Exquisite Corpse

Luis Fernández-Galiano   /  Source:  El País

The cynical lucidity of Rem Koolhaas is fascinating and perverse. An apologist of urban chaos and metropolitan congestion, this Dutchman born in Rotterdam in 1944 has placed a sharp pupil and a muscular mind at the service of a cruel mission. The Lille Grand Palais, a huge and disturbing oval-shaped precinct amid motorways, rail tracks, and extravagant office towers, is his largest work to date, and its completion coincides with the New York opening of a monographic exhibition on his oeuvre. In it, visitors to the Museum of Modern Art will have the chance to evaluate the stubborn trajectory of an architect who leapt to fame fifteen years ago with a book, Delirious New York, which was “a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan,” and who had already exhibited at the MoMA in 1988, within the collective show through which Philip Johnson had launched the fleeting fashion known as ‘deconstructivist architecture.’

Late in finding his vocation, Koolhaas was a journalist and a film screenwriter before discovering an interest in architecture that led him to enroll at the Architecture Association in London, an avant-garde and radical school where he would later teach. After a long stint in New York which opened his eyes to the alluring vertigo of the metropolis, he founded with Elia Zenghelis and their respective wives – Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp, both painters – the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), and under this name they carried out numerous utopian and theoretical projects...[+][+]

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