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Steven Holl: To invent an American vernacular (October 26, 1983)01:20:36

Gary Paige introduces Steven Holl, the founder of the Pamphlet Architecture series, and adjunct professor at Columbia University.

Holl chose to use the telescope house typology for a house on a narrow lot on the Chesapeake bay, where that typology is quite prevalent. The house massing breaks down into three parts, as does the program. The exterior elevations have a logarithmic proportion. A second project uses vernacular elements in unusual ways. The U shaped house contains two artists studios which are a study in contrast between the two artists working preferences.

Pamphlet Architecture Volume Seven profiles the Bridge of Houses project. While the original inspiration came out of a previous competition, the Bridge of Houses is an urban intervention project aimed at re-purposing the decommissioned High Line in New York City as a 19 building residential project. Holl also discusses a studio and poolhouse built for a client in Westchester county. The project integrates ties to the site's history, and locally sourced materials, to produce a well proportioned building.

Holl outlines a bank deposit project where he had to be selective about what areas could be architecture and what areas needed to have typical finishes and layout. As the floor plan becomes less dense from the back to the front, Holl finds opportunities to introduce architectural elements, culminating in the lobby and the façade. The round building lobby contains an abstracted planetary theme.

Holl speaks about two residential projects that both have two buildings. The first contains a structure in the Cape Cod configuration and a stack house. The second project involves two structures on either side of a lap pool, in the dogtrot configuration. In this case the two structures are linked by the lap pool and not their shared roof.

Holl answers questions relating to his presented work and how it fits in to the world. His view on suburbia is that it is undesirable, but policies that would disallow that condition from occurring are not a solution to the problem. In his opinion the vernacular that is brought into a project has to be evaluated on a project by project basis.

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