Book Review: Content

Content edited Rem Koolhaas, published by Taschen, 2004. Paperback, 544 pages. (Amazon)
The sequel to Rem Koolhaas and OMA's 1997 tome S,M,L,XL is almost anything but its predecessor. At 544 pages, Content is 800 pages less, taking the form of a small format magazine - a "boogazine" - with occasional advertisements lowering its price below $20, compared to the XL price of $75 for its precursor. Instead of using scale as an organizational means, Content's only apparent consistency across its assortment of pages is a geographical movement from Los Angeles easterly to Japan, reiterated by the words "GO EAST" present on most pages. This movement sums up the present situation for OMA (and its offshoot AMO) as it eyes the enormous potential in China and the burgeoning urbanism of much of Asia. Not so much a presentation of projects (though Universal Headquarters, LACMA, Seattle Public Library, IIT Student Center, Hotel for Ian Schrager, Whitney Museum addition, Casa da Musica, Dutch Embassy, and CCTV are included) as a presentation of ideas and political analysis, the "boogazine" greatly illustrates the significant role of AMO since it was created as a way to combat architecture's slowness and its decreased relevance and meaning. While Content may not redeem architecture, it definitely points to its immediate future.