Steven Holl Named 2012 AIA Gold Medal Winner

In recognition of his contributions to architecture in both theory and practice Steven Holl has been named the 2012 AIA Gold Medal Winner. The AIA Gold Medal, voted on annually, is considered to be the profession’s highest honor that an individual can receive. Steven Holl will be honored at the 2012 AIA National Convention in Washington, D.C.

“What, in my view, especially commends him as a candidate for the Gold Medal,” said Harry Cobb, FAIA, founder of Pei Cobb Freed, “is his brilliantly demonstrated capacity to join his refined design sensibility to a rigorously exploratory theoretical project.”

Steven Holl stated, “I am grateful, I am still beginning and I consider this award shared with all my collaborators. I feel this award is a positive advocacy to make theoretical explorations and experimental works. I was on the way to my final review at Columbia University when I received the call from Washington D.C. and felt it connected to my teaching and efforts toward education .I remember John Hejduk’s statement that teaching is a social contract, and I remain committed to teaching.”

The AIA highlighted Steven Holl’s “humanist approach to formal experimentation” and his ability to “tackle the urban-scale planning and development conundrums that define success in the built environment throughout the world.”

Steven Holl leads Steven Holl Architects with partner Chris McVoy. With 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 sites and climates, or pursued irrespective of program, the unique character of a program and a site becomes the starting point for an architectural idea. 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. Extending this approach with ecological innovation 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 and museum works, to new hybrid models of urbanism.

“Steven not only improves the built environment, he improves the field of architecture by constantly moving us forward,” said Olson Kundig Architects’ Tom Kundig, FAIA.

Steven Holl is the 68th AIA Gold Medalist, an award that has previously gone to such prominent architects as Frank Lloyd Wright (1949), Le Corbusier (1961), Louis Kahn (1971), I.M. Pei (1979), and Fumihiko Maki (2011).