's library. Here follows a selection of articles about the three
recent projects that have served as a pretext for the exhibition
> Read more...
The city of Lille in Northern France aims to develop into a business
center rivaling London or Brussels. OMA, the office of Rem Koolhaas,
has given form to this ambition in the Euralille master plan.
> Read more...