OMA Book Machine at the Architectural Association

A 40,000-page book binding together 35 years of writing by architects OMA is on show at the Architectural Association in London.

Called OMA Book Machine, the exhibition forms a retrospective of the studio's written output including books and pamphlets from their archives.

The show opens on 8 May and continues until 4 June.

See all our stories about OMA in our special category.

Images: OMA Compendium. Photographs are by Valerie Bennett/AA.

Here's some more information from the Architectural Association:

OMA Book Machine: The Books of OMA
8 May – 4 June 2010 AA Gallery

OMA Book Machine is the first ever retrospective of the books produced by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture – a practice co-founded by a writer, Rem Koolhaas, largely on the basis of a book, Delirious New York (1978). The centrepiece of the show is a specially- made 40,000-page book, binding together hundreds of OMA’s pamphlets and books made over 35 years of architectural thought, work and provocation.

Many OMA books – like S,M,L,XL (1995) and Exodus or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture (made by the founders of OMA in 1975, and submitted by Koolhaas as his fifth-year thesis at the AA) – have had a decisive impact on architectural practice and book publishing in general. Others, like MoMA Charrette, made for the (lost) competition to expand New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1997, have remained hidden in the OMA archive. By compiling and presenting the depth and relentlessness of OMA’s dedication to the making of books as a still-revolutionary architectural form, OMA Book Machine reveals how central books remain to architecture today.

Curated and edited by AA director Brett Steele and AA art director Zak Kyes in collaboration with the OMA Archive Collection, Book Machine offers a hitherto unseen retrospective not only of a key architectural office of our time, but of architectural culture itself, which has long been defined by and circulated through books and the printed page – a medium that today is undergoing profound, even revolutionary, changes.

The 40,000-page compendium, Books of OMA, made after painstaking archeology in the OMA archive, brings together a vast selection of the bound volumes made by OMA and its think tank, AMO. It is inspired by the Acquis Communitaire – the 80,000-page collection of European laws and regulations defining the workings of the European Union – that OMA produced and presented in its Image of Europe exhibition in Brussels in 2004.

The most recent product of OMA’s Book Machine is Al Manakh 2: Gulf Cont’d, the second installment in a guide to the Gulf region, this time focusing on the impact of the financial crisis and the increasing interconnectedness of the region nevertheless. Al Manakh 2: Gulf Cont’d will be launched at the AA Bookshop simultaneously with the exhibition – and will be found at the very end of the OMA Acquis.

Coinciding with OMA Book Machine will be an exhibition in the AA’s Front Members Room on the work of Bedford Press, the newly formed imprint of AA Publications established to print and distribute small publications featuring the work of students, writers, artists and designers. Adjacent to this show, the AA’s bar will display a large selection of one-off books made by AA students in recent years as part of their studies. Spring 2010 at the AA presents a season of books and aims to demonstrate the enduring importance of books as, and not only in, the architecture of our time.

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