In His Latest Residential Building, OMA’s Reinier de Graaf Doesn’t Practice What He Preaches

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OMA’s Norra Tornen in Stockholm, whose showy launch purposely coincided with that of a nearby residential project by BIG, is a pedagogical embarrassment, our critic writes.

Last month in Stockholm, OMA partner Reinier de Graaf took a not-so-sly swipe at Bjarke Ingels: “I’m not a reincarnation of Harry Potter,” he said to a packed lecture theater at Stockholm’s KTH University.

De Graaf’s address—following Ingels’ own characteristically slick presentation—was part of a rare architectural double feature: the launch of OMA’s Norra Tornen alongside Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) 79&Park, both residential projects for a private Swedish developer.

Though Ingels once sat next to him at OMA (Ingels worked at the firm from 1998 to 2000), de Graaf seemed to do his best to create rhetorical distance between himself and the charismatic Danish architect. He also seemed to disavow his own project, running through his thoughts on derivative architectural style, economic disparity, and property ownership, before making a comic point of mumbling through rushed slides of Norra Tornen. In fact, de Graaf’s demeanor felt so unconcerned that he seemed embarrassed of the project. He should be…

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