OMA. Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is an international practice operating within the traditional boundaries of architecture and urbanism. AMO, a research and design studio, applies architectural thinking to domains beyond. OMA is led by eight partners – Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf, Ellen van Loon, Shohei Shigematsu, Iyad Alsaka, Chris van Duijn, Jason Long, and Managing Partner-Architect David Gianotten – and maintains offices in Rotterdam, New York, Hong Kong, Doha, and Australia. OMA-designed buildings currently under construction are the renovation of Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Berlin, The Factory in Manchester, Hangzhou Prism, the CMG Times Center in Shenzhen and the Simone Veil Bridge in Bordeaux.
OMA’s completed projects include Taipei Performing Arts Centre (2022), Audrey Irmas Pavilion in Los Angeles (2020), Norra Tornen in Stockholm (2020), Axel Springer Campus in Berlin (2020), MEETT Toulouse Exhibition and Convention Centre (2020), Galleria in Gwanggyo (2020), WA Museum Boola Bardip (2020), nhow RAI Hotel in Amsterdam (2020), a new building for Brighton College (2020), and Potato Head Studios in Bali (2020). Earlier buildings include Fondazione Prada in Milan (2018), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2015), De Rotterdam (2013), CCTV Headquarters in Beijing (2012), Casa da Música in Porto (2005), and the Seattle Central Library (2004).
AMO often works in parallel with OMA's clients to fertilize architecture with intelligence from this array of disciplines. This is the case with Prada: AMO's research into identity, in-store technology, and new possibilities of content-production in fashion helped generate OMA's architectural designs for new Prada epicenter stores in New York and Los Angeles. In 2004, AMO was commissioned by the European Union to study its visual communication, and designed a colored "barcode" flag, combining the flags of all member states, which was used during the Austrian presidency of the EU. AMO has worked with Universal Studios, Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, Heineken, Ikea, Condé Nast, Harvard University and the Hermitage. It has produced Countryside: The Future, a research exhibited at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; exhibitions at the Venice Architecture Biennale, including Public Works (2012), Cronocaos (2010), and The Gulf (2006); and for Fondazione Prada, including When Attitudes Become Form (2012) and Serial and Portable Classics (2015). AMO, with Harvard University, was responsible for the research and curation of the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale and its publication Elements. Other notable projects are Roadmap 2050, a plan for a Europe-wide renewable energy grid; Project Japan, a 720-page book on the Metabolism architecture movement (Taschen, 2010); and the educational program of Strelka Institute in Moscow.
Rem Koolhaas was born in Rotterdam in 1944. He began his career as a journalist, working for the Haagse Post, and as a set-designer in the Netherlands and Hollywood. He beganHe frequented the Architectural Association School in London and studied with Oswald Mathias Ungers at Cornell University. In 1978, he wrote Delirious New York: a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan, which has become a classic of contemporary architectural theory. In 1975 – together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp – he founded OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture).
The most important works by Koolhaas and OMA, from its foundation until the mid-1990s, include the Netherlands Dance Theatre at The Hague, the Nexus Housing at Fukuoka in Japan, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Grand Palais of Euralille and Lille, the Villa dall’Ava, the Très Grande Bibliothèque, the Jussieu library in Paris, the ZKM in Karlsruhe and the Seattle Public Library.
Together with Koolhaas’s reflections on contemporary society, these buildings appear in his second book, S,M,L,XL (1995), a volume of 1376 pages written as though it were a “novel about architecture”. Published in collaboration with the Canadian graphic designer, Bruce Mau, the book contains essays, manifestos, cartoons and travel diaries.
In 2005, with Mark Wigley and Ole Bouman, he was the founder to the prestigious Volume magazine, the result of a collaboration with Archis (Amsterdam), AMO and C-lab (Columbia University NY).
His built work includes the Qatar National Library and the Qatar Foundation Headquarters (2018), Fondation Galeries Lafayette in Paris (2018), Fondazione Prada in Milan (2015/2018), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2015), the headquarters for China Central Television (CCTV) in Beijing (2012), Casa da Musica in Porto (2005), Seattle Central Library (2004), and the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin (2003). Current projects include the Taipei Performing Arts Centre, a new building for Axel Springer in Berlin, and the Factory in Manchester.
Koolhaas directed the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale and is a professor at Harvard University, where he directs The Project on the City, a research programme on changes in urban conditions around the world. This programme has conducted research on the delta of the Pearl River in China (entitled Great Leap Forward) and on consumer society (The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping). Taschen Verlag has published the results. Now is preparing a major exhibition for the Guggenheim museum to open in 2019 entitled Countryside: Future of the World.
Among the awards he has won in recent years, we mention here the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize (2000), the Praemium Imperiale (2003), the Royal Gold Medal (2004) and the Mies Van Der Rohe prize (2005). In 2008, Time mentioned him among the 100 most influential people of the planet.
Ellen van Loon
Ellen van Loonjoined OMA in 1998 and became Partner in 2002. She has led award-winning building projects that combine sophisticated design with precise execution. Recently completed projects led by Ellen include the shop-in-shops for Jacquemus at Galeries Lafayette and Selfridges (2022), the temporary showroom in Doha and store on Avenue de Montaigne in Paris for Tiffany & Co. (2022-23), Monumental Wonders exhibition for SolidNature in Milan (2022). Bvlgari Fine Jewelry Show (2021), Brighton College (2020), BLOX / DAC in Copenhagen (2018), Rijnstraat 8 in The Hague (2017), and Lab City CentraleSupélec (2017). Other projects in her portfolio include Fondation Galeries Lafayette (2018) in Paris; Qatar National Library (2017); Amsterdam’s G-Star Raw Headquarters (2014); De Rotterdam, the largest building in the Netherlands (2013); CCTV Headquarters in Beijing (2012); New Court Rothschild Bank in London (2011); Maggie’s Centre in Glasgow (2011); Casa da Musica in Porto (2005) – winner of the 2007 RIBA Award; and the Dutch Embassy in Berlin (2003) – winner of the European Union Mies van der Rohe Award in 2005. Ellen is currently working on The Factory Manchester – a large performing arts venue for the city; the renovation of Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) Berlin – Europe’s biggest department store – and the design of Lamarr, a new department store in Vienna; and the Palais de Justice de Lille.