Archive for the ‘Rem Koolhaas’ Category

If Barack Obama were a building, Part II

01/22/2009

what building would Barack Obama be?


HB! reader “Fifth Way” commented…

The Seattle Public Library: forward-looking, intelligent, jazzy, cool, open to all (even the homeless), filled with ideas and art and computers and a fun auditorium and people from all over and commerce (a shop and coffee cart) and books for learning everywhere. In many ways, it functions like infrastructure. The original library sign in contained within, but its surface is striking and new. All this and it’s on the Pacific Rim, from an international design team. Hooray for Barack!


Great comparison! Seattle Public Library is one of the smartest, boundary-pushing buildings of our age. It strongly supports the city and supports international, interconnected, what they call “cosmopolitan,” citizenship.

If Barack Obama were a building, what building do YOU think he would be?

— Read part I here. —

Read about Barack Obama and columns, here.

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Jeanne Gang’s Aqua tower in Chicago looking good

06/19/2008

Romantic, retro.


Seen from the river, from which Aqua takes it name. It’s by the Chicago river, and Lake Michigan. When finished, it’ll be 82 stories, topped by a green roof.


And Aqua looks to meet the earth in an urbane manner.



While it’s hard to find precedent in boxy Chicago for the Aqua tower, how about this: Bertrand Goldberg’s River City, which also flows and undulates next to the water


If you, like me, admire Jeanne Gang‘s work, read about her in the latest Metropolis. And don’t miss the slide show of what she’s done, and what’s to come. She and partner Mark Schendel are shining stars in Chicago. And Aqua is the most expensive project ever awarded to an American firm headed by a woman.

Other projects undulate, such as this early model of Frank Gehry’s Beekman Tower in New York.


But Studio Gang’s is different, the way it moves side to side, and moves organically, it’s more like Chicago’s famous “Little Egypt,” who danced the danse du ventre at the 1893 World’s Fair.



It dances, doesn’t it?

At times, Aqua looks like someone left a Mies out in the rain.


Which then reminds me of Rem Koolhaas. He once photoshopped breasts onto a Miesian flat facade.


Jeanne Gang and Mark Schendel worked for Koolhaas in the Netherlands.

Vote for Rem?!

05/04/2008

Rem Koolhaas
on Memory and Public Space
“In Search of Authenticity”
from The Endless City,
edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic (Phaidon, 2008)

“The words ‘memory’ and ‘public space’ are almost coincidental. Currently we have a very tortured relationship with that coincidence, particularly in the West. Our anxiety — about the past, about memory — is in direct proportion to our success in destroying it. This is exemplified in Hitler’s former headquarters at the Berchtesgaden in Germany, which has recently been turned into a wellness center. A western culture that makes such drastic and thoughtless site and function transformations, driven by the private sector, is seriously dysfunctional in what is public. It shows a tendency towards indulgence in vast projects of artificial memory that often occur at the expense of the original memory. The Berlin Wall is another staggering example: a monument itself would have shown louder and harder what the former tragedy had been on this site. Instead it has literally been dismantled and replaced by a series of more professional memory fabricators that now dedicate vast territories to a memory that could have been kept in its original form. It is a cliché that public space is not what it once was, that it has increasingly been contained. Less evident is the fact that we allow ourselves to be lulled into a false privacy, in which privacy is in fact traded for security, where we become willing participants in a regime of constant surveillance. We live on a curious diet of harmlessness alternating with catastrophe.”


(Listen to Deyan Sudjic on “The Endless City.”)

Delicate Connections

03/17/2008


11/16/2006

Bad design is so tiring.


“Most skyscrapers exhaust space. This building leaves open the space it encapsulates. It activates the ground.”

From today’s NYT story on Koolhaas’ Central Chinese Television building in Beijing. 54 stories on a site as large as 37 football fields.

11/16/2006

Bad design is so tiring.


“Most skyscrapers exhaust space. This building leaves open the space it encapsulates. It activates the ground.”

From today’s NYT story on Koolhaas’ Central Chinese Television building in Beijing. 54 stories on a site as large as 37 football fields.