Rem Koolhass tells us that Dubai, Russia, and China are the places to watch for forthcoming trends in architecture
Urbanist, architect, and architectural theorist, Rem Koolhass is a very excited man. Voted as one of the world’s 100 most influential people earlier this year, he is a man not shy to expound on his thoughts in the world of design and trends.
In a recent interview with Der Spiegel Koolhaas waxes eloquent on trends in architecture, on why sustainability is an empty catchword, and on what he wants to achieve with Dubai.
Koolhaas on where the future of architecture lies:
As far as the experience of building goes, the strongest impulse will undoubtedly come from China and the Middle East, and probably from India, as well. Things get more complex when it comes to thinking. The intellectual force of the West is still dominant, but other cultures are getting stronger. I expect that we will develop a new way of thinking in architecture and urban planning, and that less will be based on our models. There are many young, good architects in China. The unanswered question is whether our cooperation, this internationalization, will result in a common language of architecture, whether we will speak two different languages or whether there will be a mixture of the two.
Koolhass’s “Educatorium” building in Utrecht, The Netherlands
Koolhaas on “sustainability”:
Because it’s become an empty formula, and because, for that reason, it’s getting harder and harder to think about ecology without becoming ironic. On the other hand, there is of course a benefit to the label of sustainability being so popular today. We have long been trying to build in such a way that we can manage without air-conditioning as much as possible, by avoiding unnecessary exposure to direct sunlight and by creating a mass that provides shade. There was hardly any interest in this in the past, whereas today customers pay for it.
My goal is to establish a section of the city in Dubai that is a true metropolis. That includes, most of all, a true public space — not the caricature of a public space, meaning shopping malls. I am very grateful to the government in Dubai for the fact that we will have a court there, hospitals and the terminus stations for two subway lines. In other words, this space will have a recognizable identity: ingredients of what characterizes Dubai, but also a real urban life …