霍爾：羅耀拉紀念教堂 收入: 《人與空間的對話：漢寶德看建築》
American architect. The Japanese architect, Ito, has referred to Holl's buildings as ‘more aural than visual’, and Holl himself compared his Stretto House, Dallas, TX (1989–92), with Béla Bartók's (1881–1945) Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (1936), for the musical term stretto, which suggests overlapping of response to subject, as in fugal writing, has its parallels in the overlapping of spaces within the building. In addition, the proportions of the house are determined by the golden section. Other works by Holl include a severe 28-apartment structure as part of the Nexus World project at Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan (1989–91), the D. E. Shaw & Co. Office, NYC (1991–2), and the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Kenmare Street, SoHo, NYC (1994), in which large parts of the façade swivel.
- Jodidio (1993, 1996)
Civic Engagement Trumps ‘Shhh!’
Published: January 30, 2011
There may be no better example of the worrying state of American architecture than the career of Steven Holl.
Steven Holl Architects
Steven Holl Architects
At 63, this New York architect is widely considered one of the most original talents of his era. His work has influenced a generation of architects and students. And over the last decade or so he has become a star in faraway places like Scandinavia and China, where he is celebrated as someone able to imbue even the most colossal urban projects with lyricism.
Yet his career at home has been negligible. He has had only a handful of notable commissions in the United States, and his output in New York is embarrassingly slight: a modest addition to Pratt Institute’s school of architecture, a cramped (if underrated) gallery at the edge of Little Italy and a handful of interior renovations.
So when the Queens Library Board of Trustees approved the design of the new Hunters Point community library this month, it was a well-deserved and long overdue breakthrough. The project, done in collaboration with Mr. Holl’s partner Chris McVoy and scheduled to begin construction early next year, will stand on a prominent waterfront site just across the East River from the United Nations. It is a striking expression of the continuing effort to shake the dust off of the city’s aging libraries and recast them as lively communal hubs, and should go far in bolstering the civic image of Queens.
The building’s beguiling appearance — with giant free-form windows carved out of an 80-foot-tall rectangular facade of rough aluminum — should make it an instantly recognizable landmark. Seen from Manhattan, it will have a haunting presence on the waterfront, flanked by the red neon Pepsi-Cola sign to the north and the remnants of an abandoned ferry terminal to the south. At dusk the library’s odd-shaped windows will emit an eerie glow, looking a bit like ghosts trapped inside a machine. And late at night, when the building is dark, spotlights will illuminate its pockmarked facade and the windows will resemble caves dug into the wall of a cliff.
Only at the site itself, however, will the optimism driving Mr. Holl’s design come into focus. The library will stand at the western edge of Queens West, a soulless mix of generic apartment towers and barren streets built up in the last decade or so that has neither the dilapidated charm of the old manufacturing neighborhoods to the east nor the density of a real urban neighborhood. (The development’s one saving grace is a narrow park that snakes along the riverfront; its steel gantries, once used for loading boats, are an ode to the area’s industrial past.)
Mr. Holl ’s design is not about escaping this world but transforming it into something more poetic. Approaching from the towers across the street, visitors will enter a tranquil reading garden, a little paradise walled off from the gloomy scene that surrounds it. Ginkgo trees will shade the garden, partly blocking the view of the towers. As visitors move closer to the library, they will be able to see through the lobby windows and out over a reflecting pool and the riverfront park. Other odd-shaped windows will allow diagonal glimpses up through the building and out to the sky.
When I first saw a rendering of this facade it brought to mind Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 “Day’s End,” in which Matta-Clark used a power saw to carve big circular openings into the exterior of an abandoned industrial building on the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan. In both works the overscaled cut-out openings are powerfully metaphorical. They suggest the desire to expose private, interior worlds to public scrutiny, and — by seeming to undermine the buildings’ structural stability — they evoke an unstable, ever-changing world.
But Mr. Holl’s design is also a statement about the individual’s place in a larger communal framework. The lobby is a towering space framed on both sides by several big, balconylike reading rooms. To get to them visitors climb a staircase that runs up the lobby’s back wall and past one of the huge free-form windows that afford views of the East River and Manhattan. The stairs lead first to the main reading room, which overlooks the lobby, then cross back to a children’s area or continue up to another reading room for teenagers. Eventually they emerge onto a rooftop terrace, where during nice weather people will be able to attend lectures and performances, or , when nothing is going on, lounge around and enjoy the spectacular view.
The strength of this layout is that it allows Mr. Holl to balance the reader’s need for solitude with a strong sense of community. The main reading room, cantilevering out over the lobby, is the most open. The children’s reading room, the noisiest, is enclosed behind a curved wall with a few small windows cut into it so that kids can look across to the adults or up to the teenagers.
But it is the constant reminders of the larger world provided by the giant cuts through the building’s surface that give the design so much resonance. Mr. Holl is not interested in creating a monastic sanctuary; he wants to build a monument to civic engagement. The views aren’t just pretty; they remind us that the intellectual exchange of a library is part of a bigger collective enterprise. It’s a lovely idea, and touching in its old-fashioned optimism.