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Steven Holl


One of the best-known and most influential architects and theorists of the contemporary era, American architect Steven Holl (1947) is known internationally for his numerous projects built primarily in the United States and Asia (China, Japan, South Korea).

After graduating from Seattle University and studying in London and Rome, he opened Steven Holl Architects in New York in 1976.
In his vast portfolio, Holl has synthesized “philosophical reasoning and design methodologies” in research that is at the same time “experience and criticism” (Heck-Chiarone).
His work is “marked by neo-expressionist accents” and by the exploration of “irregular conformations with the aid of digital technologies”, in particular his many projects for universities, campuses, and art institutes, an area in which Holl is one of the major points of reference in contemporary architecture.
In his important essay Anchoring (1989), Holl defines the “dialectic relationship” between buildings and sites, examples of which are the New York projects of the 1980s, which brought fame and recognition to his firm.

The many educational buildings he has designed include the Department of Philosophy of New York University (2004-07), a complete interior renovation of an 1890 angular building “within a concept which organizes the new spaces around light and phenomenal properties of materials”, and the award-winning Reid Building (2014), an extension of the historic 1909 masonry building by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the Glasgow School of Art, created by contrast with transparent materials and volumes modelled from the inside out and vice versa.

His Pool House in New York (1981) and Museum of Modern Art Apartment (1986) reveal in particular the historic and geographic aspects of the buildings; his showroom for the Pace Collection (1986) clearly conveys the poetics of the De Stjil movement.
Among his European works, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, based on the concept of “chiasma: fusion of matter-space”, stands out for its strong experimentation, while the Stretto House in Dallas (1992) was inspired by a musical score by Bartók.
His D.E. Shaw & Co. Offices (1992) and the high-impact urban façade for the Storefront for Art and Architecture (1993) are also worthy of note.
Holl has designed many important single-family homes and residential complexes, including works in Japan: the Void Space in Fukuoka (1991), in which Holl highlights the “void” of Buddhist cosmology, and the Makuhari Bay New Town complex of 190 residential units in Chiba (1996).
In Beijing, Holl designed the Linked Hybrid residential complex (2009) consisting of 644 apartments located in eight 22-storey towers, connected in the air by covered suspended bridges.

In Shenzhen, his “horizontal skyscraper”, a multipurpose “floating” structure as long as the Empire State Building is tall, is characterized by the lush tropical garden inspired by the projects of Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
Holl’s cultural projects include the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City (2007), with the addition of over 15,000 square metres of exhibition space, the enhancement of the existing sculpture park, and the construction of five massive “glass lenses” that emerge from the ground and “give shape to a luminous integration between architecture, art, and landscape”; the futuristic Herning Museum of Contemporary Art in Denmark (2009), which unites three cultural institutions for visual arts and music and blends beautifully into the landscape; the expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. with three pavilions immersed in greenery, linked to the main building by an underground passageway.

Of remarkable scenic impact is the Chapel of St. Ignatius in Seattle (1997), featuring light volumes that emerge from the roof, metaphorically echoing the programme of Jesuit worship.
As an essayist and theorist, Holl has written a number of books, including Parallax (2000); Urbanisms: Working with Doubt (2009); and Scale (2012). Writings about Holl include the monograph by Robert McCarter (Phaidon, 2015).
Steven Holl selected works
- Masterplan University College Campus (progetto), Dublino (Irlanda), 2020
- Centre for Creative Design, University College (progetto), Dublino (Irlanda), 2020
- Angers Collectors Museum and Hotel (progetto), Angers (Francia), 2020
- The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C. (USA), 2020
- Malawi Library (progetto), Lilongwe (Malawi), 2020
- Ampliamento campus del Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (USA), 2020
- Taiwan Chinpaosan Necropolis, Taipei (Taiwan), 2020
- Hunters Point Community Library - Queens, New York (USA), 2019
- Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (USA), 2018
- Institute for Contemporary Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (USA), 2018
- Lewis Arts Complex, Princeton University, Princeton (USA), 2017
- Visaul Arts Building, Università dell'Iowa, Iowa City (USA), 2016
- Reid Building, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow (GB), 2014
- Beirut Marina - Zaitunay Bay, Beirut (Libano), 2014
- Nanjing Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing (Cina), 2013
- Campbell Sports Center - Columbia University New York (USA), 2014
- Daeyang Gallery & House, Seoul (Corea del Sud), 2012
- Cité de l’Océan et du Surf, Biarritz (Francia) 2011
- Linked Hybrid, Pechino (Cina), 2009
- Horizontal Skyscraper - Vanke Center, Shenzhen (Cina), 2009
- Museo di Arte Contemporanea, Herning (Danimarca), 2009
- Writing With Light House, Long Island, NY (USA), 2004
- Sarphatistraat Offices, Amsterdam (Olanda), 2000
- Casa “Y”, Catskills, New York (USA), 1999
- Museo di arte contemporanea Kiasma, Helsinki (Finlandia), 1998
- Cappella di S. Ignazio, Università di Seattle (USA), 1996
- Makuhari Bay New Town, Chiba (Giappone), 1996
- Tower of Silence, Manchester (USA), 1992
- Stretto House, Dallas (USA), 1991
- Void Space - Hinged Space Housing, Fukuoka (Giappone), 1991
- Uffici D.E. Shaw & Company, New York (USA), 1991
- Martha’s Vineyard House (USA), 1988
- Museum of Modern Art Apartment, New York (USA), 1986
- Pool House and Sculpture Studio, Scarsdale, New York (USA) 1981
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