S, M, L, XL
by Rem Koolhaas, Bruce Mau

This extraordinary, massive, and mind-boggling 1,300-page book combines essays, manifestos, diaries, fairy tales, travelogues, a cycle of meditations on the contemporary city, and complex illustrations with work produced by Koolhaas's Office for Metropolitan Architecture over the past 20 years. This almost overwhelming accumulation of words and images illuminates the condition of architecture today--its splendors and miseries--exploring and revealing the corrosive effects of politics, context, the economy, and globalization.

In some ways, this is the "Medium is the message" of 1990s architectural discourse: guaranteed to be hugely influential in the coming decades, but grossly misunderstood by those who have not read it. The core arguments it makes about metropolitan architecture-- accepting complexity and lack of centralized control--are similar to those of Kevin Kelly's "Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World."

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