By Rem Koolhas
Architecture is a strange mixture of persistence and flux, an amalgamation of elements -- some that have been around for over 5,000 years and others that were (re)invented yesterday. The fact that these elements change independently of each other, according to different cycles and economies, and for different reasons, turns each building into a complex collage of the archaic and the current, the site-specific and the standard, mechanical smoothness and the spontaneous. Only by looking at the elements under a wide lens can we recognize the cultural preferences, forgotten symbolism, technological advances, mutations triggered by intensifying global exchange, climatic adaptions, political calculations, regulatory requirements, new digital regimes, and, somewhere in the mix -- the ideas of the architect that constitute the practice of architecture today.
A collection of these essential elements into 15 books in a package launched at the 2014 Venice Biennale that allows us to look through a microscope at the real fundamentals of our buildings and see again the essential design techniques used by any architect, anywhere, anytime.