Koolhaas Lecture at the Strelka Institute – Bilbao as a turning point?

Koolhaas Lecture[1] introducing the 2010-2011 research themes at the Strelka Institute.

This is a quite interesting lecture for many reasons. Although it might be worth doing it, I am not going to comment on the whole lecture. I would simply like to emphasize one point Koolhaas makes. He suggests that the Bilbao Museum can be seen as a turning point for Architecture “not serving civilization anymore”. I have always felt quite uncomfortable with this museum, thinking there was something fundamentally wrong with it. The fact that a work of Architecture is hardly discussed in its spatial qualities but mainly in its image qualities could be taken as a “proof” for the radical transformation taking place in the field. There are other problems that I see with recent “Gehry’s” in general. I believe they are incapable of aging. This is quite obvious with the pavilion that he created for Chicago’s Millennium Park (just next to the Kapoor that Koolhaas shows in the lecture as well). It cannot deal with dents and stains — the wrinkles that happen to architecture. Nevertheless, I am unsure if the Bilbao Museum is correctly described as a turning point. It made apparent — perhaps for the first time —  the forces of the global market as forces of transformation in Architecture. The transformation has been going on for a much longer time already.

Koolhaas - Collage from the lecture at Strelka

A collage by Rem Koolhaas, taken from the Strelka Lecture. Featuring among others the CCTV headquarters by OMA







In any case, for those who do not fear self criticism (see left) Strelka might be an interesting place for further studies. Recent graduates and young professionals may apply. The deadline for completing the application form and submitting the other materials is August 10, 2011. The program is fully funded, i.e. whoever is admitted receives a stipend. Accommodation is provided as well.

[1]Thanks to Salvatore Iaconesi for pointing to this lecture.

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