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Koolhaas' son makes a documentary about dad

Film REM is an "exploration of what architecture means to those who inhabit it and create it"
Koolhaas senior in his son's documentary, Rem
Koolhaas senior in his son's documentary, Rem




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REM, a forthcoming documentary by Tomas Koolhaas isn't the first film about a big-name architect made by his son. My Architect, released in 2003, was made by Nathaniel Kahn about his father, Louis Kahn. The draw of this earlier film lay as much in Louis' incredible built legacy as in his turbulent personal life; the architect sired three different families with three different women and Nathaniel's film was as much a personal exploration of his father as it was an appraisal of his work.

Rem, however, married only one woman - OMA's co-founder Madelon Vriesendorp - and their son Tomas' film, is less about the father-son relationship, than the greater life within Koolhaas' buildings.


As Tomas explained to ArtInfo, "Most architecture films focus only on the hyper-intellectual elements of architecture, and almost completely ignore the fact that these buildings are, or will be, inhabited and used by people."


Though Tomas has yet to finish his film, much of the footage he's released online is shot on site, rather than beside the drawing board. The buildings featured, including The CCTV building in Beijing, De Rotterdam Complex in the Netherlands, and The Seattle Library, are shown in such a way as to introduce the viewer to the building's workmen and inhabitants, rather than to thrust forward a particular narrative or point-of-view.


Tomas says the 2009 cinéma vérité-style Lil Wayne film, The Carter, and the 2010 documentary Babies, which followed the lives of four infants during their first year, served as stylistic inspiration. However, the idea for a film about his father has, Tomas says, been on his mind for a while.

As he says, growing up around the great man offered him a unique view. "I saw many fascinating stories occurring in and around his buildings. As I got older, I realised that although there were many projects that had been made about Rem, none of these stories were being included in those works."

To see some rough footage, take a look at Tomas' Vimeo account. For more on great Dutch design take a look at False Flat, which features Koolhaas' work alongside his fellow countrymen, and for further insight into great buildings today, consider The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture.


  • 21st Century Architecture
  • 21st Century Architecture
  • 21st Century Architecture
Explore the best architecture of the 21st century in this collection of 1037 exemplary buildings sited all over the world in the Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture. Divided into six world regions, the Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture provides an important overview of global and local trends in architecture.

This truly unparalleled resource presents easily accessible world data exploring the geographical contexts for 21st century architectural production in a global framework. Each of the six world regions is introduced by an analysis of urban and architectural issues. This statistical information has been researched and elaborated by a team from the London School of Economics.

This collection of key buildings has been chosen through a rigorous selection process involving a panel of expert advisors with specialist input from each world region. The list includes the work of an emerging generation of architectural stars featured alongside buildings by internationally acclaimed architects. Each building is fully illustrated with drawings and photographs, and described by a short essay. Further information includes key facts such as construction cost, client name, area of the building and geographical coordinates. Cross-referencing between projects enables the user to find other buildings by the same architect included in the book. In addition, a mass of useful information is provided including details of architects' practices and extensive indexes.

The Phaidon Atlas of  21st Century World Architecture


Understanding Architecture
The Story of Architecture
Architecture Today
Contemporary World Architecture

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