Thursday, March 01, 2007
Architectural Stackables - Koolhaas in Jersey
Via the AP comes word of Rem Koolhaas's latest project, a 52-story tower mixing condominiums, hotel, and artists' lofts, galleries and retail. "We are creating something slightly more memorable and slightly more energetic,'' Koolhaas is quoted as saying at the unveiling of the design. "What New Jersey lacks is some visible evidence of a new beginning.''
"Slightly" in this case is a pivot point for ironic understatement. 1111 First Street reminds me of the back of my closet, a seemingly random stacking of boxes, in the case of Koolhaas painstakingly engineered to create what looks to be three separate buildings piled perpendicular to each other, giving the visual impression of being perched so precariously that it looks like a single strong gust could topple the whole thing over.
It's a bravura expression, sure to stand out, but it makes me wonder whether Koolhaas is staking out a new uber-mannerism, based on outrageous gestures, increasingly tangential to program, and more about doing something most largely because you've just figured out how you can. Of course, in both Chicago and Seattle, Koolhaas created designs that inspired deep skepticism at their unveiling but ultimately proved enthralling - and programatically astute - when when we could finally encounter them in the flesh. We'll may have to wait for Jersey City to be built before we know whether Koolhaas is just coasting or still moving forward.
(Click on time for permalink) 12:01 AM