‘The Lives of a Block: The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the Empire State Building’ by Rem Koolhaas

Koolhaas again. No regrets. Delirious New York is a book that almost all architects have on their shelves but few outside architecture have heard of, let alone read. That’s a shame. It’s an exercise in backplotting the “accidental genius” of the greatest American city. If you wanted to end up with New York, what rules would you apply, what conditions would you create? But its section vary widely, and in Lives of a Block, Koolhaas unpacks the meaning of hotels. “A Hotel,” he writes, “is a plot” – not a plot in the sense of a site, or a block, but a narrative, a human drama, “a cybernetic universe with its own laws generating random but fortuitous collisions between human beings who would never have met elsewhere.”

In Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, 1994, Monacelli

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