Rem Koolhaas

MAARTJE GEELS / HOLLANDSE HOOGTE

STEALING BEAUTY: Koolhaas creates new order from urban "junk space"

Neuroscience has a catchphrase: "consciousness lags behind reality." What this means is that perceptions take a split second to be absorbed down the brain's neural pathways. But this rule doesn't seem to apply to Rem Koolhaas. The Dutch-born architect-polemicist appears to outpace reality, to identify the emerging patterns of modern life before they are fully formed — and certainly before the rest of us wake up to them. For instance, it was Koolhaas, in his 1978 book Delirious New York, who deciphered what he called Manhattan's "culture of congestion." At a time when cities were in bad odor, especially that one,...

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