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.
He has overseen AMO’s increasing involvement in sustainability and energy planning, including Zeekracht: a strategic masterplan for the North Sea; the publication in 2010 of Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Europe with the European Climate Foundation; and The Energy Report, a global plan for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, with the WWF.
De Graaf has worked extensively in Moscow, overseeing OMA’s proposal to design the masterplan for the Skolkovo Centre for Innovation, the ‘Russian Silicon Valley,’ and leading a consortium which proposed a development concept for the Moscow Agglomeration: an urban plan for Greater Moscow. He recently curated two exhibitions, On Hold at the British School in Rome in 2011 and Public Works: Architecture by Civil Servants (Venice Biennale, 2012; Berlin, 2013). He is the author of Four Walls and a Roof, The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession.
Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is a leading international partnership practicing architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis. OMA's buildings and masterplans around the world insist on intelligent forms while inventing new possibilities for content and everyday use. OMA is led by ten partners – Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon, Reinier de Graaf, Shohei Shigematsu, Iyad Alsaka, David Gianotten, Chris van Duijn, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Jason Long and Michael Kokora – and maintains offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, Doha and Dubai.
OMA-designed buildings currently under construction include Taipei Performing Arts Centre, Qatar National Library, Qatar Foundation Headquarters, Bibliothèque Multimédia à Vocation Régionale in Caen, Fondation d’Entreprise Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Bryghusprojektet in Copenhagen, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, and Faena Arts Center in Miami.
OMA's recently completed projects include Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2015); Fondazione Prada in Milan (2015); G-Star Headquarters in Amsterdam (2014); Shenzhen Stock Exchange (2013); De Rotterdam, a large mixed-use tower in the Netherlands (2013); CCTV Headquarters in Beijing (2012); New Court, the headquarters for Rothschild Bank in London (2011); Milstein Hall at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York (2011); and Maggie's Centre, a cancer care centre in Glasgow (2011). Earlier buildings include Casa da Música in Porto (2005), Seattle Central Library (2004), and Netherlands Embassy in Berlin (2003).