Koolhaas' son makes a documentary about dad
Film REM is an "exploration of what architecture means to those who inhabit it and create it"
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.