Koolhaas on why OMA enters competitions

Unlike most architects of his stature, Koolhaas participates in many competitions. The process allows for creative freedom, since a client isn’t hovering, but it’s also risky. The firm invests an enormous amount of time and money in projects that will never get built. To Koolhaas, this seems to be an acceptable trade-off. “I’ve absolutely never thought about money or economic issues,” Koolhaas said. “But as an architect I think this is a strength. It allows me to be irresponsible and to invest in my work.

Via Nicolai Ouroussoff essay on Rem Koolhaas for Smithsonian Magazine. Earlier in the piece Ouroussoff contends that “Koolhaas works like a conceptual artist—able to draw on a seemingly endless reservoir of ideas” a fact directly linked to OMA’s engagement with competition as praxis. Chiefly by providing a “bank” of ideas as it were.


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