A map of the world with red dots and forms drawn over it.
Courtesy OMA

Rem Koolhaas Brings the Country to the City With a Guggenheim Show

By Aileen Kwun
February 15, 2020
2 minute read

Dutch architect, urbanist, and theorist Rem Koolhaas is the rare figure whose outsize influence is evidenced in cities around the world, as well as in our thinking about them. The designs of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), the firm he cofounded, in 1975, are as famous as the books he’s written over the years, not to mention the number of architects under OMA’s employ—Jeanne Gang, Joshua Prince-Ramus, and Ole Scheeren, among many others referred to as “Baby Rems”—who have gone on to make their own marks in the field.

This month, Koolhaas presents his latest thesis and provocative topic of interest—the countryside—with a building-wide exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York. Organized by curator Troy Therrien, “Countryside, The Future” (on view from Feb. 20–Aug. 14) would seem to be a departure from the architect’s career-long focus on cities, an irony not lost on him: “New York is obviously a fantastic platform to launch a show which is about the absolute opposite of New York—the space on the earth outside the city, that is, the countryside,” Koolhaas says. “The countryside is now the site where the most radical, modern components of our civilization are taking place.” Presenting original findings with an international team of researchers, the show promises to address urgent environmental, political, and socioeconomic issues by looking at the countryside to forecast possibilities for the future.