Koolhaas Rem Bigness - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. Koolhaas based it upon five principles: the consideration of Bigness as a quantum of scale in architecture that goes Download full-text PDF. Through a critical analysis of Rem Koolhaas' theory Bigness or the problem of Large1 from his book S, M, L, XL, I have developed a counter argument to the.
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Contact [email protected], +43 Rem Koolhaas – Bigness (or the Metaphor of the Urban) Thomas Helmlinger. Bigness, Scale, Impact, Context, Globalization In his manifesto 1 –that is what the text really is- “Bigness or the problem of the large” (Koolhaas, , a) i, the. Rem Koolhaas' Bigness was a proclamation of its time, an address at the .. smeltitherabpigs.cf
It is the panoply, the range—an inverse metaphor: Bigness is the antithesis to the metaphor.
Koolhaas , pp. By randomizing circulation, short-circuiting distance, artificializing interiors, reducing mass, stretching di- mensions, and accelerating construction, the elevator, electric- ity, air-conditioning, steel, and finally, the new infrastructures formed a cluster of mutations that induced another species of architecture.
The combined effects of these inventions were structures taller and deeper—Bigger—than ever before con- ceived, with a parallel potential for the reorganization of the so- cial worId—a vastly richer programmation. What is implicit in the qualitative becomes explicit in the quantitative.
The semantic space between two opposing notions is to antithetic phrasing as the measuring scale is to the definition of Bigness: Inherent in its very concept, yet not at all a reference for the comprehension of its nature.
The antithesis is a metaphor for Bigness. Encompassing two Cartesian axes of unidimensional implicit meaning, the lin- ear spectra of both metaphorical and antithetic phrasing are merged in one and the same area of explicit tension: that of the Whole and the Real.
Plotting the semantic field between thesis and antithesis—the Whole—on a horizontal axis, while assigning the scope of metaphorical paraphrasing—the Real—to the vertical direction, the information contained in each implicit state- ment may be uniquely located on the resulting coordinate system of imagination. Bigness is a summation, a wide range of implicit concepts each structurally re- lated to a single common reference.
Yet, Bigness is the reference for the range; it is both the unit and the scale, the point, the graph, and the plane. In his writings, Rem Koolhaas not only frequently refers to the nature of lan- guage itself, but also extensively resorts to metaphors and antitheses in order to impart abstract ideas, each implicit paraphrase orbiting its original concept of reference.
Referring to an explicitly implicit concept, his essay Bigness or the Problem of Large contains an entire cloud of implicit characterisations: Metaphorical ex- pression links a wide range of concepts to a single common reference. Yet, Big- ness is itself the range—it is, manifest as a plane, the antithesis to the metaphor.
At the same time, the semantic space between two opposing—antithetic—ideas represents a scale similar to that of size used to implicitly define Bigness. Still, in spite of being inherent in its very concept, measurement does not at all lead to the comprehension of Bigness.
Surprisingly he includes scale amongst the architectural repertoire that has been superseded by the concept of Bigness which is, in fact, based on the principle of scale.
On the occasion of the architect’s birthday, November 17
Of course, it is not the so called human scale understood as a dimensional basic unit of architecture any longer. The construction of a building of dimensions large enough to be included within the Bigness category could not be undertaken without this necessary technological development.
Yet, some further considerations must be taken. It is undoubtedly true that skyscrapers would not exist without the mechanical improvement of the elevator; the history of modern towers is well linked to this invention. Most especially the elevators are an indispensable need in skyscrapers but there are plenty more.
However the staircases cannot be eliminated, in fact they are the only fire escapes really efficient as we sadly know too well after September 11th in New York. In fact, most of the mechanical devices introduced in architecture may fail at any time —it is part of their mechanical limitations-, whereas architectural devices, in their stasis, are almost permanent and thus, although limited, always work.
Bigness has produced two main types of buildings: towers and sheds. The latter were developed first for obvious reasons; the building technologies were less sophisticated.
However most of these kinds of buildings may be classified into one of those groups; formally speaking Bigness has not produced a significant development typologically speaking.
Davey has written regarding this consideration Peter Davey, viii : In architectural terms, if bigness is inevitable, how do we deal with it? We have not done well so far.
Models for big buildings have scarcely changed for nearly a century and a half. Tall, we have the tower.
Low, there is the potentially endless shed. The theory of design of towers has not altered from the moment when Sullivan decreed that they should have a bottom and a top with an infinitely extensible shaft between. The endless shed is not even lucky enough to have such a primitive proposition. Peter Eisenman. The programmatic complexity implied in Bigness cannot reveal to the exterior a single image evoking interior uniformity. This has both, architectural and urban implications.
For it is the interior that projects itself outwards and produces and image of architecture within the city; however, it is this iconic image that produces -in the context of an urban mesh- a collective image of the city itself. Koolhaas refers to this other principle his third point implied in Bigness Koolhaas, , a ix : 3.
In Bigness, the distance between core and envelope increases to the point where the facade can no longer reveal what happens inside. The humanist expectation of "honesty" is doomed: interior and exterior architectures become separate projects, one dealing with the instability of programmatic and iconographic needs, the other--agent of disinformation--offering the city the apparent stability of an object.
Where architecture reveals, Bigness perplexes; Bigness transforms the city from a summation of certainties into an accumulation of mysteries.
What you see is no longer what you get. Finally the last two, basically a theorem and its corollary, Koolhaas that puts forward are truly urban.
The impact in the city, just because of its enormous scale, is independent of the quality of the design. This assert is simply disturbing, and certainly denotes an unethical approach to architecture and urbanism, even though it may well be true.
Koolhaas Rem Bigness 1994
As much of Koolhaas theoretical points of views, they are midway between radical and controversial: the position of the architect should be to fight against the imposition of such unsustainable impacts in the urban tissue, or within the city as a whole.
These buildings stand as landmarks of power in the global world, trying to gain a position in the international supraregional context. They are true icons of the XXI century that try to compete with each other.
But their scale, which is more than metropolitan, planetarian, just breaks with any possible integration within their urban context. But Bigness, according to Koolhaas, implies this indifference towards the contextual. In Koolhaas own words Koolhaas, , a x : 5. Together, all these breaks--with scale, with architectural composition, with tradition, with transparency, with ethics--imply the final, most radical break: Bigness is no longer part of any urban tissue.
It exists; at most, it coexists. It seems incredible that the size of a building alone embodies an ideological program, independent of the will of its architects.
Of all possible categories, Bigness does not seem to deserve a manifesto; discredited as an intelleclual problem, it is apparently on its way to extinction - like the dinosaur-through clumsiness, slowness, inflexibility, difficulty. But in fact, only Bigness instigates the regime of complexity that mobilizes the full intelligence of architecture and its related fields. One hundred years ago, a generation of conceptual breakthroughs and supporting technologies unleashed an architectural Big Bang.
By randomizing circulation, short-circuiting distance, artificializing interiors, reducing mass, stretching climensions, and accelerating construction, the elevator, electricity, air- conditioning, steel, and finally? The combined effects of these inventions were structures taller and deeper-Bigger-than ever before conceive, with a parallel potential for the reorganization of the social worId - a vastly richer programmation.
Theorems Fuelled initially by the thoughtless energy of the purely quantitative, Bigness has been, for nearly a century, a condition almost without thinkers, a revolution without program. Delirious New York implied a latent Theory of Bigness; based on five theorems. Beyond a certain critical mass, a building becomes a Big Building. Such a mass can no longer be controlled by a single architectural gesture, or even by any combination of architectural gestures.
This impo s sibility triggers the autonomy of its parts, but that is not the same as fragmentation: the parts remain committed to the whole. The elevator - with its potential to establish mechanical rather than architectural connections-and its family of related inventions render null and void the classical repertoire of architecture. Issues of composition, scale, proportion, detail are now moot.
5 Books by Rem Koolhaas
The art; of architecture is useless in Bigness. In Bigness, the distance between core and envelope increases to the point where the facade can no longer reveal what happens inside.
The humanist expectation of honesty is doomed: interior and exterior architectures become separate projects, one dealing with theinstability of programmatic and iconographic needs, the other - agent of clisinformation - offering the city the apparent stability of an object.
Where architecture reveals, Bigness perplexes; Bigness transforms the city from a summation of cortainties into an accumulation of mysteries.
What you see-is no longer what you get. Through size alone,-such buildings enter an amoral domain, beyond good or bad. Their impact is independent of their quality.
Together, all these breaks - with scale, with architectura composition, with tradition, with transparency, with ethics - imply the final, most radical break: Bigness is no longer part of any urban tissue.
It exists; at most, it coexists. Modernization In s, Bigness seemed a phenomenon of and for the New World s. But in the second half of the eighties, signs multiplied of a new wave of modernization that would engulf - in more or less camouflaged form - the Old WorId, provoking episodes of a new beginning even on the finished; continent. Against the background of Europe, the shock of Bigness forced us to make what was implicit in Delirious New York explicit in our work.
Bigness became a double polemic, confronting earlier attempts at integration and concentration and contemporary doctrines that question the possibility of the Whole and the Real as viable categories and resign themselves to architectures supposedly inevitable disassembly and dissolution.
Europeans had surpassed the threat of Bigness by theorizing it beyond the point of application.Running throughout the book is a "dictionary" of an adventurous new Koolhaasian language — definitions, commentaries, and quotes from hundreds of literary, cultural, artistic, and architectural sources.
But in the mid eighties, also in Europe, politic and economical interests gave the chance to planners that foresaw the opportunity to redefine the role of architecture in the city core introducing the concept of Bigness as a possibility to revitalize old cities. It seems incredible that the size of a building alone embodies an ideological program, independent of the will of its architects.
Otherwise engaged, an entire profession was incapable, finally, of exploiting dramatic social and economic events that, if confronted, could restore its credibility. Nishat Awan, A patchwork of arguments scavenged since the sixties from American sociologists, ideologues, philosophers, French intellectuals, cybermystics, etc.