As of late, it seems that all the top architecture awards have not only been based in Europe, but have also only been received by Europeans. Fortunately, particularly for those xenophobes in the audience, this week marks an All-American return to the good ol’ US of A. The American Institute of Architects have announced this year’s Gold Medal has been awarded to Steven Holl. Citing projects like his Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Simmons Hall at MIT, and the Knut Hamsun Center in Norway, the Holl-nominator Toshiko Mori called the architect “a public intellectual” and his work “poetic.” Best about the win was that it was the architect’s birthday over the weekend, which Holl said would “definitely” help make for an even better celebration. Here’s a bit from the AIA’s press release about the win:
Holl is the rare architect who can combine these gentlemanly pursuits (he often develops designs by painting them in water colors, for example) and use them as source material and method for buildings that aggressively push the edge of what’s possible. His ideas about the give-and-take of urban objects and their context, material contrasts, and the materialization of light have been crafted into singular buildings that have formal wallop to spare and shine a light ahead, daring other architects to follow.