Daily Necessities

Why Rem Koolhaas's Exhibition at the Guggenheim Will Be So Exciting

March 09,2024 by Matthew Bell

Even an architect as fixated on urban design as Rem Koolhaas needs to get out of the city every now and then. To that end, the legendary Dutch architect and theorist who heads up the Office for Metropolitan Architecture will present his findings on the state of countryside life and landscapes at the Guggenheim’s famous rotunda starting in fall 2019.

“Countryside: Future of the World” seeks to explore how seismic shifts in climate conditions, migration patterns, and connective technology continually upend the where, how, and why of life in rural spaces. Organized by Guggenheim curator for architecture and digital initiatives Conrad Therrien, Koolhaas’s project will profile 15 to 20 distinct enclaves that “together describe comprehensively what is going on” in each continent’s countryside.

Though inspired by changes Koolhaas observed in a Swiss village over a period of years, he’s acknowledged the project has taken on a new political urgency since last year. In addition to addressing how these changes fit into or deviate from a place’s architectural or cultural continuum, Koolhaas admitted in an interview with The New York Times that the political ramifications of rural malaise “raise the stakes for the exhibition and puts pressure on us to remain nimble.”

And in an age when it’s almost impossible to design an urban coffee shop without reclaimed lumber, Koolhaas’s exhibition will aim to examine the gulf between our aesthetic expectations and reality. “It’s there and part of our subconscious,” he said to The New York Times. “We are at the same time ignoring yet profoundly influenced and infiltrated by the semiotics of the countryside.”

About author

Leave a Reply