Asia

Koolhaas' 'Big Pants' and other iconic creations

Published 4:19 AM ET, Tue October 2, 2012
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The CCTV building in Beijing, China, designed by Rem Koolhaas and German architect Ole Scheeren took 10 years to complete. It is known locally as "The Big Pants." Philippe Ruault
"This building is a deliberate attempt at doing something ingenious and relatively modest but still strong in a very complex environment," Koolhaas says. AFP/Getty Images
"With our engineers -- they were very important: Cecil Balmond, the guy who did the tower with Anish Kapoor -- we used new computer systems barely three years old that enabled this form to be calculated," Koolhaas says. OMA
A view from a portal reveals the tower's height, although Koolhaas says his skyscraper is "a big building which, rather than consume a space, creates a space". Iwan Baan
Koolhaas has also designed the Taipei Performing Arts Center (model pictured), currently under construction. "Architecture is always marshalling possibilities from all directions to do something that hasn't happened before," he says. "Not for the hell of it, not for your ego but to create a degree of progress and make life more adventurous and give a sense of drive to society as a whole." Frans Parthesius, courtesy OMA
The Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal, won Koolhaas the Pritzker Prize in 2000. OMA
The concert hall's interiors include traditional Portuguese tiling ... Philippe Ruault
... and a rooftop area uses black and white tiles. OMA
Koolhaas' design for Seattle Central Library, completed in 2004, was among the first of his public commissions to be internationally acclaimed. OMA
Its layers of glass encased in steel lattices let in abundant light. OMA
Koolhaas' favorite building is the Pantheon in Rome. AFP/Getty Images
"It's really part of the city but once you are inside, you're immediately transported to another world -- which is, as I said, not mystical, not religious but somehow you feel elated," Koolhaas says. AFP/Getty Images
Archaeo-astronomers have concluded that the Pantheon was designed so that the portico is flooded with light at the equinox. "That is the beauty of architecture," quips Koolhaas, "364 days of the year it doesn't work, and it's still wonderful." AFP/Getty Images