An excellent exhibition of work and thinking from the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), a partnership who’s practice takes in architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis.

Stupidly finally visited on the last day denying myself the opportunity to go again and again as it was delightfully dense with information and one of those shows where little details can catalyse your own thinking.

For instance, before I went this section of the site was called Notes and Sketches and I was trying to think how I was going to organise my ‘finished’ work, in lots of different media, in other sections of the site – it was looking like it could get messy. At some point, as I was walking round, I realised that whatever form work takes it is an outcome and the collection of notes, sketches, ideas and what have you are the process that leads to them. Two reasonably neat boxes, like inputs and outputs (the reason I’d picked a British Indian Ocean Territory TLD for the site). Also I’m rather fond of the book Process; A Tomato Project – everything with me seems to have a back story, but I digress – simpler (even if it is a veneer on complexity) is always better.

The exhibition starts with a Philip K. Dick quote from a speech he gave in 1978 entitled How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later – the passage beginning ‘It is my job to create universes…’ to the end of the paragraph. This sort of start always bodes well in my opinion.

So, below are my notes from the exhibition. I’ve put transcripts in the alt tags so if you turn off images in your browser or view the source code the scrawl will become clearer, if you feel it needs to be.

Cultural Correctness. | | Gulf cities are in construction now. This means that they are, inevitably, based on the repertoire of current urban prototypes – community (themed & gated), hotel (themed), skyscraper (tallest), shopping centre (largest), airport (doubled) – cemented together by public space, extended soon with boutique, museum franchises and masterpieces. | | Los Angeles is a city without a centre. It has Universal City. Universal City, in turn, is a centre without a city: myriad functions dispersed across a huge site. | | Almaty Science Campus - massing models. Bruce Mau | | Incomplete manifesto for growth | | 9. Begin anywhere | | 15. Ask stupid questions | | 18. Stay up late | | ‘There is something in the human personality which resents things that are clear, and conversely, something which is attracted to puzzles, enigmas and allegories.’ Stanley Kubrick | | ‘There is something paradoxical and beautiful in the sense of security that man needs to live and in the sense of insecurity that man needs to feel alive.’ Alessandro De Santis fluorescent tubes (gasses in a permanent state of explosion) | | expropriation | | Dee & Charles Wyly Theatre, Dallas – Model | | ‘Last Apples’ Rem Koolhaas & Bruce Mau in S, M, L, XL ‘an almost Darwinian adaptation to the demands of the metropolitan ecology; a mutated architecture no longer obsessively committed to form making but to the creation of “conditions”, the fabrication of “content” – scriptwriting by tectonic means.’  ‘Last Apples’ ‘While other disciplines were gloating over their new freedoms – the hybrid, the local, the informal, chance, the singular, the irregular, the unique – architecture was stuck in the consistent the repetitive, the regular, the gridded, the general, the overall, the formal, the predetermined.’ | | Job: Acid on Copper / Aluminium for effects. | | Hyperbuilding, Bangkok, 1996 – The hyperbuilding is a self-contained city, but it is not disconnected from the surrounding urban dynamic. To achieve urban variety and complexity, the building is structured as a metaphor of the city: towers constitute streets, horizontal elements are parks, volumes are districts and diagonals are boulevards. In the past two decades our museums have become larger and larger; they have now reached the scale at which they can no longer be understood as (large buildings, but only as (small) cities. – extract, OMA project description for NAMOC. | | Miraflores Peninsula Congress Centre, 2002 – Original proposal.