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Three projects that will change La Défense

An architect imagines a hotel that will generate its...

26/10/2018 Comments (0) Architecture, Culture

Architecture under the microscope

At the age of 73, Dutch star architect Rem Koolhaas publishes an indispensable treatise on the anatomy of buildings. In “Elements of Architecture” (ed. Taschen), he shows us everything that constitutes the foundations of our buildings under a microscope.

If you type “architecture” on Wikipedia and print out all the result pages, you may come close to what Rem Koolhaas’ book proposes. “Elements of Architecture” is a derivative and extension of the reference work presented by the architect of the agency OMA (Rotterdam) at the Biennale of Architecture of Venice in 2014. The purpose of this 2,600-page brick? Place each component – from the window to the stairs, to the terrace – in a global context: where does it come from, what can be done with it, where is it used, and what does the future hold?

Koolhaas, winner of the Pritzker Prize, the Nobel in architecture, ranked among the 100 most influential personalities in the world by Time Magazine in 2008, looks back on the basic building techniques used by architects of all times, from all over the world. In this book, he puts 100 years of architecture on the table and searches its insides like a medical examiner.

A visionary theorist

Koolhaas is the man of the Casa della Musica in Porto and the CCTV Tower in Beijing. A great architectural theorist, he has already renovated a factory in Milan for the Prada collection and a garage in Moscow to turn it into an art centre. Recently, he has also put his paw on Paris with the building of the Galeries Lafayette Foundation for Contemporary Art.

A foundation… or rather a factory, a real laboratory for artists. The seat of Lafayette Anticipations is 840 m2 of exhibition space on a mobile glass tower, embedded in a building whose floors can move vertically thanks to six racks and which can change the configurations of spaces (49 possible configurations) according to the needs of the artists. As in “Elements of Architecture”, this project can be seen as a further manifestation of the Dutch architect’s interest in machines and materials. Sublime and rewarding.

“Elements of Architecture” by Rem Koolhaas, 2,600 pages, editions Taschen. www.taschen.com
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