Steven Holl Architects presents new book: ‘Steven Holl: Architecture Spoken’

Assembled around four seminal lectures, Architecture Spoken covers the decisive ideas of architect Steven Holl. In an accessible and illuminating format, this book presents 24 recent projects arranged in four chapters chronologically parallel to the polemic of four talks given around the world since 2001: Pro-Kyoto, Compression, Porosity and Urbanisms. Holl’s call for a “phenomenology of architecture” challenges us to rethink architectural intensity, and 21st century orderings with architecture as a catalyst, as well as to experiment with porosity and to make sustainability and site development fundamental to innovative and imaginative design. Celebrating architecture as an “instrument of knowledge and experience,” Architecture Spoken proposes that buildings should be an unending source of insight and inspiration.

This volume published by Rizzoli International Publications showcases Holl’s talent as an artist concerned with perceptual experience. Architecture Spoken shows that with each project Steven Holl explores new ways to integrate an organizing idea with the programmatic and functional essence of a building. For Holl, materials of architecture communicate through resonance and dissonance, just like instruments in musical composition. Architectural transformations of natural materials, such as glass, stone or wood, produce thought and sense-provoking qualities in the experience of a place. Rather than imposing a style upon different sites and programs, the unique character of a program and a site becomes the starting point for a specific architectural idea. The diverse projects presented in Architecture Spoken range from small private houses to large-scale mixed-use developments such as the Linked Hybrid in Beijing and from recent completions such as the University of Iowa School for Art & Art History in Iowa City, and the soon to open Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, to unrealized projects such as the Busan Cinema Complex in Korea.

The intriguing fusion of the conceptual with the physical, of the familiar with the extraordinary, of philosophy with art, makes Steven Holl an outstanding figure within the architectural scene. Architecture Spoken grants us insight into each of Holl’s major projects with extensive anecdotes, texts of his lectures, and striking photography of his work. Architecture Spoken is a great introduction to his philosophy, and is indispensable for those interested in architecture that is deeply anchored in its specific site and circumstance and deals with the experience of time, space, light and materials.