Megamorphosis: Piano vs. Koolhaas
Le Corbusier arrives in New York and finds its skyscrapers small. Rem Koolhaas builds a convention center of almost a million cubic meters in Lille and points out that is only an eighth part of the volume of the world’s largest building; and it would take the concrete of 100 Congrexpos to replicate the largest of the Giza pyramids. So he writes a book, S, M, L, XL (small, medium, large, extra-large), on the size of architecture. It is clearly XL that most interests him, so he chooses that size for his book: 1,400 pages.
The author of Delirious New York extends his praise of the American skyscraper to all buildings of huge dimensions, which came to Europe during the second half of the 1980s: bigness transcends architecture, renders its tools useless, and shapes an amoral realm where impact does not depend on quality; the large scale does not engage with the city, but takes its place; but bigness, with its anonymous and plural design, with its undefined and promiscuous spaces, and with different activities coexisting and contaminating each other inside of it, seems to be the last refuge of collectivity; the last bastion of architecture in a world that will have been scraped of it “in the way Richter’s paintings are scraped of paint.”...[+]