Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,
Kansas City (2007).
‘The stone and the feather’ was the motto of this museum extension, which ranks among Steven Holl’s finest buildings. The ‘stone’ denotes the neoclassical, heavy 1933 lime
stone main building of the museum while the ‘feather’ consists of five luminous, partly underground pavilions clad in translucent glass that Steven Holl added along the perimeter of the museum grounds. These are linked by a continuous sequence of galleries and ramps that receive diffuse natural daylight through clerestory rooflights overhead.
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art,
Steven Holl’s first major international commission, this museum building reacts
to its unique setting at the intersection of city and nature, between the train station, the Finnish parliament building and Töölö Lake. The building concept is based on the ‘intertwining’ (a notion that Holl also discussed in one of his earliest books) of
two large volumes that flank a central, daylit atrium with access ramp. According to
the architects, “the general character of
the rooms, which are almost rectangular with one wall curved, allows for a silent yet dramatic backdrop for the exhibition of contemporary art. These rooms are meant
to be silent, but not static; they are differentiated through their irregularity.”
Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle
The curving roof forms of the chapel provide the sanctuary with six different qualities of light, each calibrated to illuminate a separate aspect of the religious ritual. On one hand, daylight directly enters through small coloured glass lenses (a modern interpre-tation of Gothic stained windows). On the other, it is introduced indirectly through larger openings with clear glass. This mix
of different forms of light gently grazes
the surfaces of ceilings and walls, which
were given their characteristic checker-board structure with the help of the mason’s toothed trowel.