Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis. Roosevelt Island Redevelopment Project, New York, New York (Axonometric). 1975

Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis Roosevelt Island Redevelopment Project, New York, New York (Axonometric) 1975

  • Not on view

The Roosevelt Island Redevelopment Project, a competition entry prepared by Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, offers a more straightforward transformation of the city's architectural typologies. Four identical stepped blocks rise on the waterfront of the East River island. Between them run extensions of the city street grid bordered by low-rise "synthetic brownstones" with stoops, postmodern facades, and mid-block gardens. Seven monumental towers echo the dimensions of the grid.

Publication excerpt from an essay by Terence Riley, in Matilda McQuaid, ed., Envisioning Architecture: Drawings from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002, p. 172.
Additional text

In the mid-1960s there was a movement to redevelop Roosevelt Island, the narrow strip of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, which had been dedicated to hospitals, asylums, and prisons since the early nineteenth century. Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis entered a 1974 competition for the north end of the island, with a strategy to map elements, concepts, and typologies based on nearby Manhattan, in contrast to earlier plans, which had ignored the island's urban context. Thus, they literally extended the city grid between Seventy-first and Seventy-fifth streets to Roosevelt Island. As in Manhattan, Seventy-second Street was to be a main thoroughfare lined with shops and restaurants. Rows of "synthetic brownstones" made from glass, rock, plastic, marble, and aluminum were framed by highrise buildings situated so as to maximize the views.

Publication excerpt from an essay by Bevin Cline and Tina di Carlo, in Terence Riley, ed., The Changing of the Avant-Garde: Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002, p. 144.
Architectural firm
OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture)
Gouache and graphite on board
29 x 38 5/8" (73.7 x 98.1 cm)
Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation
Object number
© 2020 Rem Koolhaas
Architecture and Design

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].