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Content rich

Gold medallist Rem Koolhaas accepted his medal at the RIBA this week with a fresh publishing triumph under his belt: something called Content, a cross between a book, magazine and catalogue, with cover lines including 'Perverted Architecture'; 'Sweatshop Demographics'; Big Brother Skyscrapers'; 'Al Qaeda Fetish'; and 'Martha Stewart Urbanism'. Ooooh, that Rem, he's so naughty. Actually extremely naughty if you turn to the back of the publication, where previous 'issues' are given the hard-core porn look. The bulk of the content, is, however, quite brilliant, including a marvellous interview with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, and unexpected shafts of information and insight on subjects as diverse as population, water, the Hermitage, concrete, etc. Originally intended to accompany the recent opening of the firm's embassy design in Berlin, it is several weeks late, but perhaps the editors knew what was coming. Their introduction notes that the book inevitably 'bears the marks of globalisation and the market, ideological siblings that, over the past 20 years, undercut the stability of every facet of contemporary life. This book is born of that instability. It is not timeless; it's almost out of date already. It uses volatility as a license to be immediate, informal, blunt; it embraces instability as a new source of freedom.' Right on!

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