Everybody wanted to be Rem. Still they want to be Rem Koolhass. Being Rem Koolhass. Not so many wanted to be Zaha, not so many want to become Frank and who remembers Bernard Tschumi anyway? Nobody.
Rem is accessible. To copy Rem is easy. Because there is no Rem, he can be anybody and nobody. He talks about junk space but he's the first to introduce junk space as haut architecture. What is the CCTV if not a big, big bigness piece of junk space?
I've never bought Rem. In fact I can say that SMLXL may have some passages that are putting it among the best that has ever been written as a book on or about architecture. Le Corbusier was a horrible writer (I could talk about “the way of the donkey”, but I'll leave that for a new article) and maybe a horrible person too. Maybe Rem is also a horrible person, as for an architect, we'll never know who's really behind the mask. Nevertheless SMLXL was an influence while I was looking somewhere else. It was an influence for my generation, not for me, as I don't fit my generation., but for others working or studding throughout the second half of the 90s it was capital; I did not care about the book, nor him , as to architecture I'm an idiot as most architects are, so I look only for pictures. SMLXL has many but quite bad, it has also horrible projects and some good texts. I stole a copy in 2009 and I lost it (deliberately) somewhere in Paris while moving. I thought that I was not willing to pay Rem for such a brick. How you steal such a brick? That's another thing, and I'm not willing to say when or from who and more important how I got it. That's my talent and like Rem I do not share secrets.
I saw Rem a couple of times, I mean, the original one, the one that makes buildings, but mostly talks about his (own?) buildings and architecture, not the other Rem who makes shoes in China for a penny and sells them very expensive in London. I saw him talking about preservation, I saw him getting into a swamp because he was getting into one as his way of preserving is as arbitrary as arbitrary is his architecture, as arbitrary is to demolish complete parts of the old Beijing for just preserving something that looks like a pizza slice just to say that he's preserving, that he cares and he's not so bad as one may think or as the rest of his colleagues. I saw him talking about Prada. Bernard Tschumi wears Prada from the tip to the toe. I met Bernard Tschumi once, all in Prada, Prada red scarf, Prada jacket, Prada trousers and Prada shoes ! I'm not joking. He extended his hand and said, hello, Bernard Tschumi. I don't know if I said my name, that to say, meant nothing then. And I'm quite sure nothing now.
Rem maybe has Prada clothes for free. I'm very much sure Bernard pays for his scarfs, Prada scarfs, I don't think that the ones that he had in the 80s were Prada.
The Prada store in Soho is the less similar thing to the project he described where it was almost clear that homeboys were going to go here and there inside with their skates. The only homeboy looking like character to find there is the security guy, I remember how that 1.90 meters over a hundred kilo kind of guy, ask me not to seat in Rem's social space, where Rem said one could seat. I wanted to say to this individual that I heard Rem, the architect behind the store, talking in Paris how that social and public empty space in the store was in fact, so free and social, but, I think that Rem was wearing the mask again, and lying to us, and worse, he was lying to himself. I guess by now it can be pictured that nothing nor nobody are to be found there. It was forbidden to seat, (possibly forbidden to stay if looking like a homeboy) nothing it's more dead in Soho than that store. It's good that around the corner one can visit Frank's one. At least is funnier, but everybody wants to be Rem.
Sometimes or many times they don't look under Rem's mask. One may discover that there are good architects behind it, doing his dirty work, and that's why some of his buildings are actually good, but what is really bad is when he gets into the swamp, but everybody who's copying him (or they) are not willing to copy what its actually good. They just want to repeat what he says, the diagrams, the cakes, bars and graphs he shows, and all that rubbish in that now very old book, that has made so much damage to architecture and architects and future architects. Diagrams and big letters are easy to copy. Good architecture, not.