Rem Koolhaas Quotes

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Rem Koolhaas

Rem Koolhaas in 1987
Born Remment Lucas Koolhaas
(1944-11-17) 17 November 1944 (age 72)
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Alma mater Architectural Association School of Architecture, Cornell University
Occupation Architect
Architectural theorist
Urbanist
Awards Pritzker Prize (2000)
Praemium Imperiale (2003)
Royal Gold Medal (2004)
Leone d’oro alla carriera (2010)
Practice Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Buildings Casa da Música in Porto
De Rotterdam
Seattle Central Library
Netherlands Embassy Berlin
China Central Television Headquarters
Projects Volume Magazine

What is now called 'green architecture' is an opportunistic caricature of a much deeper consideration of the issues related to sustainability that architecture has been engaged with for many years. It was one of the first professions that was deeply concerned with these issues and that had an intellectual response to them.
Rem Koolhaas
Nobody should be anything, but because I once had a different profession and I'm interested in writing, I took it upon me.
Rem Koolhaas
When shopping was still connected to the street it was also an intensification and articulation of the street. Now it has become utterly independent – contained, controlled, surveyed.
Rem Koolhaas
Journalists seem mostly interested in what brand of shoes I wear.
The intellectual force of the West is still dominant, but other cultures are getting stronger. I expect that we will develop a new way of thinking in architecture and urban planning, and that less will be based on our models.
Rem Koolhaas
When air conditioning, escalators, and advertising appeared, shopping expanded its scale, but also limited its spontaneity. And it became much more predictable, almost scientific. What had once been the most surprising became the most manipulated.
Rem Koolhaas
As an architect, I always have mixed feelings. On the one hand, your fingers are itching. As a human being, you are happy to participate in the indolence.
Rem Koolhaas
The work in S, M, L, XL was almost suicidal. It required so much effort that our office almost went bankrupt.
Rem Koolhaas
A building has at least two lives – the one imagined by its maker and the life it lives afterward – and they are never the same.
Rem Koolhaas
Asia is still dominated by skyscrapers. I hope that, in European cities, it will become a declining trend. They were almost never necessary.
Rem Koolhaas
The thing is that I have a really intense, almost compulsive need to record. But it doesn't end there, because what I record is somehow transformed into a creative thing. There is a continuity. Recording is the beginning of a conceptual production. I am somehow collapsing the two – recording and producing – into a single event.
Rem Koolhaas
One of our theories is that one can offset this excessive compulsion toward the spectacular with a return to simplicity.
Rem Koolhaas
It is not possible to live in this age if you don't have a sense of many contradictory forces.
Rem Koolhaas
Architects work in two ways. One is to respond precisely to a client's needs or demands. Another is to look at what the client asks and reinterpret it.
Rem Koolhaas
I think one of the important evolutions is that we no longer feel compulsively the need to argue, or to justify things on a kind of rational level. We are much more willing to admit that certain things are completely instinctive and others are really intellectual.
Rem Koolhaas
We say we want to create beauty, identity, quality, singularity. And yet, maybe in truth these cities that we have are desired. Maybe their very characterlessness provides the best context for living.
Rem Koolhaas
I am incredibly bad at predicting the future; I am only smart enough to observe the present and listen to my intuition about tendencies.
Rem Koolhaas
The acceptance of certain realities doesn't preclude idealism. It can lead to certain breakthroughs.
Rem Koolhaas
Each building has to be beautiful, but cheap and fast, but it lasts forever. That is already an incredible battery of seemingly contradictory demands. So yes, I'm definitely perhaps contradictory person, but I operate in very contradictory times.
Rem Koolhaas
We live in an almost perfect stillness and work with incredible urgency.
It's a weird city because the uglier the weather, the more beautiful the city. And the uglier the buildings, the more coherent the city.
Rem Koolhaas
Architecture is a rare collective profession: it's always exercised by groups. There is an essential modesty, which is a complete contradiction to the notion of a star.
Rem Koolhaas
Not many architects have the luxury to reject significant things.
The word 'celebrity' and the word 'architect' are basically incompatible.
Rem Koolhaas
Escape from the architecture ghetto is one of the major drivers and has been from the very beginning.
Rem Koolhaas
That has been my entire life story, running against the current and running with the current. Sometimes running with the current is underestimated.
Rem Koolhaas
Infrastructure is much more important than architecture.
We felt it was very important for an entity like CCTV to make its presence felt… To generate a space and to define a space, that is the main thing.
Rem Koolhaas

We live in an almost perfect stillness and work with incredible urgency.
People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it. Of course, that's both liberating and alarming.
Rem Koolhaas
If you have this reputation you can sit back and endure it, or you can try to do things with it.
Rem Koolhaas
I'd say that my profession ends where architectural thinking ends – architectural thinking in terms of thinking about programs and organizational structure. These abstractions play a role in many other disciplines, and those disciplines are now defining their 'architectures' as well.
Rem Koolhaas
Any architectural project we do takes at least four or five years, so increasingly there is a discrepancy between the acceleration of culture and the continuing slowness of architecture.
Rem Koolhaas
But now sustainability is such a political category that it's getting more and more difficult to think about it in a serious way. Sustainability has become an ornament.
Rem Koolhaas
The great problem of the concert hall is that the shoebox is the ideal shape for acoustics but that no architect worth their names wants to build a shoebox.
Rem Koolhaas
The areas of consensus shift unbelievably fast; the bubbles of certainty are constantly exploding.
Rem Koolhaas
Influence is a very unpleasant subject and I deal with it in a maybe irresponsible way, which is to really ignore it. It would be a nightmare if we started to really think about it; it would tie our hands, it would tie everyone else's hands.
Rem Koolhaas
Our office acts like a kind of educational establishment and we are very careful who we educate.
Rem Koolhaas
The luxury of our position now is that we can almost assemble any team to address any issue.
Rem Koolhaas
Miami Beach is a completely interesting hybrid because it is, on the one hand, a resort and, on the other hand, a real city. This condition of city and water on two sides I think is really amazing. And in the heart of that city, it has put an enormous convention center, an enormous physical presence.
Rem Koolhaas
There's nothing Dutch about my architecture.
Designs are increasingly winning competitions because they are literally green, and because somewhere they feature a small windmill.
Rem Koolhaas
Prada is extremely directed in terms of communicating what they like and what they don't like. That is actually extremely pleasant because it clarifies very easily what you can do and what you need to do.
Rem Koolhaas