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Posts Tagged ‘Rem Koolhaas’

Rem Koolhaas Wins Johannes Vermeer Award, Zaha Hadid Honored by Veuve Clicquot


(Photos from left: Fred Ernst and courtesy Veuve Clicquot)

April is not the cruellest month when you’ve got a Pritzker and projects in progress on most continents. It’s just one more month to collect commissions, continue the epic battle against jetlag, and receive awards. Two recent honors of note: Rem Koolhaas is this year’s recipient of the Dutch state prize for the arts, the Johannes Vermeer Award, while Zaha Hadid has been declared the the winner of the 41st Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award, an honor that we hope comes with a lifetime supply of bubbly.

Koolhaas will receive the Johannes Vermeer Award, a €100,000 prize that is mainly to be used for the realization of a special project, at an October 21 ceremony at the recently reopened Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Past winners of the award, established in 2008 to honor artists working in the Netherlands and across all disciplines, include photographer Erwin Olaf and artist Marlene Dumas.
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Herbert Muschamp Dies at 59

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We were hearing a few reports that design writer and former architecture critic for the New York Times Herbert Muschamp died last night, and the paper has just posted an obit by Nicolai Ouroussoff:

As the architecture critic for The Times from 1992 to 2004, Mr. Muschamp seized on a moment when the repetitive battles between Modernists and Post-Modernists had given way to a surge of exuberance that put architecture back in the public spotlight. His openness to new talent was reflected in the architects he championed, from Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and Jean Nouvel, now major figures on the world stage, to younger architects like Greg Lynn, Lindy Roy and Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto.

Thanks to our new all-access passes to the NYT archives, you can curate your own Muschamp tribute from his hundreds, maybe thousands of articles.

Karl Rove and His Merry Gang of Architects

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It’s a hot, sticky hump day out here in LA which has got us in one heck of a sour mood. So what could possibly lift our sweaty, humidified spirits? Why Christopher Hawthorne, of course!

In today’s installment, Hawthorne gets political with his tome “Architects want to move closer to the centers of power” starring none other than the Bush campaign “architect” Karl Rove. In fact, says Hawthorne, lots of people want to be architects:

What is it about architecture that makes it so attractive as a metaphorical job description? There’s Bill Walsh, the NFL coach who after he died last month was widely remembered as “the architect of the West Coast offense.” And Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden‘s Rove, often is called the architect of 9/11. Don’t forget James Madison, architect of the Constitution, or Alfred Hitchcock, labeled by one of his biographers “the architect of anxiety.” The computer industry is full of information and software “architects” who do their building with zeros and ones.

And, of course, there’s God: architect of the universe.

The problem with all this, says Hawthorne, is that real architects don’t get the same level of respect; even people like Thom Mayne and Rem Koolhaas want to be more like Rove.

Interesting. We thought they wanted to be more like God.

Lautner, Kappe & Koenig Headed to the Getty

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The files of John Lautner, Ray Kappe and Pierre Koenig are going to a temperature-controlled home at the Getty, according to Janet Eastman‘s article in the LA Times.

This beefs up the Getty’s architectural collection considerably since it lagged behind other cultural institutions until a little gift from Julius Shulman gave it some serious clout:

The centerpiece of the Getty’s Modernist collection arrived in 2005: photographer Julius Shulman’s archive consisting of 260,000 contact prints, negatives, transparencies and other images of more than 7,000 projects by Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Schindler, Charles Eames, Koenig and Lautner.

“Once Shulman arrived, people contacted us and we contacted them,” says De Wit.

Eastman also points out how tricky it is to get other architects to donate their works to posterity:

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas turned down $1.3 million last year from the Netherlands Architecture Institute to wait for a better offer. And star architects such as Zaha Hadid have sold individual drawings on the art market as if they were by David Hockney.

Because it wouldn’t be the weekend without one final pick-on-the-starchitect-fest by the LA Times.

Christopher Hawthorne Wishes He Could Find Some Green Designers to Write About For Once

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With Philip Nobel lighting the way for architecture critics to speak their tainted little minds, critics everywhere are now making pointed attempts at abrasiveness. But sometimes it just doesn’t fly. When Christopher Hawthorne at the LA Times finally makes it out to NY to review the “Design for the Other 90%” show, he tries to make some kind of point about the lack of green designers. We only have to wonder…what on earth is he talking about?

Rem Koolhaas has offered what seems like a dozen explanations–some of them rather convincing, actually–for his willingness to take commissions from the Tibet-paving, coal-belching Chinese government. Peter Eisenman has long been happy to play the charming villain for the green crowd. Zaha Hadid‘s buildings show a mesmerizing disdain for the idea that she bears responsibility for anything beyond the health of her own legacy.

Horrible use of the starchitect card. Ho hum. Nothing new there. Try again.

Among the green generation, who is heading up the charge? Well, nobody, really. This may be the first movement in architectural history whose followers are more famous than its leaders. Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom are well-known fans of green design. Among green designers, on the other hand, we have the ambitiously principled (read: sorta vanilla) Cameron Sinclair, who leads Architecture for Humanity; the great, greatly mustachioed and soft-spoken Shigeru Ban; and William McDonough, who is beginning to project an Andy Rooney vibe.

Although we can’t disagree with either the vanillaness of Sinclair or the Rooneyness of McDonough (or the greatness of Ban), we have to say it’s clinically insane to say that there’s a dearth of well-known green designers. Really? Leo and Brad are the greenest architects you could find?

Hawthorne, what are you smoking? We bet that’s green.

You Say You Want a Rem-olution?

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In William Drenttel‘s current article on Design Observer, he criticizes Rem Koolhaas‘ bad decisions in his most recent project, the Central Chinese Television Headquarters. But during a two-night speaking stand in LA and San Francisco last month, Koolhaas had a surprising message for the design masses: Starchitects (himself included) are too busy trying to win contests with individualistic, extravagant work to devote serious thought to the true impact of their projects. You can watch Koolhaas’ appearance at USC (click lecture series), or read the reviews: John King from the San Francisco Chronicle covered the SF appearance and Rob Forbes was there, too, but more in awe of Koolhaas’ koolness. It’s almost as if Koolhaas has been rehearsing for the inevitable attacks against him.

Apparently, Koolhaas has also been rehearsing his dead-on impersonation of Nosferatu.

Our Seattle Architecture Moment

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As Steve navigates the back alleys of the Chicago Auto Show, we’re cruising through the Northwest, and today we’re in a triumphantly sunny Seattle. On our way to visit with a noted local architecture firm, our cab driver asks us where we’re headed, and we tell him.

“Oh yeah,” he says. “We’ve got lots of good architecture in Seattle.”

We agreed, seeing as it was something we’d just talked about ourselves.

“You know our new library?” he says proudly. And we realize we’d just gotten into the car with the most design-savvy cabbie in town.

We said we knew a little about it.

“When they built that library, it made Seattle a world-class city,” he says. “Everybody wants to go there.”

We tell him that a lot of people come here just to see it.

“Do you know who the architect was for that library?” he asks.

Rem Koolhaas,” we say. “He’s Dutch.”

“Rem Koolhaas” he says. “I think he is a pretty great architect, Rem Koolhaas.” He thinks about this for a minute. “Yeah. I think it’s a really good design.”

Archinect Ventures To a Distant Land Also Ruled By Rem Koolhaas’ Ego

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The brave souls at Archinect have been participating in some serious immersion journalism. “Architecture’s Second Life” explores the built environment in a world where breasts grow at the push of a button, graffiti is 3D, and Rem Koolhaas is, well, still Rem Koolhaas. Seems he just cannot come up with anything better. Or less him.