Evil can also be beautiful. The Coliseum in Rome, for example, a wonderful structure with an awful past. Just think about the bloody gladiator fights there.

— Rem Koolhaas

The most sublime Rem Koolhaas quotes that will be huge advantage for your personal development

A building has at least two lives - the one imagined by its maker and the life it lives afterward - and they are never the same.


Talk about beauty and you get boring answers, but talk about ugliness and things get interesting.


Any architectural project we do takes at least four or five years, so increasingly there is a discrepancy between the acceleration of culture and the continuing slowness of architecture.


There are essentially two possibilities.

One is to be, shall we say, an average architect and do the same thing everywhere. The other is to let yourself be inspired and even changed by the unique qualities of the place where you're building. We always try to take the second approach.


It is not possible to live in this age if you don't have a sense of many contradictory forces.


Architecture is a hazardous mixture of omnipotence and impotence.

It is by definition a c h a o t i c a d v e n t u r e... In other words, the utopian enterprise.


The stronger the identity, the more it imprisons, the more it resists expansion, interpretation, renewal, contradiction.


Not many architects have the luxury to reject significant things.


Infrastructure is much more important than architecture.


In a script, you have to link various episodes together, you have to generate suspense and you have to assemble things - through editing, for example. It's exactly the same in architecture. Architects also put together spatial episodes to make sequences.


Asia is still dominated by skyscrapers.

I hope that, in European cities, it will become a declining trend. They were almost never necessary.


There's something really interesting about current urbanism: the only model is the universal model, and there is increasingly incapacity to consider the virtues and the qualities that are there, and then to build on them. The only thing is complete transformation.


About Rem Koolhaas

Quotes 94 sayings
Nationality Dutch
Profession Architect
Birthday October 16

There is no plateau of resting or stabilising.

Once you are interested in how things evolve, you have a kind of never-ending perspective, because it means you are interested in articulating the evolution, and therefore the potential change, the potential redefinition.


Architecture is a rare collective profession: it's always exercised by groups.

There is an essential modesty, which is a complete contradiction to the notion of a star.


Architecture is a dangerous mix of power and importance.


That has been my entire life story. Running against the current and running with the current. Sometimes running with the current is underestimated. The acceptance of certain realities doesn’t preclude idealism. It can lead to certain breakthroughs.


Escape from the architecture ghetto is one of the major drivers and has been from the very beginning.


I'd say that my profession ends where architectural thinking ends - architectural thinking in terms of thinking about programs and organizational structure. These abstractions play a role in many other disciplines, and those disciplines are now defining their 'architectures' as well.


When air conditioning, escalators, and advertising appeared, shopping expanded its scale, but also limited its spontaneity. And it became much more predictable, almost scientific. What had once been the most surprising became the most manipulated.


Prada is extremely directed in terms of communicating what they like and what they don't like. That is actually extremely pleasant because it clarifies very easily what you can do and what you need to do.


The people from the suburbs are bringing along their suburban values: cleanliness, orderliness, safety - dullness, in other words. As a result, urban areas are being hollowed out. Just look at Times Square in New York. No more sex shops, no drugs, no homeless people. The area is clinically clean and incredibly dull.


Our office acts like a kind of educational establishment and we are very careful who we educate.


Most old cities are now sclerotic machines that dispense known qualities in ever-greater quantities, instead of laboratories of the uncertain. Only the skyscraper offers business the wide-open spaces of a man-made Wild West, a frontier in the sky.


In this branch of utopian real estate, architecture is no longer the art of designing buildings so much as the brutal skyward extrusion of whatever site the developer has managed to assemble.


Manhattan is an accumulation of possible disasters that never happen.


The thing is that I have a really intense, almost compulsive need to record.

But it doesn't end there, because what I record is somehow transformed into a creative thing. There is a continuity. Recording is the beginning of a conceptual production. I am somehow collapsing the two - recording and producing - into a single event.


People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it. Of course, that's both liberating and alarming.


As an architect, I always have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, your fingers are itching. As a human being, you are happy to participate in the indolence.


That has been another interesting discovery: that basically a city [Lagos] could recover from a really deep, deep, deep pit.


The acceptance of certain realities doesn't preclude idealism. It can lead to certain breakthroughs.


We say we want to create beauty, identity, quality, singularity.

And yet, maybe in truth these cities that we have are desired. Maybe their very characterlessness provides the best context for living.


The work in S, M, L, XL was almost suicidal.

It required so much effort that our office almost went bankrupt.


When shopping was still connected to the street it was also an intensification and articulation of the street. Now it has become utterly independent - contained, controlled, surveyed.


We live in an almost perfect stillness and work with incredible urgency.


Criticism per se does not worry me. I've always solicited it as part of the design process.


Japan lives with drastic segregation between the sublime, the ugly, and the utterly without qualities. Dominance of the last 2 categories makes mere presence of the first stunning: when beauty 'happens', it is absolutely surprising.


Each building has to be beautiful, but cheap and fast, but it lasts forever.

That is already an incredible battery of seemingly contradictory demands. So yes, I'm definitely perhaps contradictory person, but I operate in very contradictory times.


The beauty of my profession [architecture] lies in its randomness and surprise.

And don't think I can choose my projects. I have to build what's offered to me.


The great problem of the concert hall is that the shoebox is the ideal shape for acoustics but that no architect worth their names wants to build a shoebox.


Manhattan has no choice but the skyward extrusion of the Grid itself;

only the Skyscraper offers business the wide-open spaces of a man-made Wild West, a frontier in the sky.


The areas of consensus shift unbelievably fast; the bubbles of certainty are constantly exploding.


If you have this reputation you can sit back and endure it, or you can try to do things with it.


Manhattanism is the one urbanistic ideology that has fed, from its conception, on the splendors and miseries of the metropolitan condition—hyper-density—without once losing faith in it as the basis for a desirable modern culture. Manhattan's architecture is a paradigm for the exploitation of congestion.


We discovered a person in Lagos who had a fish stall, and within a single square metre she carried two children all the way to Harvard. She supported an unbelievable escape of her children into education. In that sense it was a city completed pixillated, and every pixel contained amazing stories.


I am incredibly bad at predicting the future;

I am only smart enough to observe the present and listen to my intuition about tendencies.


Lagos was not very inviting even to Lagosians.

It was considered a no-go zone, almost in its entirety.


Sustainability has become an ornament.


The luxury of our position now is that we can almost assemble any team to address any issue.


You need to look at inequality as a typical condition of modern society.