OMA was founded in 1975 by Rem Koolhaas, Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp as a collaborative office practicing architecture and urbanism. The office gained renown through a series of groundbreaking entries in major competitions: Dutch Parliament Extension (1978), Koepel Panopticon Prison (1980), Parc de la Villette, Paris (1982), ZKM, Karlsruhe (1989), Tres Grande Bibliotheque and Two Libraries for Jussieu University, Paris (1993). During these formative years OMA also realized ambitious projects, ranging from private residences to large scale urban plans: Villa dall’Ava, Paris (1991), Nexus Housing, Fukuoka, Japan (1991), the Kunsthal, Rotterdam (1992). In 1994 OMA completed Euralille, a 70-hectare business and civic center in northern France comprising the European hub for high-speed rail. OMA is a leading international partnership practicing architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis. OMA’s buildings and masterplans around the world insist on intelligent forms while inventing new possibilities for content and everyday use. OMA is led by ten partners – Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon, Reinier de Graaf, Shohei Shigematsu, Iyad Alsaka, David Gianotten, Chris van Duijn, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Jason Long and Michael Kokora – and maintains offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing, Hong-Kong, Doha and Dubai.
OMA-designed buildings currently under construction include Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Taipei Performing Arts Centre, Qatar National Library, Qatar Foundation Headquarters, Bibliothèque Multimédia à Vocation Régionale in Caen, Bryghusprojektet in Copenhagen, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, and Faena Arts Center in Miami.
OMA’s recently completed projects include Fondazione Prada in Milan (2015); G-Star Headquarters in Amsterdam (2014); Shenzhen Stock Exchange (2013); De Rotterdam, a large mixed-use tower in the Netherlands (2013); CCTV Headquarters in Beijing (2012); New Court, the headquarters for Rothschild Bank in London (2011); Milstein Hall at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York (2011); and Maggies Centre, a cancer care centre in Glasgow’ (2011). Earlier buildings include Casa da Música in Porto (2005), Seattle Central Library (2004), and Netherlands Embassy in Berlin (2003).
The counterpart to OMA’s architectural practice is AMO, a research studio based in Rotterdam. While OMA remains dedicated to the realization of buildings and masterplans, AMO operates in areas beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture, including media, politics, sociology, renewable energy, technology, fashion, curating, publishing, and graphic design.
see also: Studio Vorontsovy – Architectural Beauty
AMO often works in parallel with OMA’s clients to fertilize architecture with intelligence from this array of disciplines. This is the case with Prada: AMO’s research into identity, in-store technology, and new possibilities of content-production in fashion helped generate OMA’s architectural designs for new Prada epicenter stores in New York and Los Angeles. In 2004, AMO was commissioned by the European Union to study its visual communication, and designed a coloured “barcode” flag – combining the flags of all member states – that was used during the Austrian presidency of the EU.
AMO has worked with Universal Studios, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, Heineken, Ikea, Condé Nast and Harvard University, produced exhibitions at the Venice Biennale (on the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg) and Venice Architecture Biennale (on the development of the Gulf in 2006, on Preservation in 2010, and Architecture by Civil Servants in 2012), and guest-edited issues of the magazines Wired and Domus. Recent projects include a plan for a Europe-wide renewable energy grid, a 720-page book on the Metabolism architecture movement (Project Japan, Taschen, 2010) and the educational program of Strelka, a new postgraduate school in Moscow.