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2008 02 14
Does Bruce Mau’s Move From Toronto Say Something About The City? Part Three
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With all those architecture grads in the office, and a connection to Rem Koolhaas through Brian Boigon's ongoing "Culture Lab" series, it is no surprise that Mau's studio embarks on its major project to date: S,M,L,XL, a new book on Koolhaas' work.

It is the mid-nineties. The architectural profession is reviving as the North American economy pulls out of a recession, and the global economy is in a feeding frenzy spurred by China's growth. It is also an era where New Media and the Internet are the most discussed topics around. Against that context Mau and Koolhaas decide to embrace the idea that a book is more than a means to convey information—something now done more quickly and economically through electrons—it is also an object. And what an object. S,M,L,XL is a book not measured in pages, but in thickness and weight.

Someone once suggested that when a technology becomes obsolete it becomes an art form. In an era celebrating the death of the book, S,M,L,XL attempts to reinvent the medium. Here's what OMA says about the project:
This massive book is a novel about architecture. Conceived by Rem Koolhaas - author of Delirious New York - and Bruce Mau - designer of Zone - as a free-fall in the space of the typographic imagination, the book's title, Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large, is also its framework: projects and essays are arranged according to scale. The book combines essays, manifestoes, diaries, fairy tales, travelogues, a cycle of meditations on the ground of contemporary city, with work produced by Koolhaas's Office for Metropolitan Architecture over the past twenty years. This accumulation of words and images illuminates the condition of architecture today - its splendors and miseries - exploring the revealing the corrosive impact of politics, context, the economy, globalization - the world.


The book is a huge success, and it creates the foundation for Koolhaas and Mau's next collaboration: Downsview Park. This time, however, the realities of making novel projects happen in Canada's political landscape result in a project that is abruptly abandoned by Koolhaas and continues today to wither into obscurity.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 02/14 at 03:40 PM

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