Reisen in 'The Generic City'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The journal article was published in an edited journal on architect's travels. It sets Rem Kolhaas’ essay "The Generic City" (1996) in relation to the condition of its production – the author's constant state of travelling – and uses Koolhaas' own references, given in the glossary of the essay, to investigate the questions of how the state of being on the move and foreign influenced his writing of contemporary culture and how the essay originated through being in foreign cultures. Koolhaas' relation to travelling seems very obvious. The diagram 'OMA Travel Behaviour' (1993) states that the Dutch architect at the time spent 305 nights per year in a hotel, almost every night except Sundays, and travelled a distance of 360.000 km a year, roughly 1.000 km per day. Travelling seemed to have become an everyday experience for him. What are the consequences of this state of constant travelling for the theoretical work of Koolhaas, particularly for his writings on contemporary culture, city and architecture? The journal article takes his seminal essay "The Generic City" (1996) as a case study. What happens if we read the essay, equally represented in image and text, as a travelogue of a tourist in a fictional city, put together from notes made in different cities along the journey? What image of contemporary culture is shaped and represented in this process? What can we reveal if we apply the logic of travelling to the content, creation and effect of Koolhaas' essay? The paper gives answers to these questions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-136
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


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