This book is a compilation of essays by a few professionals from different perspectives in considering Rem Koolhaas and his offsprings in the form of OMA and AMO. Some essays are cerebral and filled with so many architectural jargons that towards the end, I said to myself, what the ..? However, some essays had wonderful proses and informative at the same time. I didn't know for a start that Rem was a movie director, script writer, and I also didn't know that he stayed for few years in Asia and his fascination with those Asian countries. Furthermore, there were description of his earlier works which are now having cult following. Anyhow, this book is essentially used to accompany Rem's exhibition. There were also notable essays about his interpretation of Lagos, Nigeria; Rem's perspective of large buildings; Rem's compulsion in doing statistical research to compile those data into useful information which eventually would be used to build buildings to faciliate those information (fulfilling briefs) instead of building 'junk space' and so forth. Ultimately, Rem is someone that defies conventions. He doesn't necessarily build beautiful buildings. Afterall, what is defined as beautiful these days? He is someone that polarises opinion. Either you like him or you hate him. In the end, can Rem be called an enigma? Whilst this book is not for everybody, it is still worth reading to get a feel of what Rem Koolhaas is all about. Be sure to read Rem's own works. Commendable effort.
"What is OMA?" - a collection of writings by varied individuals about Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture - unfortunately amounts to Cliff Notes about the said architect and his design firm.
Admittedly,when I bought "What is OMA?" I thought that the book would be an interesting discussion about the work and theories of Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. The writings either provide glossy insights into individuals' reactions to Rem/OMA or summarize his past writings relative to a current context.
Interest in the Cliff Notes erodes with each consequent writing in a Baudrillardian fashion as the pieces rediscusses theories highlighted in Rem's "S,M,L,XL" and "Delirious New York".
If one is looking for how other individuals look at Rem Koolhaas and OMA, "What is OMA?" may be for you. However, if you want to experience/read Rem Koolhaas and OMA at their best continue to reference books such as "S,M,L,XL" and "Delirious New York".