Koolhaas and His Omnipotent Masters
Central Chinese Television (CCTV) Headquarters, April 2008. Photo by Jakob Montrasio
According to Rem Koolhaas, there are three seminal events in the history of architecture: Samson tearing down the house of the Philistines in 1100 BC, the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001 AD, and his design in 2006 AD of the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing. Obviously, this is a reductionist view of history — and the kind of hyperbole one expects from a manifesto in Wired Magazine
. But this is no manifesto: instead, as Koolhaas himself recounts the story, he chose between working on NYC's Ground Zero and the Beijing project based on a fortune cookie he was given at a Chinese restaurant — in it, the goofy prognostication "Stunningly Omnipresent Masters Make Minced Meat of Memory."
The story of a single cookie presaging the most important building in China is, quite simply, bizarre...