Steven Holl Wins Japan’s Praemium Imperiale

Steven Holl (courtesy Mark)

Steven Holl. (courtesy Mark)

Steven Holl has been awarded the 2014 Praemium Imperiale, the annual award of the Japan Arts Association and one of the world’s most important cultural prizes. The New York–based architect is known for his formally inventive buildings with sophisticated use of natural light and careful consideration of site and context. Among his many notable projects are the Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University, the expansion of the Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the Linked Hybrid in Beijing, and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki.

Holl’s addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. (Andy Ryan)

The association described the nature of his work and process:

According to Steven Holl, there are three major parts to his philosophy of architecture. The first is anchoring, “that is the relation to the site and the circumstance which is unique in each case.” The other two parts are the Idea and the Phenomenon; that is to say the idea of the design and then the phenomenon of “the experience of the light and space and texture”.
At an early stage of the design process, Holl carefully researches the climate, geography as well as the history and culture of each of site.

The Praemium Imperiale comes with an approximately $150,000 prize.  Holl’s name is routinely circulated as a contender for the Pritzker, which has thus far eluded him. He won the AIA Gold Medal in 2012.

Martial Raysse was given the award for Painting, Giusseppe Penone won for Sculpture, Arvo Part for Music, and Athol Fugard was recognized in the film and theater category. The Zinsou foundation in Benin was given the $50,000 Young Artists Grant.

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