This series is the result of a collaboration between Drawing Matter and architect Richard Hall who, over the past two years, has conducted twenty-three in-depth conversations with key collaborators working with OMA during its formative years. Drawing Matter has long had an interest in the work of OMA in this period, in particular the role of Rem Koolhaas in establishing the model of a horizontal organisational structure and the purpose, and techniques, of drawing in its distinctive repertoire.

Office For Metropolitan Architecture, The Sparkling Metropolis, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 1978. Colour printed poster, 840 x 560 mm. DMC3796.
Office For Metropolitan Architecture Exhibition at Art Net, 1976. Print on paper, 305x423mm. DMC3152.

These conversations, between Hall and members of OMA, charts the practice’s development from its foundation in the mid-1970s to three major competitions in 1989. It is part of a larger body of research by Hall, following the hypothesis that OMA is a ‘project’ in itself. His wider work examines the subject matter and context of the OMA project, along with the tactics and tools employed towards its overarching agenda.

From April 2024, Drawing Matter will be publishing excerpts and transcripts of the conversations, illustrated with key drawings by the practice. Most of the image material is from the in-house project-archive of OMA at the Rotterdam office and/or the personal archives of its previous members as well as the Drawing Matter Collection. The series is organised around three formative phases with three guiding influences—Elia Zenghelis, outside collaborators and Rem Koolhaas—across a 20-year time period in OMA’s development as an office:

  1. London—Foreplay
  2. Elia Zenghelis—Watersheds
  3. Rotterdam—Child’s Crusade
  4. Big Competitions—Reorienting the Modern Project
  5. Collaborators—Satellites
  6. Rem Koolhaas—Initiative

The six posts include conversations with, and archive material from: Alex Wall, Stefano de Martino, Matthias Sauerbruch, Ron Steiner, Elias Veneris, Elia Zenghelis, Kees Christiaanse, Paul de Vroom, Herman de Kovel, Ruurd Rooda, Willem Jan Neutelings, Xaveer de Geyter, Mike Guyer, Luc Reuse, Georges Heintz, Marion Goerdt, Madelon Vrisendorp, Zoe Zenghelis, Hans Werlemann, Claudi Cornaz, Vincent de Rijk, Frans Pathesius, and Rem Koolhaas, in the order in which the posts with conversations will appear.

Portfolio of slides of projects, c.1975-1990, Roosevelt Island 1975; Irish Prime Minister’s Residence 1979; Hotel Sphinx, c.1975-6; Welfare Hotel c. 1975-6; Egg of Columbus, NY 1975; Extension of the Dutch Parliament 1978; Checkpoint Charlie 1983-90; Monaster of St. Gerasimos, Beach at Makrys Giallos, Beach at Skala, Bay of Koutavos; Parc de la Villette 1982-2. DMC3168.

Richard Hall is a Director of General Office. He previously worked at OMA in Rotterdam, Scout in Philadelphia and East Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design in London. Since 2019 Hall has pursued various research activities connected to the subject of ‘economy’ in architecture in general and the design process in particular. In 2021 he curated the Economy Class symposium for the Architecture Foundation, hosting a range of international speakers. He has published articles in leading international journals and is currently pursuing extensive research on OMA as a practice.

Hall teaches a third year design unit at the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff, having previously taught at London Metropolitan University. He is educated at the Leicester School of Architecture, London Metropolitan University and the Architectural Association in London.