This extraordinary, massive, and mind-boggling 1,300-page book combines essays, manifestos, diaries, fairy tales, travelogues, a cycle of meditations on the contemporary city--and complex illustration--with work produced by Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture over the past twenty years. This almost overwhelming accumulation of words and images illuminates the condition of architecture today--its splendors and miseries--exploring and revealing the corrosive effects of politics, context, the economy, and globalization. In some ways, this is the "Medium is the Message" of 1990s architectural discourse: guaranteed to be hugely influential in the coming decades, but grossly misunderstood by those who have not read it. The core arguments it makes about metropolitan architecture--accepting complexity and lack of centralized control--are similar to those of Kevin Kelly's Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World
. Very highly recommended.
From Publishers Weekly
Koolhaas, Dutch architect, author (Delirious New York) and cult figure, wants architecture to be "a chaotic adventure," and this massive tome certainly is. Created with Toronto-based designer Mau, it's a huge collage splicing freewheeling essays, diary excerpts, photographs, architectural plans, sketches, cartoons and surreal montages of images. There's also a running glossary of Zen-like definitions, plus fables and parables intended to shake modern architects out of conventional thinking and to dispel urban despair. In one essay, Koolhaas admires Japan's metabolist movement, which fuses organic, scientific, mechanistic and romantic vocabularies. That approach seems compatible with his own innovative, eclectic vision as head of the Dutch firm Office of Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.), whose houses, villas, office towers, libraries, colleges, cultural complexes and other projects are showcased here. While some readers may be mystified by a nonlinear hodgepodge, architects, planners and designers will find this frequently outrageous assemblage a provocative repository of ideas. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.