Architect Rem Koolhaas’s Protégés

January 23, 2014
The Wall Street Journal — by Fred A. Bernstein

 “…Matthias Hollwich is committed to creating ‘socially charged architecture.’ Being gay is helpful, he says, in that it gives him an outsider’s perspective on design.” In 2011, the Pavilion, a legendary discotheque in Fire Island Pines, was destroyed by fire. HWKN designed its replacement, with wooden trusses that appear to strut—giving the resort town a potent architectural symbol. The firm’s other projects range in size from residential interiors and a restaurant prototype to a 2.2 million-square-foot mixed-use development in New Jersey that’s expected to include that state’s tallest building. Hollwich spent six years at OMA before he moved to New York in 2006. After renting a rare Bauhaus-style apartment in Midtown, he recently moved to a new high-rise in order to learn about the building type from the inside, like an architect’s version of method acting. Hollwich, 42, continues the OMA tradition of open-ended inquiry while teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, where he leads a seminar on architecture for the aging.