Delirious New York – Great architects write great books

rem-koolhaas_delirious-new-york

Rem Koolhaas was born as a journalist, but he used to work also as screenwriter in the young age. Only at the age of 23 he starts studying architecture, taking the path that will lead him to be one of the masters in the field.

Starting from his biography, a certain flexibility in action and thought are evident. When he was done with studies, in fact, he didn’t look for a job, but he started to write “Delirious New York”, his masterpiece and one of the most important books, among architectural essays.

This book is like a retroactive manifest for the most popular peninsula in the world. He starts from a realization that stands at the basis of his thought: “Manhattan is the Rosetta Stone of the XX century”.

He wonders where is the manifest collecting all the rules about the most admired city in the world, the rules on which the construction of New York is based. “The fatal weakness of manifests is their intrinsic lack of concreteness. The problem of Manhattan is exactly the opposite: a mountain of concreteness without any manifest.”

Delirious New York
Il teorema del 1909: la preistoria del grattacielo, ovvero la creazione illimitata di territori vergini da un lotto unico urbano

Once more, we understand the importance of observing the world around us and learning from it. Koolhas makes a reflection on the city starting from New York.

He examines in depth the development of skyscrapers and he investigates the processes that brought to that shape and function. Talking about their genesis, he draws their history and understands all the shades that characterized, and still characterize, them. He often inserts stories and anecdotes about people, never leaving behind the importance of the social perspective of events.

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