An underground mound connects the lower and upper levels, creating the height necessary for an auditorium, as well as open space. â€œIt was the least amount of effort for the most amount of different conditions,â€ Mr. Koolhaas said, referring to the range of activities the building will accommodate. â€œWe didnâ€™t want to have a massive presence, but nevertheless a strong presence.â€
The building will be a low and luminous form, a contemporary flourish in an otherwise traditional context. â€œWe didnâ€™t want to do a literal masterpiece, but an almost mysterious single beam of modernity,â€™â€™ said Shohei Shigematsu, the firmâ€™s senior associate on the project.
Mr. Koolhaas said: â€œThe box is always an isolated thing. But here, we use the box as a connector. You could say itâ€™s a postmodern use of the box.â€
He said he had entered the â€œapparent warfare between blob and boxâ€ in contemporary architecture, and that he was "trying to short-circuit that dialectic.â€
- Old Master
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The article reads in places like one of those random spam messages that almost makes sense, a bit like this one from a recent thread on Archiseek:
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Interesting how the article refers to a 43,000 sg ft, $40 million building as 'understated' too.
This isn't to say that Koolhaas/OMA doesn't produce good work. But I'm reminded of Roger Scruton's comment, from 'The Aesthetics of Architecture' (1979, p.269, n.9, for the curious):
...architectural theory is usually the gesture of a practical man unused to words, attempting to rationalise with hindsight something which he understood intuitively only while seeing it done...
- Old Master
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I, for one, thoroughly enjoy watching blob and box kick the living shit out of one another and therefore find Koolhaas's attempts to disarm the "warfare" between them alarming in the extreme.
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Asked if there is a certain contribution he aspires to make: "It's very simple and it has nothing to do with identifiable goals. It is to keep thinking about what architecture can be, in whatever form. That is an answer, isn't it? I think that S,M,L,XL has one beautiful ambiguity: it used the past to build a future and is very adamant about giving notice that this is not the end. That's how it felt to me, anyway. That is in itself evidence of a kind of discomfort with achievement measured in terms of identifiable entities, and an announcement that continuity of thinking in whatever form, around whatever subject, is the real ambition." —interview in Index Magazine, 2000
Does this make any sense to anyone?
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