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Architecture and Empire

Hal Foster


Hal Foster explores some of the studies of Koolhaas. He notes that Koolhaas'
manifesto about New York means a visionary change. Koolhaas explores important
problems and aspects of the metropolis as the importance of the commercial spaces
and how they affect the urban and the suburban space and the way people life and
behave; the urban grid as speculation method or the New York's skyscraper
understood as cities that are found within the city (as a vertical extension of the
contradictory forces of the metropolis). Foster also highlights how the first stages of
Koolhas were characterized by an inclination, a strategic renewal, against utopianisms
and reactionary positions.

As Foster says the late 70s has been the acme of postmodern architecture but urban
schemes are discredited and New York is bankrupt. The delirious New York emerges in
a time dominated by two opposed models of urban proposals; the Krier brothers,
insisting on a return to the historical quarter, as the basis of planning in Europe and on
the other hand Robert Venturi, whose work eventually embrace the US trade trend.

Koolhaas rejected the historicist reactionarism followed by the Krier brothers and the
trade populism of Venturi. He followed a different way of approaching modernity as as
prototype for a renewed modernity; the American way of approaching modernism,
following Hood and Harrison concepts since they had not the same bad reputation as
the European trend. Koolhaas, using the pragmatic example of New York, takes a new
way of modernization of architecture to Europe; with these guidelines Koohass
participates in the grand projets of Europe of the 80s.

Hal Foster Architecture and Empire
Paolo Colosso A Modernidade de Nova York Segundo Rem Koolhaas