Rem Koolhaas and his architecture firm OMA might easily have been two separate entries in our Hot List (his consultancy AMO could have been a third, but didn’t get enough search traffic to make the cut).
This year the Dutch sage made the news more than his office, with his pronouncements on the death of Zaha Hadid, the UK’s Brexit vote and the architecture profession’s communication problems proving more popular than OMA’s architecture.
In fact, of the five most popular Dezeen stories about Koolhaas and OMA over the year, only one of them is a building: our 2012 post about the firm’s cinema pavilion for music artist Kanye West.
That perhaps highlights the fact that, despite its high profile, OMA didn’t really complete any significant buildings during the year (the striking, gold-leafed Fondazione Prada in Milan opened in May 2015).
Instead our readers were more interested in what Koolhaas had to say on the issues of the day.
Most popular of all was our exclusive interview with the 71-year-old on the legacy of his longstanding friend Zaha Hadid. Speaking just after she died, Koolhaas paid warm tribute to Hadid and also shared his views on what he thought she had contributed to architecture.
“I see her work not necessarily as an exciting form of Western architecture and a development of Western architecture, but really something fundamentally different,” he said. “That is what I think may be her biggest achievement.”
Interestingly the second-most popular post about Rem was another tribute, this time to young Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose work he described as “a fully fledged new typology”.
By lavishing such praise on fellow architects – who incidentally occupy the two top spots in our Hot List – Koolhaas this year earned his place in our list for being architecture’s reflective elder statesman, rather than one of its most iconoclastic practitioners.