Andrea Leung + Jeongyeap Shin
– REM KOOLHAAS
“Almost like a textbook, Project Japan reconstructs the history of Metabolism, the last movement that changed architecture.”
THE ORANGE SECTIONS in this book seem to reflect Koolhaas's propensity toward constructing “textbook” histories. The paragraphs are all perfectly aligned, adhering to their uniform margins and conventional layout. This reconstructed history of Metabolism has been edited to read linearly. Both text and timelines track the emergence of Metabolism under Tange, chronologically, until its disappearance twenty-five years later in the “bonfire of neoliberalism.” Indeed, Koolhaas has created yet another retroactive manifesto – this time for the total transformation of an entire country.
Yet how did he decide what to record and what to omit? How did he decide what we, as readers, should remember and what we could forget? Perhaps we need only to flip to the pink sections to catch a glimpse of what past complexities and inconsistencies might have been suppressed to support this grand narrative?
AS MEMORY WEAKENS, VISION IS THE ONLY OPTION, he says.
A vision that can reconstruct disparate aspirations and disjointed musings into a singular polished history?
WHO IS REM KOOLHAAS?
Koolhaas is a Dutch avant-garde architect and paradigm-shifting intellectual, who founded OMA in 1975 together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp. He heads the work of both OMA and AMO, the research branch of OMA, operating in areas beyond the realm of architecture such as media, politics, renewable energy and fashion. Koolhaas is also a professor at Harvard University where he conducts the Project on the City. Koolhaas graduated from the Architectural Association in London. He has won several international awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2000 and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2010 Venice Biennale.