Sometimes, form follows fortuity. In the 1990s, Rem Koolhaas developed an idea for a private house near Rotterdam; when that project was shelved, he adapted the concept to a much larger building — a concert hall in Porto, Portugal.
Now, Joshua Prince-Ramus, who had been a partner with Koolhaas at OMA, has pulled off an even more audacious “reuse” of a cancelled project. Asked to design a fashion-company headquarters in Istanbul, on an impossibly tight schedule, Prince-Ramus made use of plans he had originally developed for the Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena. The Caltech project had been called off just before construction was set to begin. Prince-Ramus says that if there is a wariness among architects about reusing designs, there shouldn’t be. “It’s not about copying,” he says, “but about advancing an idea.”