Written by JDS
The Rza, "The Abbot":
Classics upon classics. The visionary producer behind one of the greatest rap groups to ever assemble and his brainchild, The Wu-Tang Clan.
Rem Koolhaas, "The Architect":
Designs for days. An architect, theorist, and writer and Principle Architect of the firm OMA of Rotterdam, Netherlands and its international branches. One of the most influential designers of our time.
Koolhaas and Rza are "Deconstructivists". They take something typical and break it apart, or deconstruct and warp it into something new. Though, as devout urban dwellers, where Koolhaas and The Rza really connect is through the idea of "The City". The City's bustling, overlapping, multicultural qualities inform the way in which they shape their art. The bleak piano loop on "C.R.E.A.M" or the clashing artistic sensibilities found in Koolhaas' New York Prada Store are works inspired from the mixed conditions of urban areas.
An infinite source of inspiration, Rza's own hometown of NYC and its many subcultures afforded him a palette of sources to draw from including comic books, kung-fu and Asian crime cinema, Italian mafia culture, experience of the ghetto, and 5% knowledge. By slowing and speeding samples, setting haunting tones, reinforcing the black man as God, or splicing movie dialogue between verses, The Rza's talent in utilizing these sources is a scholarly study in mash-up art—a talent Koolhaas also possesses in great abundance.
Considering Rem's childhood of living across large cities such as Amsterdam & Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Jakarta (Indonesia), as well as his extensive stay in NYC (the basis of his firm OMA New York) it's a given that he's been introduced to different cultures and surroundings which have manifested in approach to creation. Rem's angle in the process of design is taking "Program" (or the functions found in a building such as a cafeteria) and making "Cross-Programming". Where a traditional building program is placed together thoughtfully, as in a lounge might be placed outside of a bar or restaurant, Rem might introduce a small library in the place of that lounge. Two seemingly arbitrary and totally different sets of program come together to create a unique condition.
CCTV Tower vs. Wu Tang Forever: Statuesque in their stoicism, these two pieces stand as two heavy landmarks of their creators.
Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre vs. Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers): The Wyly Theater's groundbreaking design of a configurable performing arts center changed the way in which the approach to designing that type of building will be done for many years in the same way in which 36 Chambers changed Hip-Hop forever.
Seattle Central Library vs. Only Built For Cuban Linx: A collaborative effort between three parties, LMN Architects of Seattle, Joshua Ramus, and Rem Koolhaas was similar to Rza, Chef, and Ghost coming together to make those marvelous coke tales, and one of the most popular of the Wu-Tang albums. From the outside looking in with it's strange geometry, the SCL makes you wonder "How the hell does that shit work?" like the idea of a rap album influenced by Chinese crime flicks, kung-fu cinema, made by a group of dust-smokers. But with a talented group of cats and a leading man with a vision... it works.