Rem Koolhaas


Rem Koolhaas (1944) is undisputedly the most influential and internationally celebrated contemporary Dutch architect.

In 1975, Koolhaas, his wife Madelon Vriesendorp, and Elia and Zoe Zenghelis found the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). The chiefly create fantasy designs that are published in an array of international journals and are acquired for museum collections. The book ‘Delirious New York’, a tribute to Manhattan, is published in 1978.

The first OMA building to be completed in Rotterdam is the green bus station at Stationsplein in 1987; it is demolished in 2004. But the firm comes to prominence with their design for Rotterdam’s Kunsthal (1988-1992). But despite laudatory jury reports and petitions launched by the architecture world, competitions for two vital multi projects, the town hall in The Hague (1986) and the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam (1988), are not awarded to Koolhaas.

Later on, in the Netherlands, OMA realises the Educatorium in Utrecht (1992-1997), the new city centre in Almere and a tram tunnel dogged by leakages in The Hague (1990-2005). The 2001 design for the high-rise apartment block 'De Rotterdam' on the Wilhelmina Pier has been under construction since 2009.

From the 1990s onwards, OMA concentrates its efforts on the international stage. Koolhaas designs the new Dutch Embassy in Berlin (2003). One of their most outstanding recent projects is the Chinese TV headquarters (CCTV) in Beijing. OMA also designs a new flag for the European Community. In 2009, Koolhaas is the first Dutch architect to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the discipline’s version of the Nobel Prize for architecture


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