Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas talks about new trends in architecture and urban development, the end of the European city, the rise of Dubai, Russia and China, the obsession with XXXL and the difference between the people who design buildings for a living and "star architects."

An engaging interview with Rem Koolhaas by Stephan Burgdorff and Bernhard Zand.

A couple of quotes that are thought provoking;

SPIEGEL: The organic European city that we know could soon be a historical memory, a world cultural site?

Koolhaas: Exactly. Though we don't have to bid farewell to the European city -- it's still there. But it simply happens to have served long enough as a standard, as the only model. This is, in a sense, the tragedy of the last 20 years. Because it is so dominant as a standard, because it is so obsessed with contemporary architecture, everything else comes across as negative. We are against China, and we are against Dubai, because all of this isn't European. Perhaps this also describes one of Europe's problems, in a broader sense: We are so strongly influenced by our model that we have trouble thinking in terms of other worlds.

SPIEGEL: Critics of development on the Gulf say it's "all Disneyland."

Koolhaas: In truth, the constant return of this Disney fatwa says more about the stagnation of the West's critical imagination than about the cities on the Gulf. What our office is building is the subject of controversy everywhere, but I have noticed that people who actually live in China or on the Gulf are usually open to our ideas. They happen to be out in the field, and when you're in the field you have a different perspective.

Thanks Nam Henderson

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