Steven Holl blames 'corruption in power' for construction industry's failure to embrace renewable energy in hard-hitting interview

We need a new, brighter future where every energy source is renewable. We could have been there already if it wasn’t for corruption in power. We need articulate, intelligent leadership more than ever before
– Steven Holl

Architect Steven Holl has blamed “a crisis of ignorance in high places” for a lack of progress in adopting environmental building practices, reserving particular ire for US president Donald Trump, who he predicted will be impeached.

In a sweeping interview with CLADglobal, Holl argued that politicians through to developers, architects and contractors must do more to “get free from our dependence on non-renewable fuels” throughout the design and construction process.

“We need a new, brighter future where every energy source is renewable,” he said. “We could have been there already if it wasn’t for corruption in power. We need articulate, intelligent leadership more than ever before.”

Addressing Trump’s presidency so far, which has seen the US leader signal his intention to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement and propose cuts to research on renewable energy, Holl said: “He’s undoing every positive thing Obama ever did, and that’s really disgusting. Have we ever seen a president do that in history?”

“I think he’s going to be impeached, personally,” he added. “I don’t think America agrees with what he’s doing. The nature of democracy is being damaged and manipulated. It’s a very fragile thing.”

Despite his concerns, Holl said he retains the belief that “architecture changes the way we live, and your own work as an architect can help bring about positive change in the world.”

Holl has long been an advocate for sustainable design, and told CLADglobal that “much like with computers, green technology is advancing every six months.” His projects in the pipeline include a library in Malawi for the Miracle of Africa Foundation that will be entirely powered by solar energy captured by PV panels on its roof.

“I do manage to stay optimistic about the future, because the Earth is our planet and environmental issues affect us all,” he told CLADglobal. “There are a lot of intelligent people on the globe, so I’m sure we’ll get through this.”

’We need to put the art back into architecture’

In the interview, Holl also reflected on his architectural philosophy, his love of “designing with daylight” and his long friendship with the late Zaha Hadid.

He called on the next generation of architects to remember “the art of architecture” rather than simply working on “endless glass condominium towers” for “people who only care about making money”.

“There’s more to what we do than obediently following orders,” he said. “I’m not interested in real estate corp, I’m not a businessman and I’m not trying to build a big organisation, so I don’t have to be obedient. I do only what I think is right and I do only what I think is interesting.

“I get so excited when I remember that we are creating buildings for future generations. That’s what inspires me to work. Giorgio Grassi once wrote a book called Architettura: Lingua Morta – ‘architecture is a dead language.’ That’s completely the opposite of what I believe. I think it’s alive, and new inspiration can come from anything, literature, music, paintings, sculptures, film, you name it.”

He advised young architects “apply the same great intensity that we had in the work of Le Corbusier, Carlo Scarpa or Pierre Chareau,” stating that “we have to keep fighting in the spirit of all the great buildings we have made in the past and the great buildings we could still build in the future.”

Holl has worked in numerous countries across several typologies, often returning to cultural projects such as the Reid Building at the Glasgow School of Art, the curving Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki and the interconnected glowing volumes of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

His practice, Steven Holl Architects, are currently working on a 2 million sq ft (200,000sq m) mixed-use district on a former paratrooper airfield in Moscow; two new buildings for Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and a museum and hotel in Angers inspired by the medieval Apocalypse Tapestry.

The full interview with Steven Holl can be read in the latest issue of CLADglobal’s quarterly title CLADmag, which is available online and on digital turning pages.

The magazine also features interviews with architects Alison Brooks and Odile Decq, landscape specialist Adriaan Geuze and designers Ed Ng and Alice Lund.

Steven Holl  sustainable design  Donald Trump  architecture  CLADglobal  CLADmag 
Related stories

Medieval fortress and Apocalypse Tapestry inspire Steven Holl's museum and hotel design for Angers

'Parachutes frozen in the sky': Historic airfield inspires Steven Holl's mixed-use Moscow district

Steven Holl's cloud-inspired Houston art gallery breaks ground

Clocks and clouds inspire Steven Holl's Shanghai culture and health centre

Steven Holl returns with sculptural arts complex in Iowa

Steven Holl wins international prize for his use of daylight in design

FEATURE: Interview – Steven Holl

Architect Steven Holl has blamed “a crisis of ignorance in high places” for a lack of progress in adopting environmental building practices, reserving particular ire for US president Donald Trump, who he predicted will be impeached. In a sweeping interview with CLADglobal, Holl argued that politicians through to developers, architects and contractors must do more to “get free from our dependence on non-renewable fuels” throughout the design and construction process.
CLD,ARC,DES,DEV,PHR,ECO
Despite his concerns, Holl told said he retains the belief that 'architecture changes the way we live' / Steven Holl Architects
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7587     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7587     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Alliance Leisure Services Ltd
The company’s core business is the provision of facility development and support for local authorities, educational establishments and leisure trusts that want to improve or expand the leisure products and services they offer.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The three new studios have brought drama to previously tired areas of the Les Mills gym
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards is housed in 35 Hudson Yards, a tower building designed by SOM’s David Childs
"Further hotels have been confirmed for Los Angeles, Santa Clara, CA, Seattle, Chicago and Houston"

Rockwell Group and Joyce Wang on the inspirations behind the guest rooms, public spaces, spa and gym at Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The reception features a Karel Teige collage artwork
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

A ‘glass waterfall’ houses a vertical circulation core and lifts
Martin Jochman founded JADE+QA in 2013. He formerly worked for Atkins
"We didn’t want to put in any gimmicks. We wanted to create a building that’s inherently sustainable through passive sustainability"

When Martin Jochman set out to transform an old quarry into a luxury hotel, he faced some serious challenges

CopenHill is a “crystal clear example of hedonistic sustainability,” says BIG founder Bjarke Ingels
"It was born from the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale"

How a moment of desperation led to BIG’s CopenHill, the clean power plant that’s doubling as a skiing and leisure destination. Magali Robathan speaks to the architects that made it happen

features
Alexander Schwarz
"Our aim was to create a place celebrating public space and accessibility"

The opening of the James-Simon- Galerie on Berlin’s Museum Island completes two decades of work for David Chipperfield Architects. The lead designer talks us through the building

The spa has been designed to blend into the surroundings and reflect Lefay’s philosophy of healing through nature
"Wellness embraces the entire holiday experience"

The design of the newly-opened Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomitti in Italy aims to celebrate and protect its spectacular surroundings

cladkit product news
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
cladkit product news
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
cladkit product news
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates
x
Email this to a friend or colleague
I am happy for Leisure Media to contact me occasionally by email and understand that I can opt out at any time.
Steven Holl blames 'corruption in power' for construction industry's failure to embrace renewable energy in hard-hitting interview
Architect Steven Holl has blamed “a crisis of ignorance in high places” for a lack of progress in adopting environmental building practices, reserving particular ire for US president Donald Trump, who he predicted will be impeached.