Essays on the History of Ideas
Rem Koolhaas has been part of the international avant-garde since the nineteen-seventies and has been named the Pritzker Architecture Prize for the year 2000. This book, which builds on six canonical Koolhaas projects, traces the discursive practice behind the design methods used by Koolhaas and his office OMA. It uncovers recurring key themes—such as wall, void, montage, trajectory, infrastructure, and shape—that have structured this design discourse over the span of Koolhaas's oeuvre. The book moves beyond the six core pieces, as well: It explores how these identified thematic design principles manifest in other works by Koolhaas as both practical re-applications and further elaborations.
In addition to Koolhaas's individual genius, these textual and material layers are accounted for shaping the very context of his work's relevance. By comparing the design principles with relevant concepts from the architectural Zeitgeist in which Koolhaas has operated, the study moves beyond its specific subject—Rem Koolhaas—and provides novel insight into the broader history of architectural ideas.
Published with the generous support of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).
Despite the prominence and notoriety of Rem Koolhaas … there is not a single piece of scholarly writing coming close to the … length, to the intensity, or to the methodological rigor found in the manuscript by Ingrid Böck… (Ole W. Fischer, University of Utah, Salt Lake City)
… an innovative and comprehensive analysis of all existing interpretative frameworks of the work of Rem Koolhaas. (Albena Yaneva, University of Manchester)
… an excellent exploration that could pave the way for an advanced study of … recent architectural history. (Carsten Ruhl, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)
Even for a reader familiar with the literature on architecture theory, Ingrid Böck's book offers countless fresh observations and intriguing new associations. (Kari Jormakka (†), Vienna University of Technology)