Steven Holl is known for an architecture that considers place, time, and the senses of the viewer. In Holl’s own poetic voice, House: Black Swan Theory describes fifteen residences that give insight into the source of his unique architectural perspective, including built and unbuilt, most current and most well-known from the recent past.
Rather than having an unvarying style, these houses aim at the sometimes elusive ideal of the specific. Each house tackles a different design challenge, using site as the physical and metaphysical foundation upon which to build. Fusing building and situation, Holl creates a unique expression in each home. Ordered according to scale (largest to smallest), the houses in this book span the globe, ranging from a secluded location in Hawaii to the Catskill Mountains of New York, to Martha’s Vineyard, to The Hague in the Netherlands and to Italy where Holl designed his most recent residence. While the profession of the owner of the ‘Sun Slice House’ at Lake Garda
revolves around artificial light, the focus in the design of this residence, is framing slices of natural light and their changes throughout the day and year.
Each project in House: Black Swan Theory is accompanied by Holl’s watercolors as well as an insightful explanation of how he was inspired by the land upon which the house sits and how the sumptuous materials utilized reflect the spirit of the location. In House: Black Swan Theory Steven Holl gives insight into how he inverts the usual universal-to-specific order by working from the specific toward the universal. By presenting a selection of his houses, Steven Holl suggests a “black swan” theory for architecture— mutable and unpredictable.
Other Steven Holl books from Princeton Architectural Press include Anchoring (1989), the first book on the work of the then up-and-coming architect Steven Holl, Intertwining (1996) and Parallax (2000).