Steven Holl has been awarded the 2010 Jencks Award: Visions Built at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The Jencks Award is given annually to an individual that has recently made a major contribution simultaneously to the theory and practice of architecture internationally.
Charles Jencks states, “Steven Holl has divided his time between writing and architecture. This two-way traffic between theory and practice has led to the considered development of several themes, which work on different scales. For smaller commissions, houses and chapels, he has explored a tightly layered and faceted aesthetic based on light studies – direct, oblique and reflected colors that play over intricate surfaces. This research is furthered through his watercolors and writings on phenomenology – both a form of theoretical investigation. From them comes a haptic architecture, related to that of Carlo Scarpa, and one that engages many senses, not just the visual. At the large scale Holl investigates more conceptual and systematic models, such as structural and scientific ideas of porosity or the fractal known as Menger’s Sponge. Here his urban work in the USA and China creates formal order at several scales, and is tied to social ideas of passage, meeting and communal well-being. Color, light and phenomenology also inform his city buildings and together with his domestic architecture, writing and watercolor, form a consistent body of work that is as rare as it is impressive.’
The award will be presented at the RIBA on 30 November 2010, followed by a public lecture by Steven Holl, chaired by Charles Jencks.