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Thread: Neither Modernism Nor Historicism - Remment "Rem" Koolhaas

  1. #16

    Default IIT Student Center - 3

    McCormick Tribune Campus Centre at IIT
    The (Exelon) Tube - Part 2

    LEFT PHOTO – Reverse Angle of Last Picture in Previous Post

    RIGHT PHOTO – View of Koolhaas building from inside Jahn building

    left - flickr / ula_k © all rights reserved; right - Courtesy IIT Education

    South End of Koolhaas Building and Tube

    North End of Koolhaas Building and Tube

    top row - © Flickr / pntphoto, zenorschnitzel; second row - © Flickr / archinaut, tomlauerman

  2. #17

    Default IIT Student Center - 4

    McCormick Tribune Campus Centre at IIT
    The (Exelon) Tube - Part 3

    A Glimpse at the Interior of the Tube
    from within an Elevated Train

    top row - © Flickr / thirdrail; second row - © Flickr / stevevance

    What happens when ...
    the Tube's Exterior is inside the Interior of the Building?

    © Flickr / joethefig

  3. #18

    Default IIT Student Center - 5

    The power of a single page, fold-up brochure. This happens to be the same brochure used in tours of the facility.

    Do not be concerned that you cannot quite see all the detail here. I shall continue to explore a sampling that will flesh out the place, within limitations that always accompany a presentation based on words and images alone.

    I particularly want you to notice the non-subtle use of vibrant colours, and intense overlay of complex floor plans as we gradually aim toward the interior detail. Part of the joy of visiting this place, which cannot be conveyed by these posts, is the sensory overload that makes every corner of the building seem to come alive.

    The McCormick Tribune Campus Centre at IIT

    Official Brochure of Centre


  4. #19


    Rem Koolhaas has written some very interesting stuff (S, M, L, XL is a classic exploration of post-modernity and Delirious New York the first introduction to complexity most get) but his architecture has remained nihilistic and just plain confusing.

  5. #20

    Default IIT Student Center - 6

    The McCormick Tribune Campus Centre at IIT

    Westside of Campus Centre

    Easily the most popular 'nihilistic' destination on campus.
    This is where students most often enter immediately after classes.

    Please note two other aspects:
    the creation of images using tiny pictograms, subcontracted to Michael Rock's Two-By-Four,
    and the fact that opening the door also opens Mies' mouth.
    (The latter, of course, is not a coincidence)

    top left - Courtesy Washington Post; top right, next row centre - © innersource

    Glimpse of Interior beyond the "Mouth" Door

    Interior Wall of IIT Founders, with a Young Mies in left photograph on the far right.
    In the right photograph, which is taken from another angle, the same image of Mies is now highlighted

    left - © Flickr / elryerson85; right - Courtesy Illinois Institute of Technology - Photo Credit: Richard Barnes

    In context of the larger campus: the older Mies is not only playfully on the exterior, but appears to be looking, figuratively, back over his campus creation.

    On the inside, the images of Mies are usually from his youth, before coming to America. The orange and silver and white have more colours and patterns added on that inside, as we shall soon see. And then there are the "Dutch angle" ceilings (forgive me for the pun), that result from the roof, diagonal walkways, and surprising splits between floors, yielding bridges.

    All of that is ahead.

  6. #21

    Default IIT Student Center - 7

    Rem Koolhaas uses interior designer Petra Blaisse to help create unique interior walls, explore surfaces and patterns, and often to translate the colour-coding in plans to the structures. Zebra Walls (see ahead) are one such suggestion by Petra - transluscent and an out-of-the-ordinary design decision.

    The McCormick Tribune Campus Centre at IIT

    Zebra Walls

    © Flickr / suttonhoo

    The Cyber Cafe

    Note that the 'V' shape roof now appears as a plunging ceiling into this space

    © Flickr / fensterbme, MichaelMeiser, numstead

    Conference Rooms in Living Colour

    © Flickr / fensterbme


  7. #22

    Default Kritical Komments # 2


    Vrouw en mevrouw – Rem’s life with two women

    Welcome to the Future

    from the Guardian, UK
    Originally Published 27 August 2007

    … Koolhaas does indeed live at least two lives at once. A tall, wafer-thin man crackling with a quiet energy … he has two homes with two women in two separate cities. In Rotterdam, he shares his life with his partner Petra Blaisse, an interior and garden designer; and, in London, he stays with his wife, the artist Madelon Vriesendorp, with whom he has a son and a daughter …


    © Steve Pyke


  8. #23

    Default IIT Student Center - 8

    One of Rem Koolhaas' collaborators on the IIT project was the brillant Jeanne Gang, who worked on the lobby shown ahead. Earlier in her career, Ms. Gang was tutored by the Dutch Architect at Harvard, where she received the highest honours in completing her degree.

    She was one of a long list of women Architects tutored by Rem Koolhaas that went on to have remarkable careers. Zaha Hadid, for example, was a student of Mr. Koolhaas in London, at the AA - no not that one, but rather the "Architectural Association" School of Architecture. Later, Ms. Hadid worked directly with him, at the firm he co-founded, OMA. She rose to the level of Partner there, before moving out to her own practise.

    You will note with most of these women Architects, that their style did not mimic Rem Koolhaas, nor would he have wanted that to happen. This is what the best tutoring can ultimately accomplish, learning but also independence.

    The McCormick Tribune Campus Centre at IIT

    Lobby Behind "Mouth' Door

    Courtesy SSC / Pablozar

    © Flickr / yusunkwon

    University Club
    for Faculty and VIPs inside Student Centre

    © innersource

    Combination - Ramp, Stairs and Sitting Area in One Place

    © Flickr / fdo h, cyng

    Tube inside is only shown for a specific number of Meters
    The Trains can be Heard but Sound is Reduced
    Note - Super-Large 24-Hour Clock on Right

    © innersource

    © Flickr / pntphoto

  9. #24

    Default IIT Student Center - 9

    De sinaasappel?
    Welke doel?

    Those are my words above, not Rem Koolhaas? Rhetorical of course, just as the dutch I used in the last 'Kritical Komments' insert. A response that might suffice for now, comes from Architecture critic Lynn Becker.

    Mr. Becker spent a number of days inspecting this project, which in turn led to an in depth series of articles. The following is but a small excerpt from that effort, applied to the questions at hand.

    McCormick Tribune Campus Centre at IIT

    Oedipus Rem
    Rem Koolhaas's IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center

    from the Chicago Reader
    Originally Published 26, September 2003

    IV. Rem Koolhaas's IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center

    Orange, the keynote color in the building's palette, is a unifying theme. It's crucial to Koolhaas's concept of a wall of “Miesian interference” that wraps around the facade and faces off against Crown Hall. The black Mies used to paint his steel reflects the qualities of his buildings - elegant, strong, and protecting, but also mysterious and forbidding. Orange is seen almost as its opposite - happy, warm, generous, and invigorating, but also overbearing and superficial.

    Orange “straw glass” dominates the center's northwest corner. … The glass covers the Welcome Center and the entrance, split into two vertical rows of panes, in places the topmost extending above the roofline as a translucent parapet. During the day the space directly inside the windows takes on a marmalade glow. Koolhaas says that though the scale of the center is “very modest” compared to Crown Hall, the orange of his building “somehow brings out the color in the Mies building also - not only by contrast, but also by raising the issue of color. You suddenly see much more color in Mies.”

    Each panel of orange glass consists of two outer panes, between which is a honeycomb wire mesh that during the day bends the outside light into nimbuses of suns and at night sends arcs of headlights coursing across the windows. The same type of “tube core” glass, minus the orange tint, makes up the entrance walls of interior offices. …


    Exterior Use of "Straw Glass"

    © Flickr / thinking outside the box, m a s

    Interior Translation of Orange Tint During Day

    © Flickr / droush16, anselmogz

    Close-up of Orange Mesh - In Glass (left) amd Before Inserted (right)

    © Flickr / tomlauerman, ken mccown

  10. #25

    Default Kritical Komments # 3

    “I do not respect Mies, I love Mies.”

    I do not respect Mies, I love Mies. I have studied Mies, excavated Mies, reassembled Mies. I have even cleaned Mies. Because I do not revere Mies, I’m at odds with his admirers.

    Rem Koolhaas

  11. #26

    Default Maison à Bordeaux - 1

    A newspaper publisher was involved in a car accident. Unfortunately he lost the use of his legs. He and his wife decided to sell their home and move to a townhouse, with their child, He wanted to build a new home to fit his needs, and he sought out several Architects to design such a home. He finally selected Rem Koolhaas for that commission.

    Mr. Koolhaas not only wanted to build a home that was outfitted for a handicapped person - over three levels on a complex hill - he also wanted to rethink how a home could be built if one were to use couterweights and counterposed floors. The late Herbert Muschamp described the result as a "house for the millennium." It was one of the most honoured homes ever built, precisely because of its innovative ideas.

    Rem Koolhaas
    Maison à Bordeaux
    Floriac, Bordeaux France

    Contrary to what you would expect. I do not want a simple house. I want a complex house, because the house will define my world.

    Client to Koolhaas

    Weight Balancing with Counterweight
    to move an entire Study room up or down
    like an Open-Ended Lift

    © LAVA / OMA / Koolhaas

    Collage on Planning
    Maison à Bordeaux

    Courtesy Archinect: © MIT / OMA / Koolhaas

    Site Plan for a Terraced Hilltop
    with slightly more detail

    © LAVA / OMA / Koolhaas

    One of Several 3D Models to test counterbalance for Lift/Elevator

    Courtesy Archinect: © MIT / OMA / Koolhaas

    Final 3D Model with
    moving parts

    Courtesy SSC Avantgarde Architecture - The Netherlands / eribourb

  12. #27

    Default Maison à Bordeaux - 2


    Maison à Bordeaux

    © Experimental Houses by Nicolas Pople

    left - © LAVA / OMA / Koolhaas; right - Courtesy Art’chitecture

    © OMA / Rem Koolhaas

  13. #28

    Default Maison à Bordeaux - 3

    Rem Koolhaas created ten years ago one of the most amazing houses in the planet: the Maison à Bordeaux. This house is a wonder of engineering with moving walls, lifting bedrooms, platforms, and automated windows designed to allow complete free movements to its owner, a man who has to move on a wheelchair after an almost-fatal car accident.

    Jesus Diaz

    Unfortunately I cannot as yet show the moving walls and automated windows, but I can give you two views of the lift/elevator - designed to move a large portion of the floor. (BTW, the person in the photograph, from what I understand, is the housekeeper. The owner has restricted most photographs of the interior space.)

    Maison à Bordeaux

    Floor Lift/Elevator

    Photograph of Maison à Bordeaux, 1998 © Hans Werlemann (Hectic Pictures)

    Courtesy feedmoo / Copyright gizmodo

  14. #29


    I think these posts by Zephyr are more illustrative (anc CHEAPER!!!) than a lot of architecture books. Good job, man.

  15. #30


    mhelie: "nihilistic and just plain confusing", maybe... but also genuinely stylish ...and for me, that makes up for a lot. I'm willing to play along.

    Kunstler though, sure isn't:

    And yet another take:

    Last edited by Fabrizio; July 1st, 2008 at 07:59 AM.

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