REM KOOLHAAS COFOUNDED the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 1975. He is also the founder of AMO, an architectural think tank and consulting firm. His projects include the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Guggenheim in Las Vegas, and the Prada store in New York. He has won several international awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2000. Koolhaas is Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard Design School, and author of S,M,L,XL (1995) with Bruce Mau and Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan(1978). He was the subject of the retrospective exhibition, Rem Koolhaas and the Place of Public Architecture, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1995.
Our old ideas about space have exploded. The past three decades have produced more change in more cultures than any other time in history. Radically accelerated growth, deregulation, and globalization have redrawn our familiar maps and reset the parameters: Borders are inscribed and permeated, control zones imposed and violated, jurisdictions declared and ignored, markets pumped up and punctured. And at the same time, entirely new spatial conditions, demanding new definitions, have emerged.
Where space was considered permanent, it now feels transitory – on its way to becoming. The words and ideas of architecture, once the official language of space, no longer seem capable of describing this proliferation of new conditions. But even as its utility is questioned in the real world, architectural language survives, its repertoire of concepts and metaphors resurrected to create clarity and definition in new, unfamiliar domains (think chat rooms, Web sites, and firewalls). Words that die in the real are reborn in the virtual.
So, for this special issue of Wired, we at AMO have invited a cadre of writers, researchers, critics, and artists to report on the world as they see it. What follows are 30 spaces that fall into three rough clusters: waning spaces once celebrated, now hemorrhaging aura; contested spaces, continuously refined by the battles for their dominion; and new spaces, only recently understood as space at all. Together they form the beginning of an inventory, a fragment of an image, a pixelated map of an emerging world.