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Contact | Secretariaat
Martine Pollier
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T +32 50 322 420


City on the River

14.11 1992
Antwerpen, Brasschaat...

visit exhibition Steven Holl + a representative overview of recent architecture in Antwerp

“The aspects of thingsthat are most important for us are hidden Because Of Their simplicity and familiarity” (Ludwig Wittgenstein).

(autotranslated) Anchoring is the title of the first publication (1989) on the work of Steven Holl, seems to indicate that the main theme in its architecture, the relationship between the building and the site is. But there is much more. It also goes especially for an architectural language. What Holl calls himself working with the proto-elements of architecture. These are the possible combinations of lines, surfaces and volumes. They are trans-historical and trans-cultural. They are the forerunners of a concrete architectural form. The thrift which Holl uses these elements led it him a “neo-modernist ‘calls. Holl is a modernist in a well-defined meaning, it reduces the column of the essence of the column (cfr. Initial modernists). Holl for this reduction is associated with an honesty of construction and the expression of a rejection of confusing ornaments rather than applying the theories of modernism.

Holl’s work has to do with technique and craft, with the joy of creating and discovering materials and details. Mies’ statement ‘God is in the detail’ is equally valid for Holl. Holl’s architecture also deals with proportion and mathematics, the figures of the golden section. Vitruvius already warned that without proportion no design can exist. Holls attention to this reminder not only connects his work with the classical Renaissance tradition, but is the basis of an underlying – and sometimes invisible – framework for his entire oeuvre. This stick to geometric rigor satisfy the spiritual needs of Holl to transcend the purely functional. How secondary today it may seem, there is also a social context present in the architecture of Holl.

The larger urban designs seem at first sight quite open what their program is concerned. Yet there is still an underlying concern about how people live, work and play in the spaces designed by him. It is not a naive social utopianism, but a concern for the individual, for the poetry in life, the contemplative, it can retreat, encouraging vibrancy. But Holl’s architecture is fundamentally about phenomenology (doctrine of appearances). For Holl’s architecture without idea, without awareness of the experience of architecture, its material, light, shadow, color, scale and proportion just a building. His knowledge of the theories of Husserl and Heidegger Holl force to focus on the experimental and tactile dimensions of architecture.

At this point we come to what Holl calls “anchoring” (anchoring, fastening). Anchoring means more than physical settlement of a building. It is about a conceptual idea about the emergence and an experiment. Anchoring also implies a metaphysical reversal. The site changed by that very piece of architecture that sure made. A sparse language, proportion, attention to detail, incorporating the vernacular (in this case the timber architecture in the USA) are some resources to develop this phenomenology between the building and its site.

Steven Holl (1947) lives and works in New York. He studied in Seattle, completed his studies in Rome and in London (The Architectural Association). He realizes particularly private housing, but also larger jobs in the United States. In Europe, he is known for his diverse projects greater competition. Social housing and urbanization also belong to his field of interest. Through its design for a Palazzo del Cinema on behalf of the Architecture Biennale in Venice in 1991, where he collaborated with, among others, Rafael Moneo, Sverre Fehn, Aldo Rossi, James Stirling, Jean Nouvel was invited, enjoy Steven Holl the attention he deserves in Europe.


Galerie R. Van de Velde – Georges Baines
MUKHA (museum voor moderne kunsten) – M. Grandsard
Huis van Roosmaelen – Bob Van Reeth
Sociale huisvesting St.Michielskaai – J Van den Broeck
Appartementsgebouw St.Michielskaai – Willem Jan Neutelings
Zuiderterras – Bob Van Reeth
Pakhuis St. Felix
BP-toren – Leon Stijnen
huis en atelier Guiette – Le Corbusier / Georges Baines
woning Lange Kaart – Stéphane Beel
woning Lange Kaart – Xavier De Geyter
woning Lutgardislei 7 – Willem Jan Neutelings
woning Terlincklei – W.E. De Bondt
villa Zilverbron Baillet – E. Van Steenbergen
advokatenpraktijk Veldwijklaan – Jef Van Oevelen
bureelgebouw Comprimo – Christine Conix
woning Cogels Osylei – Christine Conix
woning Spies – E. Van Steenbergen
appartementsgebouw Elsdonk – Leon Stijnen
appartementsgebouw Ringzicht – Willem Jan Neutelings
De Singel
expo Steven Holl