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REM KOOLHAAS Named 2007 McBean Distinguished Lecturer at SFAI

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Lecture date: Wednesday 2.28.07
7:30pm, SFAI Lecture Hall
free and open to the public*

SFAI is pleased to announce visionary architect Rem Koolhaas as the recipient of the 2007 McBean Distinguished Lectureship. "There is little question that Rem Koolhaas is one of the most influential architects of the last 20 years," said Nicolai Ouroussoff, critic for The Los Angeles Times. His cool analytic approach to design, sprinkled with a healthy skepticism, has informed the profession to an extent that his influence can be found in the work of most young architects today. Koolhaas has achieved the stature of both intellectual cult idol and international celebrity.

His writing gained him recognition early in his career; later the combination of architecture, urban planning, research, and writing established his reputation. He has been termed a modernist, a deconstructivist, and a humanist, and in many ways his work can be seen as a search for a link between technology and humanity. Koolhaas was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2000.


He began his career as a journalist with Haagse Post in The Hague, and later worked as a screenwriter in the Netherlands and Hollywood. In 1968 he enrolled at the Architecture Association School in London. He later studied with O. M. Ungers at Cornell University and then became a visiting Fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York. It was while in New York that he wrote Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, hailed by critics as a classic text on modern architecture and society. Koolhaas has described the book as "an exploration of the culture of congestion." The book was re-released in 1994 to coincide with an exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Rem Koolhaas and the Place of Public Architecture.

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) was founded by Koolhaas in London in 1975, in collaboration with Madelon Vriesendorp and Elia and Zoe Zenghelis. In 1995, his book S,M,L,XL, produced in collaboration with Canadian designer Bruce Mau, summarized the work of OMA. Described as a novel about architecture, the book combines photos, plans, fiction, cartoons, essays, and random thoughts with work produced by OMA, making connections between contemporary society and architecture.

Currently, Koolhaas heads the work of OMA and AMO—the conceptual branch of OMA that focuses on social, economic, and technological developments and the exploration of territories beyond architectural and urban concerns. Projects of OMA and AMO in 2006 included the Qatar Education City; a business and residential tower in Dubai; a redevelopment project in Seoul, Korea; the Danish Architecture Center in Copenhagen; the Riga Contemporary Art Museum and the Riga Harbor Redevelopment Plan in Latvia; masterplans for Ras al-Khaimah (UAE), Dubai, and Kuwait City; the Binckhorst Masterplan in Den Haag, Netherlands; the Serpentine Gallery, London (with Cecil Balmond); a residential tower in Singapore; and Milstein Hall, Cornell University, New York.

Rem Koolhaas is a professor at Harvard University where he conducts the Project on the City, a student-based research group that is studying different issues affecting the urban condition.
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