Seminal architectural theorist of the late 20th Century. Responsible for such notions as Manhattanism, and the book S, M, L, XL. Designer of radical buildings, celebrant of context, head of the Office for Metropolitan Architectre.

Architects, more than many other professionals, need someone to come to their defense. Mr. Show of course depicts architects with cruel accuracy: "Oh, you're an architect? That means you're a pussy." Rem Koolhaas, however needs no defense. Who can argue with a man that has never let drop the middle finger he extended with Delirious New York, the theory book that made him famous in 1978, which considered Coney Island the test-bed of Manhattan's structural development. Midget firefighters help birth the skyscraper, New York's city planners dress up like buildings of their own design, and a group of Russian Socialists swim backwards to America in a sea-worthy Olympic-sized pool. Better than fiction, not all of it fact, it is a very provocative book and it made Koolhaas one of those few architects that came to some degree of respect first though their writings.

Since then he has designed a number of buildings, many of which make even young designers sick to their stomachs for their brash acrobatics. The most recent of these is the new Prada store in New York, whose undulations are the product of years of economic and material research falling under his "Projects for Prada" campaign. The Educatorium for the Utrecht campus in the Netherlands won Koolhaas the coveted Pritzker prize (the Oscar of architecture) in 2000. Even still, some of his most successful work remains theoretical. He writes like a cracked-out Wittgenstein doing a Thomas Pynchon impression. Thus was conceived "Junkspace", which can be found in the Spring 2002 edition of the October journal put out by MIT Press, but only at the risk of confounding your mental health.

Koolhaas has also secured himself a position at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), while opening multiple offices in New York and Rotterdam, most notably the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), and keeping a mistress in northern Europe. He is described as charismatic and hyper-articulate. For these reasons Rem Koolhaas can get away with suggesting, as an answer to the design problem of expanding Harvard's campus across Boston's Charles river, that the river itself be moved to accommodate this transformation. Sure people call him an asshole under their breath, but no one calls him a pussy.

A couple of years ago I attended a lecture/discussion given by Lars Spuybroek from NOX and Winy Maas of MVRDV. It was chaired by the author of 'SuperDutch', Bart Lootsma. His book discusses the history of Dutch architecture.

The pragmatism required for land reclamation, the self-assessment that has occurred through the forces of internationalization, a history of welfare state politics, its cultural institutions, the cautious nature with which it approaches economic success, and the growing culture of public consultation are all cited by Lootsma as instrumental in forming the present Dutch architectural attitude.

Also examined in the book are the influences of Rem Koolhaas' approach to undertaking research and theoretical work and the financial support provided to upcoming students by the Dutch government.

It's widely recognised that Koolhaas is the Father of contemporary Dutch architecture. This is partly because of the influence his work has over his peers; but also because many of the Netherlands' new practices are started by ex-employees of his office. Winy Maas from MVRDV is one such example. During the lecture, to demonstrate the importance of Koolhaas' work in Dutch architecture, Lars Spuybroek proposed that;

"There are two forms of postgraduate architectural education in the Netherlands - the grant system and Rem."

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.