Openness and Fluidity as Strategy

written by Vera Grimmer
architects Dieter Henke and Marta Schreieck


In a conversation with Dietmar Steiner for the Viennese newspaper Der Standard in 2001, Rem Koolhaas, one of the most influential architects, argued, Architects do not have any power, neither economic nor political. These words are accurate for the most part, but everything is not as simple, however, because architects have always been the ones to create the material image of the built part of the world, clearly conditioned by ever changing social and economic factors. These factors have often had fatal impact as well, especially in the 20th century when individual architects placed themselves at the service of various totalitarian regimes. But, at the same time, others, quite to the contrary, advocated a better, more just world, believing in the power and the ability of architects to realize it as well. Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers changed our world, transforming the utopia of the avant-garde into the reality of the Centre Pompidou.