Video: Steven Holl Talks History, Philosophy, and the Poetry of Architecture

The acclaimed American architect discusses the idea process behind his buildings.

Steven Holl’s philosophy of site-sensitive architecture seems to paying off.

The American architect, who has offices in New York, Beijing, and San Francisco, recently beat out eight finalists, including OMA and Zaha Hadid Architects, to design an expansion of the 143-year-old Mumbai City Museum. According to a press release from Holl’s firm, the new 125,000-square-foot museum wing will feature large sculptural spaces of white concrete that will act as canvases for sunlight and shadows. Renderings reveal an exterior cladding of ochre stone.

How does Holl credit his successes, in this competition and over the years? A recent video produced by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art lends insight and retrospective to Holl’s work.

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In a decade when object buildings and icons are de rigueur for high-profile international projects, it’s refreshing to see a site- and process-oriented architectural praxis at work. As Holl points out, the proliferation of buildings through online media seems to have privileged the visual above all else. It will be interesting to see whether digitally native architects, just now entering practice, will regard Holl’s keen interest in phenomenology and sensation as prescient or old-fashioned.

Steven Holl Architects’ design for a new wing for the Mumbai Museum City

Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

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