Will China Become a Design Dictatorship?

Galaxy-Soho-Zaha

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid)

The days of China as a staging ground for progressive, even experimental, architecture may be numbered. High-profile projects by Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, et al, while the delight of design aficionados around the world, haven’t impressed Chinese President Xi Jinping—at least in a positive way.

Continue reading after the jump.

Want a Rem in your room? Beijing’s CCTV tower transformed into a wardrobe

GalleryALL_NaihanLi_CCTVwardrobe_2

(Courtesy Design Miami)

At the recent Design Miami fest, artist Naihan Li exhibited her work-of-art wardrobe, which is helpfully—or confusingly—titled I AM A MONUMENT. (Apologies, and a tip of the chapeau, to Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour.) The monument in question is, of course, Rem KoolhaasCCTV building.

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OMA heading back to China with an exhibition center in Shanghai

Rendering of the Lujiazui Exhibiton Centre, along the Pudong waterfront.

Rendering of the Lujiazui Exhibiton Centre, along the Pudong waterfront.

Having designed what is arguably Beijing’s most recognizable building, CCTV, OMA is ready to make a similar, if slightly smaller, mark in Shanghai. They’ve just won a commission to design the Lujiazui Exhibiton Centre, located on the northern edge of Shanghai Pudong, a famed tower-filled area along the Huangpu River.

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On View> Drawings by Hadid, Tschumi, Gehry, Libeskind, and Koolhaas are being exhibited right now in St. Louis

Architecture, Art, Midwest, On View
Thursday, December 11, 2014
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(Courtesy Kemper Art Museum)

A drawing by Zaha Hadid is part of the exhibition. (Courtesy Kemper Art Museum)

Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Washington University in St. Louis
1 Brookings Dr, St Louis, MO
Through January 4th

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis is currently exhibiting early drawings from some of the world’s leading architects including Zaha Hadid, Bernard Tschumi, Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and Rem Koolhaas. The works come from the private collection of the late Alvin Boyarsky who chaired the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London from 1971 to 1990.

More info after the jump.

Miami Beach approves revised convention center plan by Fentress, Arquitectonica, West 8

Public space at the Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy West 8)

Public space at the Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy West 8)

The Miami Beach Design Review Board has unanimously approved the scaled-back renovation of the city’s convention center. The $500 million project is being led by Fentress Architects with Arquitectonica covering the structure’s facade, and West 8 overseeing landscape design. As AN wrote last month, despite the center’s rippling aluminum exterior, the overall plan doesn’t quite pack the punch of the more dramatic (and more expensive) one drawn up by Rem Koolhaas. That plan came out of the epic head-to-head matchup between Koolhaas and his former student, Bjarke Ingels. Koolhaas ultimately won, but the design was scrapped, so here we are.

Continue reading after the jump.

After a high-profile design competition, Miami Beach Convention Center dials it back

Architecture, Design, East, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy Fentress Architects / association with Arquitectonica)

Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy Fentress Architects / association with Arquitectonica)

Remember that exciting design competition between Bjarke Ingels and Rem Koolhaas to revamp the Miami Beach Convention Center? Remember those two bold plans, all of those exciting renderings, and the official announcement that Koolhaas had won the commission? And then remember when the Miami Beach mayor said no to the whole thing and Arquitectonica was tapped for a less-expensive renovation? Well, now there’s a new milestone in the convention center soap opera.

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Rem Koolhaas’ Biennale: Or how the Tempest Swept Venice

Architecture, International, Review
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
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peter-lang-biennale-02

[Editor’s Note: The Venice Architecture Biennale is still on through November 23 and it’s still proving to be controversial. Professor Peter Lang shares his thoughts on Rem Koolhaas’ event here.]

A Tale about the Magician Koolhaas who plays Prospero, lives on an island in the Venetian Laguna, and brings a Tempest to the Venice Biennale.

Miranda:
O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.
—William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5]
(Aldous Huxley quoted this line from the Tempest for the title of his dystopian novel Brave New World published in 1931)

In choosing to take a different perspective on the 14th edition of the Architecture Biennale in Venice directed by Rem Koolhaas, I decided to skip the standard blow-by-blow critique, and instead confront what I believe is the greatest enigma behind this controversial event. Up till now, the majority of critics taking a look at this year’s exhibition find fault with Koolhaas’ method, not so much with his madness. But the key to the exhibition is not in its studied aloofness, but in its insubordination—Koolhaas is determined to shake up the Biennale institution by any means possible.

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Moscow’s Shukhov Tower won’t be dismantled after all

THE SHUKHOV TOWER. (COURTESY RICHARD PARE)

THE SHUKHOV TOWER. (COURTESY RICHARD PARE)

One of Russia’s most distinctive pieces of architecture—the 1920s-era Shukhov Radio and Television tower in Moscow—has skirted what appeared to be its imminent death.

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Arquitectonica to replace OMA at Miami Convention Center redevelopment

Architecture, East, News, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
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What could have been - OMA's plan for Miami Convention Center. (Courtesy OMA)

What could have been – OMA’s plan for Miami Convention Center. (Courtesy OMA)

Some of the most exciting renderings of the past few years came out of the epic face-off between teacher and student for Miami’s convention center. We’re of course referring to bids by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to radically expand and  transform the facility. While it looked like a pretty evenly-matched fight, Rem ultimately won-out with a dramatic transformation of the site. But it was only a matter of time until project accountants and fiscally conservative politicians made it clear that Rem’s billion dollar plans were not going to be realized.

Continue reading after the jump.

Official Renderings Unveiled for Koolhaas’ Miami Condos Towers

The towers. (Courtesy OMA)

The towers. (Courtesy OMA)

And you can now add Rem Koolhaas to the ever-growing list of starchitects designing luxury condos in Miami. Curbed Miami recently attended the unveiling of the Dutchman’s luxury project at Coconut Grove, which is rising conspicuously close to a project by his former student, Bjarke Ingels. Conspicuously close. But since this is Miami, Koolhaas was not the only starchitect vying for the project, known as Park Grove. He had to beat proposals from Christian de Portzamparc, Jean Nouvel, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Continue reading after the jump.

Absorbing Modernity: Domesticity at the Venice Biennale

(Alan Brake / AN)

Jiminez Lai’s Biennale pavilion installation. (Alan Brake / AN)

At the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Rem Koolhaas set the theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014″ for the national pavilions, and many countries took it up through the lens of domesticity. The Taiwanese American architect Jimenez Lai examined the spaces and rituals of Taiwanese life with his exhibition Township of Domestic Parts. Lai created “superfurniture,” overscaled, Memphis-inflected installations that interpreted ideas such as museum-like living rooms—part shrine, part show place, reserved only for guests. The result is a fantasy hangout space, which conjures up memories of childhood.

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On View> Koolhaas breaks down architecture to its fundamental elements

International, On View
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
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00-agb-venice-2014

When Rem Koolhaas gave the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale the theme Fundamentals, he promised to create a research-based exhibition that would consider both the universal and place-specific aspects of the discipline. Serving as a counterweight to the multidisciplinary but single-country-focus of Monditalia, which fills the Arsenale at the Venice Biennale, the Central Pavilion in the Giardini is hosting The Elements of Architecture, which looks at the basic components of building around the world: the floor, walls, windows, stairs, elevators, etc. Based on a book of the same name, the exhibition juxtaposes the mundane and the cutting edge, building science with artistic interpretations, historical facts with speculative futures.

Continue reading after the jump.

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