IDFA - Rem

Tomas Koolhaas presents a portrait of his famous father, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, and some of the iconic buildings he has designed around the world.

Rem Koolhaas is the best-known architect in the Netherlands and is also highly influential internationally. In his home base of Rotterdam, buildings such as the Kunsthal museum and the city hall testify to his talent and vision, and he’s responsible for iconic buildings all over the world, including the CCTV headquarters in Beijing, China and the Casa da Música in Porto, Portugal.

Filmmaker Tomas Koolhaas made this portrait of his famous father, following him on trips overseas and interviewing the people who use some of his buildings, such as the Boudets, who live in the celebrated Villa dall’Ava in Paris, and the homeless people for whom the public library in Seattle has virtually become a home.

The young Koolhaas mainly films his father in close-up, but never interviews him directly; in voice-over we hear him discuss his ideas on architecture, beauty, functionality, art and life in general. Supported by a powerful soundtrack, his statements create a picture of a man for whom architecture is much more than just a profession or vocation – it’s his life.