Koolhaas and metabolist movement - Essay Example

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Rem Koolhaas - born in Rotterdam in 1944 defines his work as 'a chaotic adventure' that depends on forces and realities beyond his control. His buildings are minimalist as he does not design more than he has to. His buildings are thus episodic, multipurpose and improvised…
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Download file to see previous pages architecture's most-reproduced forms and structures: the giraffe-legged Villa dall'Ava in suburban Paris, one of the greatest buildings of the late twentieth century, and the stupendous fishnet-steel-and-glass-covered Seattle Public Library, which opened in 2004.
Some of his best works in Europe are the master plan and Grand Palais for Lille, France which is his largest realized urban planning project; a residence in Bordeaux, France; the Educatorium, a multifunction building for Utrecht University in the Netherlands; and the Kunsthal, providing exhibition space, a restaurant and auditoriums in Rotterdam. The Bordeaux house is one of his most important works and was named as Best Design of 1998 by Time magazine. It was designed to fill the needs of a couple whose old house was problematic to the old man as had been confined to a wheel chair due to an accident. Koolhaas proposed a home in three parts with the lowest part having a series of caverns carved out from the hill. While the top part is divided into spaces for the couple, and spaces for their children. The middle part is an invisible glass room that is a vertically moving platform functioning as an elevator allowing the old man access to all levels.
In the 1950s, the Japanese Metabolists proposed giant mega-structures as an answer to the ever-growing problem of overcrowding in their cities. These architects came up with innovative designs of floating cities and giant prefabricated "plug-in" living cells that could be inserted into skyscrapers. But due to the scale and reality constraints Metabolist vision could not be realized completely. They regarded the city as an organic process that featured some of the innovative concepts such as marine civilization, artificial terrain, and metabolic cycle....
Koolhaas was fond of the "Megastructure" concept. This is basically a large size building or plan meant for urban improvement. His company OMA applied Megastructure for its designs for a vast complex of shops, housing, and offices, together with a railway station, in Lille, France or Lille Masterplan.Metabolists used the concept of the natural flows of air, water, and people in cities. They conceptualized biomorphic mega structures capturing and materializing urban flows. In 1961, Kenzo Tange’s studio proposed a plan for Tokyo Bay that clearly illustrates the principles of metabolism. The project comprised of a spine, or trunk, and an array of branches and leaves that together formed a clear tree-like structure. In the same year, Kurokawa produced a series of utopian projects inspired by biological forms and a process of growth representing that of living cells. At the same period, Isosaki developed his project “City in the Air” as a system of urban intersections and interconnections in the air, providing a grand structure supported by infrastructural trunks, like a forest of trees. Each trunk affords commercial and residential plugins like those found in Peter Cook’s “Plug-in City”. Metabolist architecture shows a tilt towards the evolutive, and irreversible, development of cities. Their projects were inspired by the natural movements of air, water, corporeal fluids and plants, but had a very formal and functional conception of urbanism. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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