Archive for the ‘Koolhaas’ Category

Koolhaas / OMA Porto Video

Casa da Música

and the interior

Bonus points – who played the opening concert? Lou Reed! and Portuguese pop-rock band Clã.

Koolhaas hearts Melnikov and Rusakov


A few years ago (1998!) I heard Rem Koolhaas lecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He spoke at length of his appreciation for the Soviet Constructivist architects of the 1920’s and ’30’s.

I knew when Koolhaas/OMA’s Casa da Musica opened in Porto, Portugal about three years ago

that its form reminded me of something. It just came to me what.

Konstantin Melnikov’s Rusakov Club for Transport Workers (1927 – 1929). A building of the sort Rem lauded in his talk.

And inside both buildings are auditoria.

More on Melnikov worth reading.

Buildings and Picasso’s guitars


While thinking about Steven Holl’s University of Iowa in Iowa City School of Art and Art History

and how it’s supposed to be based on Pablo Picasso’s 1912 sheet-metal-and-wire guitar sculpture:

I came across this 1914 Picasso collage of a musical instrument:

and thought it reminded me of this:

Rem’s library in Seattle.

Kool haats – the "Koolhaas"


From this website: The Story Behind the Design: The hat takes its name from Rem Koolhaas, a Dutch Architect/Urbanist whose work I admire very much. Last winter when I was home in Washington, I spent an afternoon in the Seattle Central Library, one of my favorite places in Seattle and an incredibly inspiring space. The architecture there created a design impulse and the hat was born in the following days.

Thanks for this to Sandy!

Do you know other examples of architecture working its way into knitting?

Sowing my SEED at the SEED Conference


A day of active learning on Design, Entrepreneurship & Inspiration.
Don’t miss it! Only four seats remain
for this one day affair in Chicago.

Coudal Partners, 37signals & Segura Inc.

And I’ll be there, talking about our surroundings in the Rem Koolhaas – designed Student Center at IIT – that’s the inspiring place in which the conference takes place. It’s on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus (with Crown Hall!) designed by Mies van der Rohe, so I guess I’ll get to talk about him a little bit too. Sign up here.

And big kudos to Jason Fried and Carlos Segura of 37signals, Wired magazine just named it one of the top ten startups worth watching in 2008. They were lauded for their “simple and accessible” computer programs. Bravo!

– E.

Mies vs. Rem!

The showdown at

SEED – A One Day Conference in Chicago
on design, entrepreneurship and inspiration.

Friday, January 18. The first one sold out and reservations for this one are going quickly.

Jim Coudal is at it again, along with Jason Fried of 37signals and Carlos Segura of Segura Inc. and T.26; again presenting a one-day conference on design, entrepreneurship and inspiration on Chicago’s IIT Campus. For more on what it’s all about, check Mike Rohde’s illustrated notes from the first Seed and a couple reviews too.

And I’ll be there during lunch to talk about Mies and his great IIT campus, vs. Rem Koolhaas’ student center at IIT.

Be there! The first SEED Conference was a blast. The folks were jazzed.

Buildings and trees


Yesterday was a glorious blue sky kind of day. I woke up to the view above, from my WC at the magical artist’s colony Ragdale.
I drove down that path to end my residency, about which I’ll write more.

Downtown I drove, a few of us architecture types were to gather at Mies’ IBM building for a meeting. Many of the views from IBM are blocked by the new Trump Chicago,

that’s it looming on the left, with crazy, glossy windows. With the views blocked, some law firms, architects and other businesses have moved out of IBM and much of it will probably go condo. Not all of course. Eg, Perkins+Will architects just renewed their lease there. As for IBM, they’re long gone and the owners have redubbed the place, 330 North Wabash.

The good news is, not all of IBM’s views are completely blocked by the new Trump Chicago. Here’s a view up the river, from a southeast IBM corner office.

From a south IBM window, looking straight down,

(since it’s not blocked by Mr. Trump) one can still feel the relationship Mies gave the building to water, and ice! Not unlike his early houses in Potsdam, the Farnsworth by the Fox River, the Lake Shore Drive apartments, the fountains by Seagram, etc.

Look a little northeast,

and you see the concrete Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist; by Harry Weese (1968).

Looking west from inside IBM,

Marina City
. Looks great! (What a city, Chicago!) And Bertand Goldberg, who did Marina, knew Mies in Germany at the Bauhaus. Here they are in exciting manner, side-by-side, risen tall.

Alas, Chicago Trump Tower looks worse than feared.

One architect at the meeting, saw it through the glass and muttered, “Vegas.” Another disagreed. She said the buildings in Vegas are better. I thought, “bad Houston.” The glass is cheap, thin and warbly. And the darn thing will still grow a heck of a lot taller.

Trump Chicago – a bad building – and Rem Koolhaas’ IIT Student Center – a good building — each make the Mies they stand next to ever more elegant.

No one ever accused Donald Trump of elegance. But cities need elegance to raise them up. Remember, as I realized again this morning, cities are where we’ve cut down the trees.


Peter Eisenman and Rem Koolhaas


First this by Eisenman,

and then this by Koolhaas.

They talk. And soon you can read what they say.
pub date March ’07.

Eisenman – ‘mobius strip’ – for Max Reinhardt Haus in Berlin – 1992 – unbuilt.
Koolhaas – Central Chinese Television building in Beijing – under construction.

"Playtime" in Petersburg and "Peking?"


While we’re doing international, contempo, hard-to-live-in-or-around,
see some beautiful photos

of the planned Gazprom City in St. Petersburg. Check out the slideshow.

and … Rem likes Red

But Inga Saffron doesn’t like

Rem’s work for the Chinese state. Not aesthetically, not politically.

She writes,

With skyscrapers, there has always been a fine line between the heroic and the humbling.

But any individual who stands under the canopy of CCTV’s suspended cantilever will have no uncertainty about the power of the Chinese state. … As with so much in China, the scale is so immense that the mind can hardly comprehend it.

The world’s greatest skyscrapers make you believe you can reach the heavens. You feel uplifted by your part in humankind’s accomplishment. But it’s hard to imagine anyone passing over CCTV’s glass-floored upper cantilever without experiencing a moment of terror.

There’s no denying that Koolhaas and Scheeren have created thrilling new forms for a new kind of city. But it appears to be a city that only the coldest hearts will long to inhabit.

Koolhaas (full name Remment Koolhaas) has been a strong critic of the U.S. government. But apparently Chinese money is clean. Oh and Time Europe hearts Rem. In fact, he’s one of their heroes.

I thought “the people are the heroes now.” But If we live like this, in the shadows of towers of industry, I think we’ll feel like peasants.

Koolhaas hearts Eisenman


Speaking of Rem and Peter, certainly someone has blogged about how Rem

Koolhaas’ Central Chinese Television building in Beijing,
in form recalls

Peter Eisenman’s unbuilt mobius strip from 1992 for Max Reinhardt Haus in Berlin.