Steven Holl Architects Wins Two out of Eight RIBA International Awards 2007

On Friday June 22nd 2007 Steven Holl Architects will be awarded RIBA International Awards for Architecture 2007 for the New Residence at the Swiss Embassy (Washington, D.C.) and the School for Art & Art History at the University of Iowa (Iowa City).

The jury praises The New Residence at the Swiss Embassy, completed in September 2006 and designed with Rüssli Architekten A.G., as an exceptional building because of its intriguing plan, deftly developed spaces, careful detailing and its extraordinarily energy efficiency. They state: “The almost domestic scale of the plan and the external form of the building belie the grand scale of the interior spaces that reflect the building’s formal public function”.

The School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa, which also opened in September 2006, is awarded for successfully negotiating its site at the crossing of two orthogonal paths in the campus, at a place where the city grid is interrupted by natural landscape in the form of a small lagoon and a limestone bluff. The jury writes: “This engagement with the conditions and elements of the site is one of the scheme’s most striking aspects. It feels like this would be a very good place in which to make and study art.”

RIBA International Awards are given annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for buildings that have high architectural standards and make a substantial contribution to the local environment. The RIBA International Awards form part of the RIBA’s award program which has been running continuously since 1966 and is recognized as the UK’s most rigorous and prestigious architectural awards. This year RIBA celebrated eight buildings internationally among which two projects by Steven Holl Architects. Steven Holl is honorary member of RIBA. Earlier this year the New Residence at the Swiss Embassy received the AIA New York Chapter 2007 Honor Architecture Award, and the School of Art & Art History in Iowa City recently received the AIA 2007 Institute Honor Award, and the AIA New York Chapter 2007 Merit Architecture Award.

On June 9th 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 in the New York Times: “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”. (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”. (April 30th 2007)