The world according to Koolhaas

The architect will give the closing keynote address at the World Architecture Festival.

Speakers at World Architecture Festival 2018 will include (clockwise from top left): Jeanne Gang, Founding Principal, Studio Gang; Rem Koolhaas, Founder of Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA); Francine Houben, Founding Partner and Creative Director of Mecanoo; Li Xiadong, Professor of Architecture, Tsinghua University; Anni Sinnemäki Deputy Mayor of Helsinki; Professor Sir Peter Cook, Director, CRAB Studio; Marieke van Doorninck, Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam; Sir David Adjaye, Principal, Adjaye Associates.

This year is an exciting one for the World Architecture Festival (WAF). The programme (28-30 November) takes advantage of its new venue, Amsterdam. Various speakers will outline the city’s dramatic transformation and how architecture is contributing to it, while Dutch architecture and design luminaries confirmed to speak include Francine Houben, Founding Partner and Creative Director of Mecanoo; Kees Christiaanse, Founder of KCAP Architects and Planners; and Caroline Bos, Co-founder of UN Studio. In keeping with the global focus of the event, they are joined on the speaker’s roster by established international architects including Li Xiaodong, Chad Oppenheim, Principal of Oppenheim Architecture + Design and John Wardle, Principal of John Wardle Architects.

The INSIDE World Festival of Interiors, which is co-located with WAF and takes place simultaneously in Amsterdam, has also revealed four keynote speakers that will be headlining at the event: India Mahdavi, principal of India Mahdavi architecture and design; Christina Seilern, Founder of Studio Seilern; Eva Jiřičná, Partner of AI – Design; and Maria Warner Wong, co-founder of WOW.

As well as architects and designers from leading global practices, the diverse speaking programme for both WAF and INSIDE includes commentators from leading educational institutions, city planners and media organisations: Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki; Marieke van Doorninck, Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam; Li Xiadong, Professor of Architecture, Tsinghua University; Professor Lesley Lokko, Head of Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg; Aaron Betsky, Dean of The School of Architecture at Taliesin; and the BBC arts commentar Razia Iqbal

This year’s programme responds to the Festival’s theme, ‘Identity’ and will include speeches, discussions and debates examining the complex and deep-rooted relationship between architecture, design and identity. Presentations and talks on the event’s main stage and the festival hall stage in Amsterdam will analyse not only how architecture can express personal, community, civic and national identity, but also how buildings and places increasingly need to contend with issues around ethnic or gender identity.

The festival’s speaking programme will culminate with a live interview of Koolhaas conducted by architectural historian and cultural theorist Charles Jencks, focusing on the current and future notions of global architectural identity.

Paul Finch, Programme Director of World Architecture Festival commented: ‘We’re delighted that Rem Koolhaas has joined our already stellar list of speakers for this year’s event. This is the first time we’ll be holding WAF in the Dutch capital, and just as the Dutch masters presided over a golden age of artistic endeavour and expression in the 17th century, Rem and his contemporaries have spearheaded architectural innovation that has been exported and embraced around the world. Attendees of WAF 2018 can look forward to speeches and talks from them and a wide selection of architects, designers, engineers, academics and urban planners as they articulate and interrogate challenges related to this year’s event theme – Identity’.