Steven Holl,  Fukuoka, 1988,Japan (view in google maps)

Steven Holl (born December 9, 1947) is a New York-based American architect  and watercolorist.

Void space/Hinged space housing, Fukuoka, Japan, 1989-1991 PROGRAM: Mixed use complex, with 28 residential apartments CLIENT: Fukuoka Jisho Co.


Holl was born on December 9, 1947 and grew up in Bremerton and Manchester, Washington. Holl graduated from the University of Waschington and pursued architecture studies in Rome in 1970. In 1976. For ten years after moving to New York, Holl lived above his office in an apartment without hot water, showering at the nearby YMCA. Steven Holl leads his 40-person office with partners Chris McVoy and Noah Yaffe. Holl has taught at Columbia Universuity since 1981.

Holl’s architecture has undergone a shift in emphasis, from his earlier concern with typology to his current concern with a phenomenological  approach bodily engagement with his surroundings.


From hinged space to the silence of void space. Four active north facing voids interlock with four quiet south facing voids to bring a sense of the sacred into domestic life. To ensure emptiness, the south voids are flooded with water, generating flickering reflections. The 28 apartment interiors are conceptualized as “hinged space,” a modern interpretation of the multi-use concept of traditional Fusuma. Diurnal hinging allows expansion of the living area during the day, reclaimed by bedrooms at night. Episodic hinging reflects change in family over time; rooms can be added or subtracted accommodating grown-up children leaving or elderly parents moving in. A sense of passage is heightened by three types of access, by allowing apartments to have exterior front doors, and by interlocking apartments like a complex Chinese box.


Reviewed by :

Rémi Farwati, Elena Giannitsopoulos, Nadir Bouchene, Adela Plasilova, March 2017