Against the Modern: Rem Koolhaas’ Boredom

by Christian Parreno

If my interest in the banal architecture of the 1950’s and 1960’s, the derivatives of Ernesto Rogers and Richard Neutra, seems a somewhat boring source, I can only answer that to die of boredom is not so bad. There were much worse architects than Neutra. But let’s face it. I like that kind of architecture, and quite often it has been magnificently built. It has also at times reached a carefreeness and a freedom that interests me – not that I’m the only one to take an interest in it. But the question at stake is what Bruno Vayssière and Patrice Noviant have defined as ‘statistic architecture’: power architecture whose power is easy, that has moved without transition from the isolated experience to the series, from the series to repetition, and so on until you get sick of it. I’m trying to live with it but also to detach myself from it. And since nostalgia disturbs me, I’m trying more and more not to be modern, but to be contemporary.

Koolhaas, Rem (1996) ‘Toward the Contemporary City’ in Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture. Edited by Kate Nesbitt. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

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