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Rem Koolhaas and Álvaro Siza in Asia: An Architectural Comparison

Journal: Athens Journal of Architecture (Vol.1, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 221-236

Keywords : Rem Koolhaas; Álvaro Siza; Asian Architecture; Design Strategy; Management Strategy;

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Rem Koolhaas (1944- ) and Álvaro Siza (1933- ) are two of the most significant living architects in contemporary architecture. They have been devoted to architectural creation for a long period of time and produced a great number of works of high quality and originality. It is not surprising that Koolhaas and Siza came to Asia for architectural practice in 2002 and 2005, respectively. In the past few decades, research on Koolhaas’ and Siza’s architectural works mainly focused on their works in Europe and America. Although there were some individual reports on Koolhaas’ and Siza’s activities and works in Asia, they lacked of systematic investigation and analysis, not to mention cross region comparisons. Being highly respected, the modification and/or transformation of their design ideas, thinking, processing, and making, i.e. their architectural strategies including design strategies and management strategies for Asian cultures and regions constitute important sources for exploration in the architectural history and theory. After the investigation on Siza’s architectural works in Asia (Liou, 2012, 2013, 2014a, 2014b), the present study attempts to extend the accumulated experiences and analyse the work of Koolhaas as a case subject, and furthermore to conduct comparative analysis on the style and design of the two architects. Specifically, in this paper, Koolhaas’ design strategies and management strategies for his Asian architectural works are studied. His design strategies include OMA’s design process, public urban space, architectural typology (high-rise building and theater), skin material, and plane material. The management strategies consist of OMA’s partnership, network of international collaboration and Asian strategy. Finally, the design strategies and management strategies of Koolhaas’ and Siza’s are compared. It might be argued that the architectural strategies employed by Koolhaas and Siza constitute the two ends of the spectrum for those western architects who came to Asia for practice; some architects like Zaha Hadid and MVRDV are closer to Koolhaas and some like Vittorio Gregotti and Steven Holl are closer to Siza.

Last modified: 2015-08-16 14:09:22