Steven Holl wins 2014 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award for Architecture

Steven Holl has won the Japan Art Association’s 2014 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award for Architecture. The award, one of the most prestigious international prizes awarded for categories of architecture, painting, sculpture, music and theater/film, recognizes lifetime achievement in the arts. Steven Holl will be honored at an Awards Ceremony in Tokyo on October 15.

“I’m doubly grateful for this award,” said Steven Holl, “because architecture is part of painting, sculpture, and music, and with this award, the Japan Art Association recognizes all of the arts. Second, because my first chances as an architect and my first publication invitations came from Japan, and my first substantial construction was in Fukuoka, Japan in 1989, so I’m very grateful to come back to Japan for this important award.”

Steven Holl leads Steven Holl Architects with partners Chris McVoy and Noah Yaffe. 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 Holl Architects is currently working on projects nationally and overseas. Most recently completed are the Reid Building at The Glasgow School of Art, which opened in April 2014, and the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle store, which opened in New York in June 2014. Currently in construction are the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia; the Lewis Center for the Performing Arts at Princeton University; and the Visual Arts Building at the University of Iowa; and projects in design include the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Expansion in Washington, DC, and the Youth Wellness Center in Bremerton, Washington.

Other recipients of this year’s Praemium Imperiale Award are Arvo Pärt (Music); Martial Raysse (Painting); Giuseppe Penone (Sculpture); and Athol Fugard (Theatre/Film). Previous laureates for Architecture include David Chipperfield, Henning Larsen, Toyo Ito, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, and Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

The 2014 prizes will be presented in Tokyo on October 15. In addition to a monetary gift of 15 million yen, each laureate will receive a specially-designed gold medal and a testimonial letter from Japan’s Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association.

Learn more about the Praemium Imperiale Award