Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, Madelon Vriesendorp, Zoe Zenghelis. Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture: The Tip of the Strip. 1972

Rem Koolhaas, and Elia Zenghelis, with Madelon Vriesendorp, and Zoe Zenghelis Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture: The Tip of the Strip 1972

  • Not on view

These drawings come from a series of eighteen drawings, watercolors, and collages called Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture. The dense pictographic storyboard reflects Koolhaas's earlier stints as journalist and screenwriter and is intended to be read simultaneously as a factual and a fictional scenario for the contemporary metropolis.

The title of the project alludes to Cold War West Berlin, a restricted enclave encircled by a forbidding wall—in effect, a prison on the scale of a metropolis, and one in which people sought refuge voluntarily. Exodus proposes a walled city in a long strip, with tall barriers that cut through London's urban fabric—an intervention designed to create a new urban culture invigorated by architectural innovation and political subversion. Here Koolhaas and his collaborators use collage to create vivid scenes of life within these visionary urban confines.

Gallery label from 75 Years of Architecture at MoMA, 2007.

This drawing, part of a series of eighteen drawings, watercolors, and collages, pictures a walled city within the city of London. In this series, tall barriers cut through the urban fabric, an intervention designed to create a new urban culture invigorated by architectural innovation and political subversion. The dense pictographic storyboard, reflecting Koolhaas’s earlier stints as journalist and screenwriter, is intended to be read as a factual and fictional scenario for the contemporary metropolis. The title of the project alludes to West Berlin’s situation during the Cold War as a restricted enclave within East Germany, encircled by a forbidding wall—in effect, a prison on the scale of a metropolis, in which people sought refuge voluntarily. Koolhaas and his collaborators used collage to create vivid scenes of life within the dystopian urban confines. The project was the catalyst for the founding of the collective architectural practice O.M.A. (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) in 1975.

Gallery label from 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design, September 12, 2012–March 25, 2013.
Medium
Graphite and watercolor on paper
Dimensions
11 3/8 x 16 1/2" (28.9 x 41.9 cm)
Credit
Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Takeo Ohbayashi Purchase Fund, and Susan de Menil Purchase Fund
Object number
367.1996
Copyright
© 2019 Rem Koolhaas
Department
Architecture and Design

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