Incredible buildings around the world by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas

Incredible buildings around the world by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas

The influential buildings by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas are many, stretching across the world in some of the most impressive forms. The trend-setting architect, urbanist and Harvard professor is one of the most prized architectural theorists of his generation.

Remment Lucas Koolhaas was born in 1944 in Rotterdam, with talented architects on both sides of his family: on his mother’s side, his grandfather, Dirk Roosenberg (1887 - 1962) was a modernist architect working for the famous innovator Berlage (1856 - 1934). On his father’s side, a first cousin, Teun Koolhaas (1940 - 2007) was a prominent architect and urban planner.

Buildings by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas

Koolhass' buildings are immense and provocative and many have won prestigious prizes. He designed a Prada store in Beverly Hills, the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin, the Seattle Central Library, and many, many more.

His response to global urbanisation is refreshingly positive: in a world that tends to catastrophise urban decline, Koolhaas instead embraces the process of cities reinventing themselves. As a creative individual who was born into the decimated Rotterdam not long after the German bombardment, this seems only natural. His talent for cityscapes, however, is as beyond ordinary as you can imagine, and architects and urban planners all over the world try to emulate his iconic style.

Rem Koolhaas' firm OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) employs 325 architects, with branches in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing and Hong Kong.

De Rotterdam

Standing majestically in the Kop van Zuid area of Rotterdam, Koolhaas' building, known simply as De Rotterdam, is one of the many examples of cutting-edge 21st-century architecture in Rotterdam. It was devised as a kind of "city within a city," a tribute to his native locality.

Dutch Embassy, Berlin

The Netherlands Embassy in Germany is a prime example of Koolhaas' ingenuity. It was opened in 2004 and won prestigious awards: the Berlin Architecture Prize and the Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture.

Casa Da Musica in Porto, Portugal

The New York Times called it the "most attractive project the architect Rem Koolhaas has ever built." Asymmetrical, with nine floors, a 1.300-seat concert hall and natural light beaming in, it's the only concert hall in the world with two walls of glass. The Casa Da Musica's construction began in 2001 during Porto's designated year as the European Capital of Culture and officially opened its doors in 2005.

CCTV Headquarters Beijing, China

The CCTV (Central China Television) Headquarters Beijing - possibly the most iconic building in 21st century China - was completed in 2009 after a 10-year project. It has been dubbed "the world's most controversial building" due to being viewed as a cynical work of propaganda. Critics are very divided, however, and many see it as a truly unforgettable masterpiece.

Kunsthal, Rotterdam

Kunsthal Rotterdam is one of the most important museums in Rotterdam, as well as one of the most popular Dutch museums of all, presenting old art, contemporary art, design and photography. Its collection ranges from high art to popular culture. The building opened in 1992 and is one of the Dutch architectural icons of the 20th century.

Seattle Central Library

Not only does the building serve the public as the main library for the surrounding area, but many flock to Seattle Central Library for an architectural tour of this outstanding piece of structural ingenuity. This 11-storey glass and steel structure in downtown Seattle was opened in 2004, partially funded by Seattle native Bill Gates. For this project, Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus were joint principal architects. What a wonderful celebration of books!

Video bus stop, Groningen

Not exactly a building in the traditional sense of the word, but still a fine piece of architecture, the bus stop with a movie screen in Groningen is certainly unique. Rem Koolhaas has a seemingly endless fountain of ideas. This one was conceived as one of five screening pavilions for the What a Wonderful World exhibition in Groningen in 1991.

Rem Koolhaas Bus Stop Groningen

Street toilet, Groningen

And finally, a street toilet in Groningen, which is probably the finest example of its kind in all the land, if not the world. It's not often that a city can claim to have a building that is for everyone and anyone to use that is built by such a prominent figure in architecture. Why not a toilet?

Rem Koolhaas and the Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf teamed up to design it for the event A Star is Born in 1996. The building takes on the shape of the yin and yang sign with frosted glass between the male and female toilets, covered in images conveying the struggles of the sexes. For curious visitors, the address is Reitemakersrijge 22!

Rem Koolhaas Street Toilet in Groningen

A Dutch architect and his worldwide legacy

Rem Koolhaas has certainly left his mark on the architecture world: he has authored over six books, won the 2000 Pritzker Architecture Prize, and Time magazine listed him as one of their top 100 in The World's Most influential People in 2008. It's safe to call him a leading figure in the field of architecture.

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

Read more



Leave a comment