It's shaped like a trade paperback book, but its hellzapoppin pages look like a glossy, madcap magazine. Really, Content
is more like an explosion in an idea factory, or a wild party thrown by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas in a mood considerably more delirious than his classic 1978 manifesto Delirious New York
. It has 70 or 80 sections that look like magazine articles, and they're loosely organized in geographical order, from west to east. Pieces on Koolhaas's projects for Prada and MCA/Universal in LA and the acclaimed Seattle Public Library lead to syncopated meditations on Guggenheim Las Vegas, Chicago's van der Rohe "Miestakes," a modest plan to save Cambridge from Harvard by rechanneling the Charles River, Lagos' future as Earth's third-biggest town, the Hermitage's strange Russian past, Shanghai's Expo 2010, and Asia's skyscrapers, which now outnumber those of the West. When Koolhaas interviews Martha Stewart and gets a Las Vegas update from Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, it's straightforward, but many pages are as mystifying as hallucinations--apropos of nothing, a woman is depicted leaving her infrared heat signature on a tombstone, and Vermeer paintings are paired with scenes from TV's Big Brother
. You don't read Content
in linear fashion, you page through it amazed, gradually acquiring Koolhaas' ultracultivated taste for the bizarre. --Tim Appelo
""Content is a follow-up to SMLXL, an inventory of seven years of OMA's tireless labor. In many ways it is structured according to what its predecessor is not--dense, cheap, disposable....""