Tonight Rem Koolhaas will kick off the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas with a keynote that will introduce the major themes behind the festival as well as those at work in his exhibition “Cronocaos,” which debuted last year at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Koolhass and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) have been obsessed with the past ever since he co-founded it in 1975. “Cronocaos” is as much a retrospective of some of the firm’s most important work as it is a frank look at the ongoing struggle of preservation in architecture and urbanism in general. “Through our respect for the past,” Koolhass says, “heritage is becoming more and more the dominant metaphor for our lives todays – a situation called Cronocaos. We are trying to find what the future of our memory will look like.”
The Casa de Musica in Portugal
The Architecture exhibition at this year’s Venice Biennale doesn’t open until late August, but Rem Koolhass has already been announced the winner of the Gold Lion for Lifetime Achievement, the Biennale’s top prize. Koolhaas’ work focuses on “the exchanges between people in space,” said Biennale chairman Paolo Baratta in a reflection on the theme “People Meet in Architecture.” Certainly the structures designed by Koolhass and his partners at OMA (The Office for Metropolitan Architecture) encourage, if not demand attention from their inhabitants. Take the Casa Da Musica in Portugal, one in a series of concert halls designed specifically to “escape the domination of the ‘shoe-box’ concert hall” shape by restructuring the interior layout and including intimate, unexpected spaces for human interaction in contrast to the vastness of the hall itself and the magnitude of the National Orchestra of Porto.