Spotted at the Rem Koolhaas lecture last night in UCLA’s packed Dickenson (is that the right one?) auditorium: Mr. Brad Pitt. Funnier than seeing Tyler Durden’s twin live and in the flesh (in FDNY hat and leather jacket no less) was the crowd of (mostly) architecture student’s reaction. O My Gawd its Brad Pitt!! Following the lecture he was accosted to sign things and pose as a buddy in several pictures. Perhaps funnier than even that is the reaction to Koolhaas himself – fellow architecture students brought their worn copies of Delirious New York and in one instance a map of Holland (?) for him to sign. Perhaps ladies could get their chests signed too. It seems that OMA/AMO has been unsuccessful in their attempts to thwart the culture of the Star Architect. Even the morning of the lecture, Koolhaas was referred to as the “Britney Spears of architecture” in an otherwise unfortunate review of the LACMA building in the LA Times. So, Pop Star he is then.
The content of the lecture, however, was not quite Pop trash. He provided a peek into how the OMA/AMO split works for them, how it is organized, what each branch is up to lately, and both branches’ struggle to work within what he calls the YES regime: the tight grip of the Market. If you cannot get into OMA’s work in the years after S,M,L,XL then you should at the very least realize the brilliance of AMO.. taking the architecture out of what architects do in order to extend the profession and get paid even when building turns out to be the least viable path to send a client down. Getting paid for thinking and consulting – which we must do as part of any architectural project anyway – puts the architect back into a position of (some) control over the built environment. Being able to separate ones practice from the myths of Art and Creativity are absolutely neccesary in order to pull this off – I think that may be another rant though. Supposedly the first two books from Harvard and AMO’s Project on the City (he confessed in the lecture that it should have been titled the Project on What Used to be the CIty) will be coming out this year.. March or May or something, covering China and Retail respectively. $75 dollars each, I will wager, or higher. Working within the Market indeed.
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