OMA- Jussieu Libraries Wood Model (1992)

Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture exert an extraordinary far-reaching influence on contemporary international architecture. The technique that OMA demonstrates on the Jussieu library wood model is ‘slabs and columns and spatial loops’.

Figure 1: Jussieu library wood model (Koolhaas 1992)

‘Rather than stacking on level on top of another, floor planes are manipulated to connect; thus forming a single trajectory’ (OMA office work search, para. 1, 2017) implements a clear incorporation of ‘slabs and columns and spatial loops’ as this can be seen in figure 1. I have also demonstarted the techinique of columns (figure 2), using foam core showing, how it has its own interpretation of space and its communication about architecture.

Figure 2: my first iteration, experimenting with columns

Figure 3: my second iteration, demonstarting slabs

Figure 4: my third iteration, experimenting with slabs and columns

Figure 5: my forth iteration, creating UTS library with slabs and columns

Figure 6: my fifth iteration, showing spatial loops.

Rem Koolhaas ‘has divided into the stream of mass produced media and found, within the historic discipline of architecture itself’ changing architecture as ‘a way of constructing an alternative, if teneous post from which one can establish a critical position in late modernism’ (Considering Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture — What is OMA, pg 25), adding an alternative: ‘the architect as the conscious collector, manipulator and projector of images’.

‘The building plan (figure 1) envisages a folding of the surface to heighten its density; the spaces between the folds function as floors’ (NAI, 2013, para. 3), this creates a spatial aspect as it creates one movement which is continuous, and I experimented with in figure 4.

“Startegy of the void”… describes the library (figure 1) ‘as a solid stack from which volumes are curved’ (Strategies of the void, Rem Koolhaas, pg 10) implying that slabs are effective as they completely change the way we look at a building as I have demonstrated in figure 3.

I used both slabs and columns (figure 5) to create a continuous movement were ‘the project concieves the void as a means to rethink the relationship between the subject and the object of architecture, and uktimately to suggest another form of close reading’ (Strategies of the void, Rem Koolhaas, pg 12). This display ‘open structures, continuous and almost invisible, would offer recognition and visual order by bathing themselves in the natural products of data manipulation, the free-floating projection thrown up’ (Considering Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture-What is OMA, pg 35), as it can be seen through the use of slabs and columns (figure 5).

‘Koolhaas offers a critique of the placenessness of the contemporary cityspace, where each city is virtually indistinguishable from the next’ (Koolhaas 1992), show that spatial loops (figure 6) can be used to clearly demonstrate this.

Figure 7: process

I chose the UTS library to demonstrate my understanding of slabs and columns and spatial loops, and illustrates an understanding of architecture in the city as the ‘compact, conflicted, glamorous, decadent city, thrusting up to the sky in towers’ (Considering Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, pg 30) compsing a twenty-first century urban metropolis. I used balsa wood as my material to design the UTS library because OMA’s model mainly consists of wood. The model (figure 1) also consists of block like structures, which represent the urban city ‘to propose the building blocks for a post-urban condition in which the essential elements of what makes a cohesive culture are dispersed’ (Considering Rem Koolhaas and the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, pg 38). I used columns (figure 7) to show a distinction between the levels creating area, and I used slabs to demonstrate space as it is being visualised as continuous.

Figure 8: I added slabs

‘Koolhaas’s design for the jussie library considers both the urban condition and the state of information’ as Koolhaas explains ‘our task was to create a lively public domain, to integrate the campus into the city and to turn it into an urban experience’ (Shannon Mattern, 2012), as I have added slabs (figure 8).

I added more collumns at the back, and more slabs to create more space (figure 9).

Figure 9: adding more slabs and columns

Figure 10: final project

Zaera Polo claims that this (figure 1) ‘tests a redefinition of temporal and spatial paradigms through material practices’ as it initiates a new approach to architecture as the ‘discipline of material organisation within post-capitalism’ (Shannon Matterns, 2012) meaning that materials can affect architecture; where OMA use wood and I have imitated this by using balsa wood (figure 10). The technique shows an ‘urbanised almost like a city: the specific elements of the libraries are reimplemented in the new public realm like buildings in a city’ (OMA office work research).

Reference list

Koolhaas, R. 2003, ‘Considering Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture: What is OMA’, NAI publishers, Rotterdam

Lubow, A. 2000, ‘Rem Koolhaas builds’, p.6–30

NAI, Premsela and Virtual Platform 2013, Jussieu library, viewed 20 May 2017, <>

OMA n.d., OMA OFFICE WORK RESEARCH, viewed 20 May 2017, <>

Shannon Mattern 2012, Koolhaas’s libraries, viewed 22 May 2017, <>

Strategies of the void n.d., Drawing Cononical ideas in architecture, viewed 23 May 2017, <8. Strategies of the Void Rem Koolhaas, Jussieu Libraries, 1992-93 - Drawing Canonical Ideas in Architecture>

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