Steven Holl biography

Steven Holl was born in 1947 in Bremerton, Washington. He graduated from the University of Washington and pursued architecture studies in Rome in 1970. In 1976 he joined the Architectural Association in London and established STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS in New York City. Considered one of America's most important architects, Steven Holl is recognized for his ability to blend space and light with great contextual sensitivity and to utilize the unique qualities of each project to create a concept-driven design. He specializes in seamlessly integrating new projects into contexts with particular cultural and historic importance.


Steven HollSteven Holl

Projects all around the world

Steven Holl has realized cultural, civic, academic and residential projects both in the United States and internationally. Notable work includes the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland (1998), Sarphatistraat Offices, Amsterdam (2000) and Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle, Washington (1997). Most recently completed are the Linked Hybrid mixed-use complex in Beijing, China (2009), third on TIME magazine's list of Architectural Marvels of 2007, and the Knut Hamsun Center in Hamarøy, Norway (2009).

In June 2007 the much celebrated addition to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri opened to the public. Referring to the building as breathtaking Nicolai Ourossoff wrote: "By subtly interweaving his building with the museum's historic fabric and the surrounding landscape, he has produced a work of haunting power. [..] It's an approach that should be studied by anyone who sets out to design a museum from this point forward". (New York Times, June 6th 2007). In the New Yorker Paul Goldberger stated: "The building is not just Holl's finest by far, but also one of the best of the last generation. [..] Holl has produced as striking and inventive a piece of architectural form [..] and yet it is a serene and exhilarating place in which to view art." (New Yorker, April 30th 2007)

Recently the office has won a number of international design competitions including the LM Harbor Gateway (Copenhagen, Denmark), Cité de l'Océan et du Surf (Biarritz, France – with Solange Fabião), Sail Hybrid (Knokke-Heist, Belgium), Meander (Helsinki, Finland) and Vanke Center (Shenzhen, China).


Award winning architecture

Steven Holl has been recognized with architecture's most prestigious awards and prizes. Most recently, Steven Holl received the first ever Arts Award of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards. Steven Holl Architects' Linked Hybrid received the 2009 CTBUH Best Tall Building Award in Asia and Australia, and the AIA NY 2008 Sustainable Design Award. The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City received the AIA 2008 Honor Award. In 2007 the School of Art & Art History (University of Iowa, Iowa City) received the AIA 2007 Institute Honor Award and the AIA New York Chapter 2007 Merit Architecture Award. The Center Section at the Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, New York) and the New Residence at the Swiss Embassy both received the AIA New York Chapter 2007 Honor Architecture Award. In 2006 Steven Holl received honorary degrees from Seattle University and Moholy-Nagy University in Budapest. Earlier in 2006 he was awarded the AIA New York Architecture Merit Design Award for the Planar House, the 2006 AIA New York Architecture Project Citation Award for Sail Hybrid, and the 2006 European Hotel Design Award for Loisium.

Among the other recent awards are the 2005 New York Chapter American Institute of Architects Honor Award for the Whitney Water Purification Facility and Park. In 2003 he was named Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). In 2002 the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institute, awarded him their prestigious National Design Award in Architecture. In 2001 France bestowed the Grande Médaille d'Or upon him, for Best Architect of the Academy of Architecture; and in the same year Time Magazine declared him "America's Best Architect" for his 'buildings that satisfy the spirit as well as the eye'.


Steven Holl is a tenured Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture and Planning. He has lectured and exhibited widely and has published numerous texts including Anchoring (1989), Parallax (2000), Idea and Phenomena (2002), and Luminosity/Porosity (2006). In early 2007 two new books were published; House: black swan theory (Princeton Architectural Press), and Architecture Spoken (Rizzoli).


Steven Holl is a member of the American National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the American Institute of Architects, the American Association of Museums, the Honorary Whitney Circle, the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the International Honorary Committee, Vilpuri Library, of the Alvar Aalto Foundation.


Press Contact

Blue Medium
Kellie Honeycutt and Ben Thornborough
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