Organisation of Programme and Movement

CASE STUDIES/ OMA and Rem Koolhaas


Architectural specificity + Programatic inditerminancy  = ”an architecture that alows any shift, modification, replacement or subsitution to occur without damaging the initial hypotesis

Rem Koolhaas on the Parc de la Vilette scheme

The New York Downtown Athletics Club – Delirious New York/ Rem Koolaas

The New York Downtown Athletics Club is a highrise building that consists of stacked floors connected by an elevator.  Each floor can  be adapted to any kind of programme independent of what happens  other places in the building. Movement and distribution through the building is by means of an elevator.  As the floors are separated from eatch other the elevator is the only means of getting from A to B, no interaction will occur between the different levels. By moving through the building no one will totally comprehend the multitude of activities that the building encloses. The building can best be understood through its section.   The building envelope is closed and separetes its interior functions from its exterior urban context that is the grid plan of New York. The architectural specificity of this building is the stacking and repetition of floors connected by a vertical movement (eleveators). The fact of programmatic indeterminancy implies that each floor wil have to adapt to different activities and functions. Each level will be able to do so, but independent of eachother.   This is an architecture that allows any kind of change withouth breaking its basic principle of stacking. It has a small footprint and is a highly densified typology.



Parc de La Vilette/ OMA

A scheme for horizontal distribution of programme intersected and connected by roads (The boulevard & promenade)   Each programme is organized strips. ”This tactic of layering creates the maximum length of “borders” between the maximum number of programmatic components and will therebyguarantee the maximum permeability of each programmatic band and – through this interference -the maximum number of programmatic mutations.” The organisation of Parc the la Villette encourages interaction between the different programmes. It allows for a movement through the complext that nourishes all episodes of the park and ensures their most intense exploitation. This movement is horizontal and consists of a wide street, the boulevard that perpendiculary intersected the strips. The second system of distribution is the promenade. The Promenade cuts through a series of public plazas and activities along the strips. Instead of a enclosed envelope such as the New Yorks Downtown Athletics club each strip is separated from a transparent wall of trees. The row of trees will create a visual layering of the different identeties of the strip. This scheme is a horisontal arangement of programme and can best be understood through its plan. ”The layering is not unlike the experience of a high-rise building, with its superimposed floors all capable of supporting different programmatic events, yet all contributing to a summation that is more than the accumulation of parts.” Compared to New York Downtown Athletics club this scheme is a congested horisontal sprawl. It has alarge footprint, but at the same time ensures programatic permeabiliy through its organisation of movement and programme.

Jussieu Library/OMA

Jussieu libary is a building located in Paris, at the junction of two axes: an urban one leading from a metro entrance to the River Seine and a green one parallel to the river.   Similar to New Yorks Downtown Athletics Club Jussieu library consists of a stacking of floors to ensure a tredimentional densification on the site., as oposed to the horisontal sprawl of Parc de La vilette. But at the same time it is similar to the Villette scheme. Instead of a simple stacking of one floor on top of the other, sections of each floor are manipulated to connect with those above and below. The floors are made vertical, as a intensified landscape.  In this way a single trajectory traverses the entire structure like a warped interior Boulevard.. Through its scale and variety, the effect of the inhabited planes becomes almost that of a street, a theme which influences the interpretation and planning of the Boulevard with programmatic urban elements in the interior: plazas, parks, monumental staircases, cafes, shops. Escalators and elevators provide shorter routes between floors. The building’s facades were mainly covered with transparent glass.


Next step:



THE KEMP HOUSE/ existing structure


Vertical movement


Existing organisation of programmes