Recently published is a special issue of Domus magazine, called Domus d'Autore where the magazine is given over to a guest Editor-Architect, in this instance Rem Koolhaas and his OMA-AMO practice.
The theme Koolhaas has decided to explore with this special issue is "Post-Occupancy" and a chance to critically re-evaluate as AMO 4 recently completed built projects by OMA: The Dutch Embassy in Berlin, the Seattle Public Library, the McCormick-Tribune Campus Center on the campus of IIT in Chicago, and the Casa de Musica in Porto:
"With this issue we try to (re)present four recent buildings in a fresh, more complex way. We don't insist on the buildings' qualities, but monitored their effects on their respective hosts and users. There are no 'critics' - usually, best friends in drag - no intimidation. We have assembled myriad anonymous voices and collected snapshots. We documented how (our) buildings take place in a primordial sea of influences and predecesors on which their existence depends and to whose existence they try to contribute. We looked through the eyes of tourists and artists, trusted others to record. Away from the triumphalist or miserabilist glare of media, we wanted to see what happens in the absence of the author, to represent the realities we were complicit in creating, post-occupancy, as facts, not feats."
As well as the sequence of drawings and photographs as you would expect, there are interviews and vox-pops with users, discussions on the role of image making and photography in architecture, dense hypertextual concentrations of the 4 buildings press coverage, and a lyrical meditation by Koolhaas on Berlin and his debt to OM Ungers.
Through the projects described in this edition, it's fascinating to see evolving the theories explored by Koolhaas from the Delirious New York days, such as the analysis of a skyscraper. The skyscraper's multiplicity of functions, stacked behind a uniform facade, and the vertical circulation, explored by OMA through the brilliant unbuilt projects of the Tres Grande Bibliotheque in Paris, the ZKM in Karlsruhe, the library at Jussieu in France, is further explored with these built projects. With each new project the thinking evolves. Now the functions are not just stacked vertically but offset, creating dynamic compositions and interstitial spaces. The urban field is brought inside, often through a continuous linear route winding upwards through the building in a series of ramps.
This magazine, beautifully constructed, is a fascinating insight into the programmatic approach to the design of the four projects, and comparing and contrasting them shows how these projects related to each other as part of a brilliantly conceived ouevre while at the same time for the most part satisfying the requirements of their users.