S, M, L, XL: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large


S,M,L,XL presents a selection of the remarkable visionary design work produced by the Dutch firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.) and its acclaimed founder, Rem Koolhaas, in its first twenty years, along with a variety of insightful, often poetic writings. The inventive collaboration between Koolhaas and designer Bruce Mau is a graphic overture that weaves together architectural projects, photos and sketches, diary excerpts, personal travelogues, fairy tales, and fables, as well as critical essays on...
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S,M,L,XL presents a selection of the remarkable visionary design work produced by the Dutch firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.) and its acclaimed founder, Rem Koolhaas, in its first twenty years, along with a variety of insightful, often poetic writings. The inventive collaboration between Koolhaas and designer Bruce Mau is a graphic overture that weaves together architectural projects, photos and sketches, diary excerpts, personal travelogues, fairy tales, and fables, as well as critical essays on contemporary architecture and society.

The book's title is also its framework: projects and essays are arranged according to scale. While Small and Medium address issues ranging from the domestic to the public, Large focuses on what Koolhaas calls "the architecture of Bigness." Extra-Large features projects at the urban scale, along with the important essay "What Ever Happened to Urbanism?" and other studies of the contemporary city. Running throughout the book is a "dictionary" of an adventurous new Koolhaasian language -- definitions, commentaries, and quotes from hundreds of literary, cultural, artistic, and architectural sources.

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Editorial Reviews

A brick of a book....This book tells a tale, a great contemporary architectural odyssey- the story of how this architect came to think big.
Washington Post
Serious books cities tend to come in batches every couple of years. Because of its sheer exuberance, brilliance, and artistry, S,M,L,XL tops the list. Koolhaas is that rare architect who writes trenchantly and with style. A seductive collage of typology, words, and images.
Martin Filler
Perhaps afraid that readers will be daunted from advancing into the depths of this silver-covered brick of a book, Mr. Koolhaas runs a 'dictionary' in the margins throughout. . . By turns portentous and sophomoric, this self-conscious device seems more suited to a high school yearbook. . . . With its high price, lavish production values and chic juxtapositions of violent news photos, pornographic outtakes, cheap advertisements and fine-art reproductions, [S, M, L, XL] is closer in spirit to the deluxe boxed CD sets of aging 60's rock stars. -- New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Koolhaas, Dutch architect, author (Delirious New York) and cult figure, wants architecture to be "a chaotic adventure," and this massive tome certainly is. Created with Toronto-based designer Mau, it's a huge collage splicing freewheeling essays, diary excerpts, photographs, architectural plans, sketches, cartoons and surreal montages of images. There's also a running glossary of Zen-like definitions, plus fables and parables intended to shake modern architects out of conventional thinking and to dispel urban despair. In one essay, Koolhaas admires Japan's metabolist movement, which fuses organic, scientific, mechanistic and romantic vocabularies. That approach seems compatible with his own innovative, eclectic vision as head of the Dutch firm Office of Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.), whose houses, villas, office towers, libraries, colleges, cultural complexes and other projects are showcased here. While some readers may be mystified by a nonlinear hodgepodge, architects, planners and designers will find this frequently outrageous assemblage a provocative repository of ideas. Author tour. (Mar.)
Herbert Muschamp
S,M,L,XL was the most important architecture book of the decade.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781885254863
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1344
  • Sales rank: 230,483
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.42 (h) x 2.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Rem Koolhaas is founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.); the firm's most important projects include the Lille Grand Palais in Lille; the Kunsthal in Rotterdam; Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague; Nexus Housing in Fukuoka; the Dutch House in Holland; and Villa dall'Ava in Paris, all of which are included in S,M,L,XL. Koolhaas is author of the seminal Delirious New York and professor in practice of architecture and urban design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Bruce Mau founded the critically acclaimed firm Bruce Mau Design in 1985. He is the author of Life Style and Massive Change.

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Table of Contents

OMA Charts
Project Credits
Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture: AA Final Project, 1972 2
Delirious New York: Appendix, 1978 22
Less is More: Installation for the 1986 Milan Triennale, Italy, 1985 46
The House That Made Mies: Theory, 1993 62
Dutch Section: House for Two Friends, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1988 64
[actual symbol not reproducible]13,000 Points: Nexus World Housing, Fukuoka, Japan, 1991 80
Learning Japanese: Poem, 1993 88
Worth a Detour: Renovation of Hotel Furka Blick, Switzerland, 1991 126
Obstacles: Villa Dall'Ava, St. Cloud, Paris, France, 1991 130
Only 90[degree], Please: Video Bus Stop, Groningen, Netherlands, 1991 194
Imagining Nothingness: Text, 1985 198
The Terrifying Beauty of the Twentieth Century: Text, 1985 204
Field Trip: (A)A Memoir: The Berlin Wall as Architecture, 1993 212
Revision: Renovation of a Panopticon Prison, Arnhem, Netherlands, 1979-81 234
Shipwrecked: Housing Kochstrasse/Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, Germany, 1980 254
Final Push: Extension of the Dutch Parliament, The Hague, Netherlands, 1978 278
Cadavre Exquis: Netherlands Dance Theater, The Hague, Netherlands, 1987 304
Typical Plan: Meditation, 1993; Morgan Bank, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1985 334
Byzantium: Housing, Offices, Shops, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1991; Cartoon, 1994 354
Globalization: Text, 1993 362
Vanishing Act: Biocenter, University of Frankfurt, Germany, 1988 370
Islam After Einstein: Hotel and Convention Center, Agadir, Morocco, 1990 374
New Rotterdam: Architecture Museum, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1988; Museum Park, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1994; Kunsthal I, Rotterdam, Netherlads, 1987-88 400
Life in the Box?: Kunsthal II, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1992 430
Neue Sachlichkeit: Project for an Office City, Frankfurt Airport, Germany, 1989 474
Bigness, or the problem of Large: Manifesto, 1994 494
Soft Substance, Harsh Town: Boompjes TowerSlab, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1979-82 518
Indeterminate Specificity: The Hague City Hall, Netherlands, 1986 544
Dirty Realism: A Mini-Farce, 1993 570
Working Babel: Sea Terminal, Zeebrugge, Belgium, 1989 578
Bifurcation: Effects of Structure, 1993 600
Strategy of the Void: Tres Grande Bibliotheque, Paris, France, 1989 602
Weird Science: Excerpts from a Diary, 1989 604
Last Apples: Speculations on Structure and Services, 1993; From the notebook of Cecil Balmond, 1992 662
Darwinian Arena: Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany, 1989-92 686
Passion Play: Epitaph, 1992 762
Organization of Appearances: Congrexpo (Lille Grand Palais), Lille, France, 1994 764
Palace of the Soviets: Bedtime Story, 1994 822
The White Sheet: Dream, 1981 828
Atlanta: Journalism, 1987/1994 832
Las Vegas of the Welfare State: Bijlmermeer Redevelopment, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1986 860
Unlearning Holland: Point City/South City, Project for Redesigning Holland, 1993 888
Congestion Without Matter: Parc de la Villette, Paris, France, 1982 894
Elegy for the Vacant Lot: Text, 1985 936
Their New Sobriety: Exposition Universelle 1989, Paris, France, 1983 940
What Ever Happened to Urbanism?: Text, 1994 958
Surrender: Ville Nouvelle Melun-Senart, France, 1987 972
Dolphins: Transportation Exchange Centers for Benelux, 1989, 1991 990
Singapore Songlines: Thirty Years of Tabula Rasa: Reconstruction, 1995 1008
Tabula Rasa Revisited: Mission Grand Axe, La Defense, Paris, France, 1991 1090
Side Show: Zac Danton Office Tower, La Defense, Paris, France, 1991-93 1134
Quantum Leap: Euralille: Centre International d'Affaires, Lille, France, 1994 1156
Programmatic Lava: Urban Design Forum, Yokohama, Japan, 1992 1210
The Generic City: Guide, 1994 1238
Chronology 1270
Dictionary References 1284
Image Credits 1300
P.S. Unraveling: 2 Bibliotheques Jussieu, Paris, France, 1993 1303
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