Steven Holl Architects is recognized for the ability to shape space and light with great contextual sensitivity and to catalyze the unique qualities of each project to create a concept-driven design at multiple scales, from minimal dwellings, to university works, to new hybrid models of urbanism.

Idea and Function

Steven Holl Architects’ philosophy is centered around a specificity in approach to design. In each project, the firm explores new ways to integrate an organizing idea with the programmatic and functional essence of a building. Rather than imposing a style upon different programs, sites, and climates, the unique character of a project becomes the starting point for an architectural idea. The concept acts as a thread connecting disparate parts with exact intention.


The site of a building is more than a mere ingredient in its conception. It is its physical and metaphysical foundation. Building transcends physical and functional requirements by fusing with a place, by gathering the meaning of a situation. Architecture does not so much intrude on the landscape as it serves to explain it. Architecture and site should have an experiential connection, a metaphysical link, a poetic link.

-Steven Holl, Anchoring, 1988

Light, Material and Detail

While anchoring each work in its specific site and circumstance, Steven Holl Architects endeavors to obtain a deeper beginning in the experience of time, space, light and materials. The phenomena of the space of a room, the sunlight entering through a window, and the color and reflection of materials on a wall and floor all have integral relationships. The materials of architecture communicate through resonance and dissonance, just as instruments in musical composition, producing thought and sense-provoking qualities in the experience of a place. With each project, the firm is inspired to create inventive details and experiment with new materials.

Sustainability and Eco-Innovation

Steven Holl Architects emphasizes sustainable building and site development as fundamental to innovative and imaginative design—it is a responsibility to the future of the built environment. Steven Holl Architects is consistently at the forefront of integrating innovative sustainable techniques into architecture, from individual houses to large urban mixed-use projects. The firm has completed LEED certified projects around the world in varying climates.