Rem Koolhaas
The Monacelli Press, New York, 1994; originally published 1978, English
Nonfiction, Urban Design; Nonfiction, Architecture
7.2 x 9.4 inches, paperback, 320 pages
ISBN: 9781885254009
Suggested Retail Price: $35.00

From the Publisher. Rem Koolhaas's celebration and analysis of New York depicts the city as a metaphor for the incredible variety of human behavior. At the end of the 19th, population, information, and technology explosions made Manhattan a laboratory for the invention and testing of a metropolitan lifestyle—"the culture of congestion"—and its architecture.

“Manhattan,” he writes, “is the 20th century's Rosetta Stone . . . occupied by architectural mutations (Central Park, the Skyscraper), utopian fragments (Rockefeller Center, the U.N. Building), and irrational phenomena (Radio City Music Hall).” Koolhaas interprets and reinterprets the dynamic relationship between architecture and culture in a number of telling episodes of New York's history, including the imposition of the Manhattan grid, the creation of Coney Island, and the development of the skyscraper. Delirious New York is also packed with intriguing and fun facts and illustrated with witty watercolors and quirky archival drawings, photographs, postcards, and maps. The spirit of this visionary investigation of Manhattan equals the energy of the city itself.

On 9 book lists
Aric Chen

Koolhaas is one of the great architectural thinkers—possibly ever.




Jeanne Gang

A book that allows you to see how the architecture and urbanism of Koolhaas and OMA continue to pursue the “culture of congestion” written about here. It demonstrates that a thesis constructed as an interesting question—in this case, “if Manhattan had a manifesto, what would it be?”—is far more engaging than one that proves a much-deliberated point. Witty and enjoyable to read, it has little in common with the dry majority of contemporary theory.

Mohsen Mostafavi

Apart from all its other attributes, one of the best books on the idea of the city as an architectural section.

Phil Patton
Michael Rock

The only architecture book on my list and one that I admire immensely, along with S, M, L, XL. Koolhaas is a brilliant prose stylist and one of the funniest, most insightful of theorists. I aspire to his ability to encompass counterintuitive thinking in surprising, wildly entertaining sentences. The premise of Delirious New York is utterly unique and relentlessly rigorous. Everyone else pales by comparison.

Galia Solomonoff

This book offers an idiosyncratic account of disparate events that connect the city of New York. What amazes me is that it is such an easy read and still feels fresh as I review it now so many years after my first time reading it.

Adam Tihany

A brilliant meditation on Manhattan’s urbanism, the culture of congestion.

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