rem koolhaas / OMA : CRONOCAOS preservation tour
rem koolhaas / OMA : CRONOCAOS preservation tour rem koolhaas / OMA : CRONOCAOS preservation tour
sep 03, 2010

rem koolhaas / OMA : CRONOCAOS preservation tour

rem koolhaas image © designboom

‘preservation’ is a manifesto in space, understood as of simultaneous political, economic and social relevance. in the OMA curated exhibition, visitors are exposed to phenomena and to stories, which take preservation as an instrument of architectural thinking and invention. OMA founder rem koolhaas guides designboom through the themes.

recognizing that the current moment has almost no idea how to negotiate the coexistence of radical change and radical stasis that is our future, OMA’s exhibit looks further into the under-explored theme, often superimposing its effects on matters beyond the disciplinary boundaries of architecture. ‘preservation’ is a dense and highly relevant topic for today’s cultural climate.

time magazine covers featuring architects image © designboom

the rise of the market economy has meant the end of the architect as a credible public figure. since philip johnson in 1979, no architect has appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. stararchitects accepted a faustian bargain where they became more prominent, but their role less significant …

rem koolhaas explains the dilemma image © designboom

image © designboom

preservation and modernity are not opposites. preservation was ‘invented’ as part of a groundswell of modern innovation between the french revolution and the industrial revolution in england. in a maelstrom of change, it is crucial to decide what will stay the same …

authentic / restored image © designboom

‘as the scale and importance of preservation escalates each year, the absence of a theory and the lack of interest invested in this seemingly remote domain becomes dangerous. after thinkers like ruskin and viollet-le-duc, the arrogance of the modernists made the preservationist look like a futile, irrelevant figure. postmodernism, in spite of its lip service to the past, did no better.’ says rem koolhaas

damascus, may 2010: used image © designboom

damascus used …

image © designboom… and damascus preserved.


damascus, may 2010, preserved image © designboom

image © designboom

‘architects – we who change the world – have been oblivious or hostile to the manifestations of preservation. since 1981, in paolo portoghesi’s ‘presence of the past’, there has been almost no attention paid to preservation in successive architecture biennales.‘ koolhaas explains.

a view into the exhibition image © designboom

a view into the exhibition image © designboom

image © designboom

CRONOCAOS is showing the wrenching simultaneity of preservation and destruction that is destroying any sense of a linear evolution of time. CRONOCAOS has been shown at the architecture biennale in venice 2010.

image © designboom

with OMA, koolhaas aims to expand architectural production towards broader issues around culture, identity and organisation. it also enables the practice to interrogate architectural production and research without waiting for commissions and without the need to build anything. OMA’s curated exhibitions are an ever expanding oeuvre and worth to take a closer look.

published in segments throughout the coming days, we will be looking at the many discourses of ‘preservation’ as outlined in the exhibition. the ambiguities and contradictions that arises range from our pre-set, arbitrary opinion of preserving only the ‘exceptional’, leaving behind our ideas of the norm or mediocre; different way in which other cultures have defined permanence; the continued minimizing of lag time between new construction and its preservation; and the cultural, political and heritage issues involved, in which the past becomes the only plan for the future.

this is PART 2 of the ‘preservation’ exhibition. see PART 1 – we will follow up with PART 3 and 4.

  • When can we expect the follow-up to this post?

    Piet says:
  • interesting, true architecture will be changing to adapt to our 21st century requirements. I love this artists statement. Folks like this will aide us in having buildings old or new that are for survival and progress. cheers.

    Jewlz 09.06.10 says:
  • See Paolo Portoghesi red pen on Koolhaas citation of his text of 1980 (not 1981!) in [url=] mdc [/url]

    mdc says:

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