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Koolhaas Rem Bigness 1994

Koolhaas Rem Bigness 1994

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Published by: jako60 on Dec 06, 2011
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01/16/2014

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Bigness or the problem of Large Rem Koolhaas.Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large. Monacelli Press,New York, 1995.
Beyond a certain scale, architecture acquires the proper-ties o Bigness. Te best reason to broach Bigness is theone given by climbers o Mount Everest: “because it isthere.”; Bigness is ultimate architecture.It seems incredible that the size o a building aloneembodies an ideological program, independent o thewill o its architects. O all possible categories, Bignessdoes not seem to deserve a maniesto; discredited as anintelleclual problem, it is apparently on its way to extinc-tion - like the dinosaur-through clumsiness, slowness,inexibility, diculty. But in act, only Bigness instigatesthe regime o complexity that mobilizes the ull intelli-gence o architecture and its related elds.One hundred years ago, a generation o conceptualbreakthroughs and supporting technologies unleashedan architectural Big Bang. By randomizing circulation,short-circuiting distance, articializing interiors, reduc-ing mass, stretching climensions, and accelerating con-struction, the elevator, electricity, air- conditioning, steel,and nally? the new inrastructures ormes a cluster o 
 
mutations that induced another species o architecture.Te combined eects o these inventions were structurestaller and deeper-Bigger-than ever beore conceive, witha parallel potential or the reorganization o the socialworId - a vastly richer programmation.
Teorems
Fuelled initially by the thoughtless energy o the purely quantitative, Bigness has been, or nearly a century, acondition almost without thinkers, a revolution withoutprogram. Delirious New York implied a latent “Teory o Bigness”; based on ve theorems.l. Beyond a certain critical mass, a building becomes aBig Building. Such a mass can no longer be controlledby a single architectural gesture, or even by any com-bination o architectural gestures. Tis impo s sibility triggers the autonomy o its parts, but that is not thesame as ragmentation: the parts remain committed tothe whole.2. Te elevator - with its potential to establish mechani-cal rather than architectural connections-and its amily o related inventions render null and void the classicalrepertoire o architecture. Issues o composition, scale,
 
proportion, detail are now moot. Te “art”; o architec-ture is useless in Bigness.3. In Bigness, the distance between core and envelopeincreases to the point where the acade can no longerreveal what happens inside. Te humanist expectation o “honesty” is doomed: interior and exterior architecturesbecome separate projects, one dealing with theinstabil-ity o programmatic and iconographic needs, the other- agent o clisinormation - oering the city the apparentstability o an object. Where architecture reveals, Bignessperplexes; Bigness transorms the city rom a summationo cortainties into an accumulation o mysteries. Whatyou see-is no longer what you get.4. Trough size alone,-such buildings enter an amoraldomain, beyond good or bad.Teir impact is independ-ent o their quality.5. ogether, all these breaks - with scale, with architec-tura composition, with tradition, with transparency,with ethics - imply the nal, most radical break: Bignessis no longer part o any urban tissue. It exists; at most, itcoexists. {ts subtext is uck context.

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