Reinier de Graaf. Reinier de Graaf joined OMA in 1996. He is responsible for building and masterplanning projects in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, including Holland Green in London (completed 2016), the new Timmerhuis in Rotterdam (completed 2015), G-Star Headquarters in Amsterdam (completed 2014), De Rotterdam (completed 2013), and the Norra Tornen residential towers in Stockhol...read more
Cover. Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession by Reinier de Graaf
Releasing Reinier de Graaf’s book Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession, published by Harvard University Press. Consisting of a collection of essays, the book brings together Reinier de Graaf’s thoughts about architecture in the 21st century as well as accounts of some of his own tragicomic experiences in the field.
In Four Walls and a Roof, published by Harvard University Press, Reinier de Graaf reveals the world of contemporary architecture in vivid snapshots: from suburban New York to the rubble of northern Iraq, from the corridors of wealth in London, Moscow, and Dubai to garbage-strewn wastelands that represent the demolished hopes of postwar social housing. We meet oligarchs determined to translate ambitions into concrete and steel, developers for whom architecture is mere investment, and the layers of politicians, bureaucrats, consultants, and mysterious hangers-on who lie between any architectural idea and the chance of its execution.
Architecture, we like to believe, is an elevated art form that shapes the world as it pleases. Four Walls and a Roof challenges this notion, presenting a candid account of what it is really like to work as an architect. During Urban Books, De Graaf shares his views on the complexities of architecture’s relationship to developers, politicians, bureaucrats, and consultants. Drawing on his own tragicomic experiences in the field he discusses the key factors defining this complex nature of a simple profession, from suburban New York to the rubble of northern Iraq.
Four Walls and a Roof tells the story of a profession buffeted by external forces that determine – at least as much as individual inspiration – what architects design. Perhaps the most important myth debunked is success itself. To achieve anything, architects must serve the powers they strive to critique, finding themselves in a perpetual conflict of interest. Together, architects, developers, politicians, and consultants form an improvised world of contest and compromise that none alone can control.
The launch for Four Walls and a Roof will take place on Friday, October 6 in Amsterdam at Pakhuis de Zwijger at 8 pm.