Assessment task 2B: Model/ Scale

Chosen Technique: Slabs and Columns and Spatial Loops (OMA)

Final Model: The Goods Line

OMA stands for ‘Office of metropolitan architecture’ which represents a Dutch architect by the name of Rem Koolhaas. OMA’s work greatly focuses on vertical and horizontal perspectives known as slabs and columns which furthermore emphasise the interior of a building and/or space, so instead of stacking levels symmetrically, the floors are weaved across different level paths showing a single line of trajectory. After reading and interpreting OMA’s techniques of slabs and columns, i have gone about to create a model of Goods Line with various iterations and views of perspective. The interior represents the City, cafes, personal roomsand parks.The iterations shows a major jump process of design with an explanation on each and how it got there. After experimenting with different designs and materials, i came across my final design and included cardboard, and wooden skewers. The slabs and columns are designed to show a rigid format and vectors with a dynamic structure. By following OMA’s style of design, the world is connected with this style of architecture which networks society. After viewing the work of Rem Koolhas, he explained that “Escape from the architecture ghetto is one of the major drivers and has been from the very beginning”.

Image 1
Image 2 OMA Slabs,Columns and Spatial Loops

In figure 1, Goods Line has been chosen due to its creativity when built and different aspects available to be incorporated into a building such as trees, grass, rooms, seats,a path, benches and different types of slabs which we don’t really see in everyday buildings. My final model is similar to Jussieu-Two Libraries as both models have more than one level of planes. The library model is connected with an escalators and elevators, and my model which i have created includes stairs, escalators and slabs to travel through. both models also focus on horizontal slab structures and vertical slabs. The interlink between slabs and columns create unique architectural designs and spaces in relation to the client and availability as Rem Koolhaas says “Not many architects have the luxury to reject significant things”. My created model relates to a relaxing experience to admire the architectural designs of Goods Line placed inside a building space.

Different view points captured of the Goods Line to show different ideas portrayed throughout my model in relation to OMA’s design skills to help create my building (Figure 2 Goods Line)

Research and Reflection on Jussieu-Two Libraries (OMA):

  • Koolhaas addresses questions throughout his designs to explore how information changes the way we view and create things. He comes across problem solving and how they affect society and the client and approaches the dramatic changes experienced through multiple factors, one being globalisation.“The art of architecture” is represented by the Pritzker Prize which Koolhaas won in the year 2000 through the establishment of architecture. OMA has opened an office of virtual architecture to design and re-design human environments which do not resort to the tools of the construction industry ( Wolf, June 2000). Koolhaas’ methods revolves around linking a range of mechanical, industrial, abstract and surrealist forms of classifications with architectural needs and considers the social, technological,economic and cultural conditions before establishing work. The linked floors create spiral effects of the Library which relates to the idea of creating ambient space within a public space in a structure. Urban space is created with the use of replacing cities and buildings with books and bookshelves. The urban concept of cities has been created with stairs, escalators, parks and a cafe. The main aim of this building is to give people who are inside of it an experience of an unreal city with lots of information to be incorporated into our everyday lives. The folds of buildings with horizontal structures relate to the Jussieu University which helped create void in interior spaces. The height between the roof and the ground is high which highlights and explains that this is more of a public space and not an area for privacy. Koolhaas refers to rooms and buildings throughout the library as “psychological spaces” as He focuses on human experience rather than the space itself and its aim. The notion of architecture and the design of the Library is seen as a series of incidents as they are identified by each level. In other words, there is always primarily an engine, be it discursive or diagrammatic, never a design that is introduced in the urban milieu to be reconfigured. It is never a question of organizing a space at the outset, but rather of unleashing, triggering, or capturing larger and already existing processes (Kwinter, 1992, pp. 84–5).

The research of this Library has inspired to me to create a look alike revolving around The Goods Line. After experimenting with different resources and analysing research, i found out that more stable materials such as wooden skewers and foam boards helped to create a rigid upright building rather than a slope-like model made out of paper. Below are experiments and Iteration processes i made while i was experimenting with OMA’s key elements of designs which led to the achievement to my final model.

Original Photos of Models which were experimented with by Simon Layoun (figure 3)

My first model emphasised a basic skeletal idea of OMA’s slab designs. It consisted of creating thin cylinders to use for the columns, however this was a very inappropriate idea as it was unstable and would always fall over. However, throughout iteration one it is shows that there were replaced by wooden skewers and were reinforced with small box cuttings made out of cardboard to make columns and to stabilise the unit. The first slab was made out of cardboard and was reinforced with foam board cuttings at the bottom of the cardboard to also stabilise the skewers. The iteration below it expanded my original concept and allowed me to create folds leading to each level.

Iteration (Original Photo by Simon Layoun 2017)
Iteration (Original Photo by Simon Layoun 2017)
Iteration (Original Photo by Simon Layoun 2017)

Model three is a conjunction of model one and two, it has a larger base for each level and is a more rigid structure, similar to OMA’s design technique. There wasn't much progression throughout this model as it was very basic, however, levels were added.

Iteration (Original Photo by Simon Layoun 2017)

In this iteration, i had begun to create the different slabs which were made of cardboard and were used as levels for the building. Because the city is vast, spacing needs to be taken into consideration to allow for inside detail to be shown as it is vital for this project. The straight walking path has been changed into a three level building with staircases (where each cut out gap is) leading to different levels instead of one path.

Final Iteration (Original Photo by Simon Layoun 2017)

when studying OMA’s work on the Jussieu libraries, i realised the slabs and slopes are very continuous in leading to one another. That gave me the idea to add stairs, and an escalator to expand functionality and accessibility.

After completing various iterations i had come across this final one which led to the creation of my final model design. Stairs had been made out of black cardboard and placed to lead to the first three levels. The bottom level relates to the design aspects of Goods line and the nature involved with activities as present in figure 1 below. The second level replicated the stairs presented at the back of figure 1 also. The third was the main entry point of Goods Line and related to a private relaxation zone. each level was made out of foam board which helped keep a rigid structure similar to Koohlaas.

Figure 1 Goods Line


  • (Goods Line)
  • (Image 1)
  • 2 Shannon Mattern. 2012. Koolhaas’s Libraries)
  • (Quotes)
  • Koolhaas, Rem et al. Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large. New York, N.Y.: Monacelli Press, 1998. Print.
  • OMA — Jussieu Libraries Wood Model (1992)
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