Rem Koolhaas’ views on urbanism have been taken up as a ‘renewed commitment to the American city’. However, read against the history of the. American. Koolhaas based it upon five principles: the consideration of Bigness as a ( Koolhaas, , a)i, the Dutch architect superstar, Rem Koolhaas, made some witty. Bigness. “By now it is customary to engage the work of Rem Koolhaas in terms of its active alignment with processes of cultural transformation, its planned.

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Please try a current version of IE or Firefox. EasyEdit Report page Share this. Bigness and the Problem of Large []. Monacelli Press, It seems incredible that the size of a building alone embodies an ideological problem, independent of the will of its architects.

Of all possible categories, BIGNESS does not seem to bignesd a manifesto; discredited as an intellectual problem, it is apparently on its way to extinction — like the dinosaur — through rek, slowness, inflexibility, difficulty.

But in fact, only BIGNESS instigates the regime of complexity that mobilizes the full intelligence of architecture and its related fields. By randomizing circulation, short circuiting distance, artificializing interiors, reducing mass, stretching dimensions, and accelerating construction, the elevator, electricity, air-conditioning, steel, and finally, the new infrastructures formed a cluster of erm that induced another species of architecture.

Rem Koolhaas

The combined effects of these inventions were structures taller and deeper-BIGGER-than ever before conceived, with a parallel potential for the reorganization of the social world-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.


Beyond a certain critical mass, a building becomes a BIG Building. Such a mass can no longer be controlled by a singular architectural gesture, or even by any combination of architectural gestures. The impossibility triggers the autonomy of its parts, which is different from fragmentation: 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.

What you see is no longer what you get. Through size alone, such buildings enter an amoral domain, beyond good and bad.

Bigness to Size-Zero: Measuring Architecture, rightly

Their impact is independent of their quality. Together, all these breaks-with scale, with architectural composition, with tradition, with transparency, with ethics-imply the final, most radical break: Its subtext is fuck context. Only through BIGNESS can bifness dissociate itself from the exhausted ideological and artistic movements of modernism and formalism to regain its instrumentality bignesd a vehicle of modernization. BIGNESS recognizes that architecture as we know it is in difficulty, but it does not overcompensate through regurgitations of even more architecture.

It can reassemble what it breaks. A paradox of BIGNESS is that in spite of the calculation that goes into its planning-in fact, through its very rigidities-it is the one architecture that engineers the unpredictable, instead of enforcing coexistence, BIGNESS depends on bgness of freedoms, the assembly of maximum difference. It develops strategies to organize both their independence and interdependence within the larger entity in a symbiosis that exacerbates rather than compromises specificity.

Bigness to Size-Zero: Measuring Architecture, rightly

Through contamination rather than purity and quantity rather than quality, only BIGNESS can support genuinely new relationships between functional entities that expand rather than limit their identities. Like plutonium rods that, more or less immersed, dampen or promote nuclear reaction, BIGNESS regulates the intensities of programmatic coexistence. It is simply impossible to animate its entire mass with intention.


Zones will be left out, free from architecture. It promises architecture a kind of post-heroic status-a realignment with neutrality. Even as BIGNESS enters the stratosphere of architectural ambition-the pure chill of megalomania, it can be achieved only at the price of giving up control, of transmogrification.

The street has become residue, organizational device, mere segment of the continuous metropolitan plan where the remnants of the past face the equipments of the new in an uneasy standoff.

Not only is BIGNESS incapable of establishing relationships with the classical city-alt most, it coexists- but in the quantity and complexity of the facilities it offers, it is itself urban.

If urbanism generated potential and architecture exploits it, BIGNESS koophaas the generosity of urbanism against the meanness of architecture. BIGNESS, through its very independence of context, is the one architecture than can survive, even exploit, the new-global condition of the tabula rasa: In spite rek its size, it is modest.

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Bigness and the Problem of Large [] – National SuperStudio09

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