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Casa da Musica. Image © Philippe Ruault

Spotlight: Rem Koolhaas



With the extensive list of acclaimed alumni of his firm, OMA, it is not a stretch to call Rem Koolhaas (born 17 November 1944) the godfather of contemporary architecture. Equal parts theorist and designer, over his 40-year career Koolhaas has revolutionized the way architects look at program and interaction of space, and today continues to design buildings that push the capabilities of architecture to new places.


© Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design via Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0


Maison Bordeaux. Image © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA

库哈斯出生于荷兰鹿特丹,在8岁的时候,库哈斯的父亲就职于印尼雅加达的一个文化项目管理岗位,随后他们一家便搬到了亚洲。三年之后,他们回到荷兰阿姆斯特丹,库哈斯后来在这里从事着电影制作行业,他也认为,这段职业生涯对他如今的工作有着巨大的影响,在1968年,他考入伦敦AA建筑学院,后来在康奈尔大学和纽约城市建筑研究所学习之后,库哈斯又回到了伦敦,和妻子Madelon Vriesendorp,以及Elia、Zoe Zenghelis共同创办了OMA建筑事务所。后来他曾经在母校担任教师,在此期间,他遇到了扎哈·哈迪德,扎哈很快便加入了OMA,并且合作了一系列概念项目,例如荷兰海牙议会大厦。

Remment Koolhaas was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. At the age of eight, Koolhaas’ father was given a position running a cultural program in Jakarta, Indonesia and subsequently moved his family to Asia. The family returned to Amsterdam three years later, where Koolhaas would later pursue filmmaking (a phase he believes still impacts his work today), until enrolling at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 1968. Following continued studies at Cornell University and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City, Koolhaas returned to London to open his firm, OMA, alongside his wife Madelon Vriesendorp and Elia and Zoe Zenghelis. He also began teaching at his Alma Mater, during which time he met a young Zaha Hadid. Hadid soon joined OMA, and together the group began working on a series of highly conceptual, predominantly unbuilt projects, highlighted by the Dutch Parliament Building in The Hague.


Seattle Central Library. © Philippe Ruault


During this period, Koolhaas penned Delirious New York, an urbanist manifesto that would come to define his future architectural strategy. In the book, Koolhaas celebrates the city’s hyper-dense “culture of congestion” as a cultural incubator, a place where unprescribed interaction could lead to innovation and creativity. It was in this text that Koolhaas first proposed the idea of “cross-programming,” intentionally introducing unexpected program types within buildings of different typologies, such as running tracks within skyscrapers. The idea has since returned in various forms, such as in his unsuccessful proposal to include hospital units for the homeless within his design for the Seattle Central Library. The book is still considered today to be an essential piece of the architectural canon.


CCTV Headquarters. Image © Iwan Baan


Following Hadid’s departure from the firm, OMA received its first major commission, the Netherlands Dance Theater in The Hague. Completed in 1987, the building was a manifestation of many of the ideas from Delirious New York; the design features volumes of varying form and materiality colliding in unique ways to create new types of space and a visually stimulating composition. The success of that building, as well as continued acclaim for their unbuilt competition entries, gave OMA increased international recognition.


Kunsthal. Image © Flickr user kleiobird licensed under CC BY 2.0

在上世纪90年代,OMA设计了一系列大型项目,其中有各式各样的建筑类型。这些项目中最为著名的便是1991年的巴黎Dall'Ava别墅和1999年的Maison Bordeaux。在这些建筑之中,库哈斯从现代主义经典作品中获取灵感,尤其是萨伏伊别墅(Villa Savoye)和范斯沃斯住宅(Farnsworth House),库哈斯将这些设计理念结合在作品之中,并且重新构思,从而满足客户的不同需求。Dall'Ava别墅有着屋顶游泳池和动态材质拼贴效果,地面的三层空间由细长的不规则支柱以及混凝土墙体支撑。私人公寓单元连接着下部共享玻璃起居空间和上部游泳池。Maison Bordeaux的设计包含了三个楼层,并且有着不同的透明度和功能类型,由大型电梯连接在一起,同时这也成为了一位轮椅使用者的办公室。

The 1990s saw projects of widely varying scale for Koolhaas and OMA, from city master plans, in Euralille, France, to the Rotterdam Kunsthal (1992) to residential projects. The most widely renowned of these residential projects were the Villa Dall’Ava in Paris (1991) and the Maison Bordeaux (1999). In these houses, Koolhaas took cues from Modernist classics, in particular Villa Savoye and the Farnsworth House, blowing their designs into parts and reassembling them to suit the unique needs of the clients. Villa Dall’Ava featured a rooftop pool and a dynamic collage of materials raised 3 stories above the ground by slender, irregularly placed columns and a poured-in-place concrete wall. Private apartment units were connected by a shared glass living space below and the pool above. The design of Maison Bordeaux contained three floors of varying opacity relating to program type, connected by an oversized elevator that doubled as an office for the husband, who was a wheelchair user.


Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre / REX | OMA. Image © Tim Hursley

接下来,在1999年OMA建筑事务所又成立了建筑研究小组AMO。AMO主要研究大面积的展览设计,其中包括时尚品牌普拉达的门店与展览。在本世纪,OMA建筑事务所的主要项目是2005年波尔图的Casa da Musica、2009年的达拉斯的Wyly剧场、2001年芝加哥的IIT-McCormick论坛中心,以及2004年的西雅图中央图书馆(Seattle Central Library)。而西雅图的这座图书馆对整个建筑行业都产生了巨大的影响,在这个项目中,建筑师应用了功能泡泡图的形式,这种方式后来风靡于建筑界。图书馆的平面布局突出了城市景观,也让人们更加相信,建筑的优雅形式可以来源于使用者的体验。

后来,库哈斯参与了世界各地的各项建筑设计,其中有北京中央电视台总部(CCTV Headquarters)、鹿特丹多功能大楼(mixed-use building De Rotterdam)、卡塔尔国家图书馆(Qatar National Library),以及米兰普拉达基金会新总部(the Fondazione Prada in Milan)。

The following decade saw a massive expansion within OMA, with the founding of architectural think-tank and research group AMO in 1999. AMO has since contributed to designs for numerous exhibitions and events, including stores and runway shows for fashion house Prada. Key buildings from OMA in the 2000s include the Casa da Musica in Porto (2005), the Wyly Theater in Dallas (2009), the IIT-McCormick Tribune Center in Chicago (2001), and the Seattle Central Library (2004). In particular, the Seattle Library has had a profound impact on architectural approach and diagramming in architecture—the word-bubble programmatic diagram used to outline spatial relationships has since been utilized by architects worldwide. The library’s pivoting planes highlighting views of the city have also convinced critics that elegant form can be derived from focusing on user experience.
Since then, Koolhaas has had a hand in designing buildings worldwide, including the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, mixed-use building De Rotterdam, the Qatar National Library, and the Fondazione Prada in Milan.


De Rotterdam. Image © Michel van de Kar


In recent years, Rem Koolhaas’ discourse has ranged from breaking down architecture into its fundamental elements in his lauded directorship of the 2014 Venice Biennale, to the feasibility of smart cities, to studies on urbanization in Lagos, Nigeria. He has also often delved into the realm of skepticism, such as his claim that “people can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it. Of course, that's both liberating and alarming.”


Shenzhen Stock Exchange HQ. Image © Philippe Ruault

这些看法也让库哈斯成为建筑界较为受争议的人物,亦或是“反建筑”的称号,但是这些看法都无法阻止他的前行,也无法阻止他的想法。另外他也不断地辅助Bjarke Ingels、Ole Scheeren、Farshid Moussavi、Jeanne Gang、Winy Maas等人,库哈斯也许从中发现了另一种思考方式,那便是塑造未来。

These claims have led to Koolhaas’ being called “the most controversial figure in architecture” and “an anti-architect,” but those descriptions fail to capture the career of a man who is always chasing the next step in architecture and how he can think bigger. By helping to spawn the careers of Bjarke Ingels, Ole Scheeren, Farshid Moussavi, Jeanne Gang, Winy Maas, and many many others, Koolhaas has perhaps found another way of thinking bigger: by creating the future.


Milstein Hall at Cornell University © Matthew Carbone


G-Star RAW HQ. Courtesy of OMA - G-Star


Coach Omotesando Flagship. © Iwan Baan


OMA designed Maggie Gartnaval Opens Today. Image courtesy of OMA; photography by Philippe Ruault


Fondazione Prada. © Bas Princen - Fondazione Prada


The Interlace. © Iwan Baan


McKinsey & Company Hong Kong Office. © Philippe Ruault


Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. © Yuri Palmin


Rothschild Bank Headquarters.


AD Classics Villa dall'Ava. © Peter Aaron (OTTO)


AD Classics Educatorium. © Andrew Kroll


5 Years Later, A Look Back on OMA's Prada Transformer. © Iwan Baan


Cai Guo Qiang Studio. © Brett Beyer, Courtesy of OMA


Timmerhuis. © Ossip van Duivenbode


Holland Green. © Nick Gutteridge


CCTV Headquarters. Courtesy of OMA


Manus x Machina. © OMA - Albert Vecerka


Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec. © Bruce Damonte


Repossi Place Vendome. © Cyrille Weiner, Courtesy of Repossi


Il Fondaco dei Tedeschi. © Delfino Sisto Legnani + Marco Cappelletti


AD Classics Dutch Parliament Extension. via OMA


RIJNSTRAAT 8. Photograph by Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti, © OMA


Concrete at Alserkal Avenue. © Mohamed Somji, courtesy Alserkal Avenue


2017 MPavilion Designed by OMA's Rem Koolhaas & David Gianotten Opens in Melbourne. © John Gollings


Faena Forum, Faena Bazaar and Park. Image © Iwan Baan


Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre. Courtesy of OMA


Bibliothèque Alexis de Tocqueville. © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti


Lab City CentraleSupélec. Photograph by Vitor Oliveira, Courtesy of OMA


The Design Museum of London. © Luc Boegly + Sergio Grazia




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