Past Presences, Present Presences

Bart-Jan Polman 

Timmerhuis (2009-2015)

How many OMA projects do you know? Chances are a few, given you’re engaged in architecture to the extent that you read magazines such as the one in which these words are printed. Fifty? One hundred? Less? Ten? More? The office’s output certainly did not lack in media coverage these past decades, often exceeding the world of architectural discourse into various areas of the public sphere. If you talk to OMA’s archive manager, Talitha van Dijk, she will tell you there are currently around 1,150 projects on her list. And counting. Many of them still circulate within the office on a regular basis – feedback loops of sorts that inform current preoccupations. Many are dormant, stored physically in boxes, rolls or crates in OMA’s various archive spaces, or digitally in uncountable 1’s and 0’s. There are well-known ones, forgotten ones, obscure ones, unfinished ones, beautiful ones, and ones less successful. This issue features eighteen. Built ones, and, importantly, almost all initiated and certainly realized after the 2008 financial crisis. But also, to state the obvious, before 2020’s defining pandemic, elections, record temperatures and anti-racist demonstrations that were suddenly at the center of public discourse...

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