Rem Koolhaas humbled by Dubai architecture

Architectural superstar Rem Koolhaas highlighted the work of building designers in Dubai saying it was a “humbling experience” to see styles across the city mirroring his own work.

“The architecture of Dubai is very extravagant, very seemingly irrational or exuberant,” he said.” It is not that different from the architecture that we star-architects or important architects produce. It was a humbling experience to see that what they do and what we do is so close.”

Koolhaas of Dutch-based studio OMA made his views known on stage at the Manarat Al Saadiyat auditorium in Abu Dhabi

Speaking about the UAE he said: “What I was particularly impressed with was the role of rulers in the modernisation of their own country.

“How unbelievably seriously they had been taking that work and how almost tenderly they were looking at where the highways might go, where the roundabouts should go, carefully placing every part of infrastructure.

“And I was trying to imagine how unbelievably tense it must have felt that they knew that they were changing their countries forever without being sure of the outcome of such a transformation, an enormous burden, and enormous responsibility.”

He went on to say that preserving these older architectural creations is important, since architecture of those years is one that is most vulnerable at the moment, not only in the Emirates, but all over the world –a topic which he plans to emphasise at 14th International Architecture Exhibition at the la Biennale di Venezia, of which he is curator.

“One of the interesting ways to use the Venice Biennale is to put certain issues on the agenda. One of these issues is preservation. I am very interested in preservation,” he said.

Koolhaas explained that his major aim for this year’s Biennale is to start a dialogue with each country represented.