Koolhaas' Seattle Library
As to the Koolhaas phenomenon, you may be a bit extreme in your assessment (even though "extreme-ism" is perhaps one way to explain Koolhaas). I know him and his buildings only through books (excluding seeing an OMA building in Berlin that Koolhaas may not have had anything to do with). I can identify with the "vagueness," but it is exactly that vagueness that gets him all the attention. Haven't you noticed that by and large people don't like direct answers when it comes to design solutions? (I realize I'm potentially going out on a limb with that line of thinking.)
Interestingly enough, I have met with two of Koolhaas's former partners, Elias Zengalis and Eleni Gigantes. From what I can gather, there is an unrelenting drive to be MODERN MODERN MODERN among the present European "stars". Ironically, I believe that Americans (of the USA primarily) are extremely MODERN, and most of the time they don't even think about it. Today's American cities are in a constant battle with their own MODERNITY, which I'm sure you know all too well. American cities are extremely assimilating (absorbing) and at the same time extremely metabolic (equally creative and destructive).
Re: Congregation or Synagogue ?
I revisited Ahavath Israel today, and sadly the facade has been changed, I was told circa 2000. The whole portion of the facade above the recessed entry is no longer brick, but now a salmon colored, textured CMU. This is yet another building to have changed since I last took pictures of it.
It dawned on me last night that both Wright's Beth Sholom and Kahn's Adath Jeshurun are hugely triangular in plan. Wright mailed the preliminary drawings to Rabbi Mortimer Cohen on 15 March 1954. Kahn's design is dated 1954-55. Since Beth Sholom and Adath Jeshurun are neighboring congregations, it wouldn't surprise me at all if architectural rivalry between the congregations was going on, and that Kahn even saw the Wright plans before he came up with his design. Has anyone heard of this possible connection before?
040809a Philadelphia base plan
040809b Ichnographia Campus Martius
040809c Ichnographia Campus Martius, actual scale
040809d Philadelphia and Ichnographia plans, registered at Axis of Life/Benjamin Franklin Parkway
040809e Philadelphia cropped to fit within Ichnographia border
040809f Parkway palimpsest Ichnographia database
08080901 Circle Squared Museum model
The Philadelphia School, deterritorialized
Back in 2003, in to see in Philly, a quondam thread at archinect/forum, I wrote, "There's more obscure early Kahn in the Philadelphia area, kind of like going on a treasure hunt." Since then, someone has actually gone on that "treasure hunt" and published the findings on flickr.
13080901 Philadelphia, mesh grid
13080902 Philadelphia mesh grid Tiber river
13080903 Philadelphia Tiber Logan/Hadrian registration
13080904 Philadelphia ICM Logan/Hadrian registration true north
13080905 Philadelphia mesh grid Tiber Porticus Neronianae