Based in Beijing and New York, with a team of 40 people, the firm evokes a ripple in thought-driving ideas and pragmatic concepts to space making. Taking sustainability in one hand and modernism in another, the company is ready to set new benchmarks in the field of architecture and design.
Steven Holl Architect works with seven basic principles forming the foundation of every design; a strong idea that backs up the creation, initiating a social condensation for people to meet and live with mutual support, vital importance to proportions and natural elements, the inclusion of newly discovered materials and techniques of construction, a collaboration of team members, innovation in terms of sustainability and ecology, and anchoring a link to the context by use of textures or poetic expressions.
Let’s take a walk through some of their iconic masterpieces, hang in here!
1. LEWIS ARTS COMPLEX
Giving a new gateway into Princeton University, this campus connects the arts, dance, and theatre with a centered forum. The embedded spaces within, separate envelopes making every building ‘a thing inside a thing’ encapsulates the beauty of this structure. It is also designed and built to evoke curiosity through designated views and blockage of sights, a beautiful play around the campus.
2. HUNTERS POINT LIBRARY
Completed in 2019 in the United States with a backdrop of skyscrapers and modernist structures, this library is a perfect blend into the context. The façade with concrete shells exhibits grace as well as plays the role of a structural system that bears the load.
The cuts in the façade emphasize to show the interior circulation including the stairs and escalators. The library interior is designed with a hierarchy of spaces, ranging from intimate reading nooks to open public spaces.
3. GLASSELL SCHOOL OF ART
Made as a museum of exhibits, this building in Houston has three floors of positive and negative articulation running through the patterned façade. A plaza with sculptures designed by Isamu Noguchi is bordered on two sides by this L-shaped structure with a sloping roof turning into a usable amphitheater at its end into the plaza. The cut-in windows in the facades make sure the classrooms receive ambient natural light.
4. EX OF IN HOUSE
In an area of 916 sq.ft, this residence is minimal yet elegant, breaking the cliché requirements of a house and the ordinary outlook of living space. A new expressive language in this marvel bounds to bring in more energy to the interiors, freed from principles and aims. On a forested rock, this building seems to break out of its grounds, with sensual essence made prominent over aesthetic values.
5. SEONA REID BUILDING
Instead of blending into an older architectural environment, this project envisions a symbiotic existence of two contrasting yet meaningful styles. The structure utilizes white translucent materials with elaborate openings right next to a Mackintosh red building with masonry details, an impressive strike that’s never thought of. Creating a new stand in the urban stream, the interior possesses qualities that can be envisioned for any art studio in modern times.
6. CAMPBELL SPORTS CENTER
This modernist structure forming the gateway to the outdoor sports program of Columbia University aims at creating healthy and fit bodies and minds. With all it points on the ground and lines floating the airs, this design process deserves all the claps.
7. DAEYANG GALLERY AND HOUSE
Completed in South Korea by 2012, this project was a part of the ‘architectonics of music’ research thesis. With three soil-colored blocks forging upwards from a continuous white gallery space, this structure utilizes natural light and wind to its highest degree with skylights and window strips. Any visitor is bound to feel an incredible experience as he travels through the passages and atriums.
8. SARPHATISRAAT OFFICES
Being one of the oldest renovation projects of the firm, this structure is an absolute beauty of contrast and harmony. Though the exterior façade of perforated teal copper sheets is in no blend with the brick masonry work of the adjacent buildings, the interiors are kept plain white to imbed fusion. With the copper on the outside to the wood walls in the interiors, everything from plumbing to electrical wiring runs through space, making it the best in utilizing negative nooks.
9. MUSEUM OF OCEAN AND SURF
In collaboration with Solange Fabiao, this museum washed in white is complete coolness to the eye. The shaping of the form evolves from the thought of concaving everything under the skies and seas. This is enunciated through moving images and animated lights through wavy passages and reflected views. With glass boulders facing the ocean to the curving around of the building towards it makes the building a replica of its vision.
10. T SPACE
This architectural creation has an incredible outlook. The ‘T’ space made of wood is placed next to a stone-made ‘U’ house which was later added with an ‘L’ element made of steel. The T space is a definition of well-designed proportions, clear and defined use of materials, and sustainable approaches. From pivoted windows with spaces for candles eliminating the need for electricity to wooden ramps making it inclusive, this space is acknowledged to be one of the best works of the team.
11. LINKED HYBRID BUILDING
This being the most talked project of his works, is a brand new concept of a pedestrian-oriented urban fabric, all open to the public, and condensation of social communities. Fused into an urban space, the building is perforated rather than linear concrete blocks and is connected with sky-bridges at a height reducing the footprint of nature acquired. With green parks on its ground levels and geothermal walls that cool in summers and heat in winters, this project is certified with LEED.
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12. VOID SPACE HOUSING
This is a cluster of four voids of the north and south facing each other, evoking peace and spirituality in livelihoods. The emptiness doubled by the use of water to create reflections and the hinged apartments to make them look interlocked with one another altogether makes this project in Japan’s neighborhood named Fukuoka stand out from the rest.
13. KNUT HAMSUN CENTER
The museum is an embodiment of a building with invisible forces with black wood exterior façades and inspiring well-lit interiors for the galleries and exhibit spaces. With a central spine of an elevator, the building envelope is topped by wooden stripes.
14. THE NELSON-ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART
Refurbishing an existing building, this structure intertwines architecture, landscape, and art through mediums of light, space, and time. In contrast to the original ones, the design emphasizes a transparent light façade, with meshing and unbounded circulation. Optimum levels of light to combat the electrical requirements, green roofs that provide insulation from heat, and stormwater collection make the building effectively sustainable.
15. PLANAR HOUSE
Housing various contemporary artworks and facing the Camelback Mountain, this residence is another golden feather in Steven Holls’ cap. With the careful presentation of planes made up of tilt-up concrete and glass, this building easily displays the exhibits and invites the visitors to a beautiful experience inside the building from the courtyard in its entry or the ramp to the rooftop.