Steven Holl Architects is a 40-person innovative architecture and urban design office working globally as one office from two locations; New York City and Beijing. Steven Holl leads the office with senior partner Chris McVoy and partners Noah Yaffe and Roberto Bannura. Steven Holl Architects is internationally-honored with architecture’s most prestigious awards, publications and exhibitions for excellence in design. Steven Holl Architects has realized architectural works nationally and overseas, with extensive experience in the arts, campus and educational facilities, and residential work. Other projects include retail design, office design, public utilities, and master planning.
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, 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 works, to new hybrid models of urbanism.
Steven Holl Architects specializes in seamlessly integrating new projects into contexts with cultural and historic importance. Several of the projects involve renovation and expansion of historically important structures, including the Cranbrook Institute of Science (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA), the Sarphatistraat Offices (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), and the Sail Hybrid mixed-use project (Knokke-Heist, Belgium). In June 2007 the much celebrated addition to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri opened to the public. Nicolai Ourossoff wrote: “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”. (New York Times, 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”. (New Yorker, April 30th 2007)
Steven Holl Architects emphasizes sustainable building and site development as fundamental to innovative and imaginative design. Incorporating green roofs, double walls and advanced mechanical systems SHA constructed the New Residence at the Swiss Embassy (Washington. D.C) according to Swiss "Minergie Standards," a higher level than the US Council for Green Building’s LEED standards for minimal energy consumption. The Visual Arts Building at the University of Iowa, which is LEED Gold, is one of the first buildings in the US to employ the combination of a cast-in-place ‘bubble deck’ slab with an integrated radiant heating and cooling system. In Beijing, the 2 million SF Linked Hybrid complex is heated and cooled by a 655-well geothermal energy system, the largest residential geothermal system in China. The project employs green roofs and a separate grey water recycling system connected to all 650 condominiums which provides all landscape irrigation including a huge central water pond with natural reeds, water lilies and wildlife. The Horizontal Skyscraper-Vanke Center (Shenzhen, China) is a vision of tropical sustainability for the 21st century and employs sustainable strategies such as photovoltaic panels and storm water recycling.
Parallel to designing dense, sustainable urban architecture, Steven Holl Architects supports the preservation and restoration of landscape and wilderness as Lifetime Member of Sierra Club, Active Member of Scenic Hudson, Member of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and “Advocates for Wilderness”-Member of the Wilderness Society. In 1970 Steven Holl was one of three founding members of Environmental Works at the University of Washington.
The firm has been recognized with numerous awards, publications, and exhibitions for quality and excellence in design, including the Velux Daylight Award for Daylight in Architecture in 2016, the 2014 Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture, the 2012 Gold Medal from the AIA (American Institute of Architects), 15 AIA Honor Awards, 27 AIA Regional Awards, the 2010 RIBA Jencks Award, the 2009 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award, the 2001 Grande Médaille D’Or from the French Academie D’Architecture, and the 1998 Alvar Aalto Award. Steven Holl is a tenured faculty member at Columbia University where he has taught since 1981. He was named by Time magazine as “America’s Best Architect,” for creating “buildings that satisfy the spirit as well as the eye.”