For instance, what if we replaced the word “women” in the memo with another group? What if the memo said that biological differences amongst Black, Hispanic, or LGBTQ employees explained their underrepresentation in tech and leadership roles? Would some people still be discussing the merit of the memo’s arguments or would there be a universal call for swift action against its author? I don’t ask this to compare one group to another, but rather to point out that the language of discrimination can take many different forms and none are acceptable or productive.
Koolhaas is polite but seems eager to escape. After a cup of coffee, we excuse ourselves and begin to navigate our way through the hall’s cavernous rooms. Occasionally, he stops to draw my attention to an architectural feature: the moody ambience, for instance, of an auditorium clad in plywood and synthetic leather. When we reach the main concert space, a raw concrete shell, we stand there for a long while. Koolhaas sometimes seems to be a reluctant architect—someone who is unconcerned with conventional ideas of beauty—but he is a master of the craft, and I can’t help marveling at the intimacy of the space. The room is perfectly proportioned, so that even sitting at the back of the upper balcony you feel as though you were pressing up against the stage.