UW alum, Bremerton native wins global architecture award

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headshot of Steven HollWorld-renowned architect and UW alumnus Steven Holl recently received a 2014 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award in architecture, joining the likes of I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas. The global arts prizes are bestowed each year by the Japan Art Association and recognize lifetime achievements in painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theater/film – fields not included in the Nobel prizes.

Holl, who earned a bachelor of arts in architecture from the UW in 1971, leads Steven Holl Architects in New York City. He has created museum, gallery, civic, academic, residential and multi-use buildings all over the world. Native to the Pacific Northwest, his local works include Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University, a youth wellness center in Bremerton, and the Bellevue Arts Museum.

photo of St. Ignatius Chapel at Seattle University

Steven Holl

St. Ignatius Chapel at Seattle University opened in 1997.

His design philosophy, according to the awards’ website, combines the “experience” of space – its color and light – with the local history and culture of each construction site.

The 2014 award recipients were announced July 16 and will be recognized in a ceremony October 15 in Tokyo, Japan.

Holl grew up in Bremerton, Wash., where his first architectural designs included a three-story treehouse and an underground clubhouse. Other early influences of his work include UW professors of architecture, art and philosophy, Holl said in a 2012 profile in Columns, UW’s alumni magazine, when he received the university’s Alumni Summa Laude Dignati recognition.

artist image of a community wellness center designed by Steven Holl

Steven Holl

A Youth Wellness Center and Music Pavilion commissioned by the City of Bremerton.

“I’m doubly grateful for this award,” he said in a news release announcing his latest honor, “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.”

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