Steven Holl has been awarded the AIA Gold Medal, the institute’s highest honor and among the most significant in the profession. Holl is known for his formally inventive, richly detailed buildings in the US and around the world, including the Linked Hybrid in Beijing, the Vanke Center in Shenzen, the Bloc Building at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, MO, and Simmons Hall at MIT among many other notable projects.
Holl has long been interested in phenomenology as a guiding idea in his work and his is especially noted for his masterful use of light. “What, in my view, especially commends him as a candidate for the Gold Medal,” wrote Harry Cobb, a principal at Pei Cobb Freed, in a statement, “is his brilliantly demonstrated capacity to join his refined design sensibility to a rigorously exploratory theoretical project.”
Minneapolis-based VJAA, led by principal Vincent James, has been honored with the AIA Firm Award. Founded in 1995, VJAA is known for their regionally sensitive, taut modern buildings. Jennifer Yoos and Nathan Knutson also serve as principals.
Notable projects include the Minneapolis Rowing Club Boathouse, the Charles Hostler Student Center at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, and the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane. “VJAA creates a place and purpose-specific architecture founded on broad societal, technological, and artistic values,” wrote Andrea Leers, principal of 2007 Firm Award recipient Leers Weinzapfel Associates, in a statement. “Their work eloquently demonstrates the creative possibilities of joining environmental innovation, material exploration, and a thoughtful and economical response to site and program.”