I got to know Rem Koolhaas four years ago in Lagos, where we both attended a conference set up as part of Okwui Enwezor’s Documenta 11. In the meantime, I have been living in Beijing for half a year, not far from the construction site of OMA’s biggest building so far, the CCTV headquarters. Back in Europe, I visit Rem in Amsterdam and he shows me a brochure with the title “Dubai Renaissance.” The brochure features an outline of a huge slab rotating in the middle of an artificial lake.
Rem Koolhaas: This is a top-secret project. It is a competition and maybe very soon it will be released. Or at least we will know whether we have won or not. It is a project for Dubai. It is one of those contemporary conditions that are considered like Singapore almost beyond seriousness. So of course I have tried to make it my mission to take those kind of places and … our architecture is some kind of new simplicity. In Dubai it was very clear that now to do another extravagant building really is just a nightmare and makes no sense. That already defined very clearly what you can do. What we propose is a kind of totally straightforward building. It’s three hundred meters tall, two hundred meters wide, but only twenty-one meters deep. And it’s made entirely out of white concrete. There will be absolutely no facade.
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