Company – Rotterdam, Netherlands

1999 onwards

AMO is the research, branding and publication studio of the architectural practice, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), which was founded in London in 1975 by Rem Koolhaas and others and relocated to Rotterdam in 1978. AMO was established in 1999 and is conceived as the mirror image of OMA, operating as a think tank within and independently of the firm. It is directed by Reinier de Graaf alongside Koolhaas and aims at expanding architectural production towards broader issues around culture, identity and organisation. It also enables the practice to interrogate architectural production and research without waiting for commissions and without the need to build anything.

Conceived in response to a number of building commissions, including three stores for Prada at a time when the company was undergoing a complete rebrand, the headquarters of Universal Studios which during the design underwent three takeovers and Schiphol Ariport which whilst having commissioned a new building in the Netherlands was considering a move to an island in the North Sea. For OMA, it was clear that by the time these building commissions would be built they would already be out of date. They therefore required another way of operating architecturally which could keep up with the pace of change in private enterprise. AMO was thus established to provide strategic input expanding the remit of architecture into the realm of the virtual including media, fashion, communication and information; they have since completed a number of diverse projects, including a proposal for a new EU flag, Volume Magazine, a publication project in collaboration with Archis and C-Lab of Columbia University, whilst also working alongside OMA on their building projects. It also brings together Koolhaas' teaching and research at the Harvard Design School Project on the City with the rest of the practice's work.

Other Work

AMO et al., 'Al Manakh', [accessed 14 April 2010].

AMO-OMA et al., Al Manakh (Amsterdam: Archis Foundation, 2007).

Rem Koolhaas and Edgar Cleijne, Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi (ed.), Lagos: How It Works (Baden: Lars Muller Publishers, 2007).

Rem Koolhaas, 'OMA*AMO: What Architecture Can Do?', YouTube, 2009, [accessed 14 April 2010].

Rem Koolhaas and Jennifer Sigler, 'Rem Koolhaas [Interview]', Index Magazine, 2000, [accessed 12 April 2010].

Rem Koolhaas, AMO-OMA and &&&, Content (Köln: Taschen, 2004).

References About

Gary Wolf, 'Exploring the Unmaterial World', Wired 8.06, 2000, [accessed 14 April 2010].


"Maybe, architecture doesn't have to be stupid afterall. Liberated from the obligation to construct, it can become a way of thinking about anything - a discipline that represents relationships, proportions, connections, effects, the diagram of everything.'

- Rem Koolhaas, AMO-OMA and &&&, Content (Köln: Taschen, 2004), p. 20.

"You know the book (S, M, L, XL) was published at a moment of serious crisis in our office, so everything that happened since is part of the construction of a new office, the construction of a new way of looking at architecture that culminated in the founding of AMO. AMO doesn't stand for anything specific, but it could be Architecture Media Organization. OMA and AMO are like Siamese twins that were recently separated. We divide the entire field of architecture into two parts: one is actual building, mud, the huge effort of realizing a project; the other is virtual - everything related to concepts and "pure" architectural thinking. The separation enables us to liberate architectural thinking from architectural practice."

- Rem Koolhaas, Interview with Index magazine.


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