Author(s): Rem Koolhaas
A global overview on architecture seen through the history of the last 100 years. The emphasis of the 2014 Biennale is on architectural history. Each country will be asked to narrate its own one over the last one hundred years in relation to the idea of modernity, whether it was accepted or rejected. One hundred years ago it was possible to talk about national architecture but this is no longer the case. Why have we reached a situation in which we all build the same things? In 1914 we could meaningfully speak about Chinese, Swiss, or Indian architecture. One hundred years later, under the pressure of many factors-war, various political regimes, multiple conditions of development, architectural movements, individual talents, chance, personal paths and technological developments-architecture that was once specific and local has become interchangeable and global. National identity seems to have been sacrificed on the altar of modernity. This is the real issue that everyone invited to the Biennale is called on to address.
Rem Koolhaas, Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Biennale Architettura 2010, and Pritzker Prize in 2000, founded OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) in 1975 together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp. Recently completed OMA buildings led by Koolhaas include the new headquarters for China Central Television in Beijing, a new headquarters for Rothschild Bank in London, the Wyly Theatre, Dallas, and Milstein Hall, an extension to Cornell's College of Architecture, Art and Planning.