Fusing Architecture and Music: Philip Kennicott On the Inspiration Behind Steven Holl’s Daeyang Gallery and House for Dwell

A watercolor by architect Steven Holl was an early step toward translating an obscure musical score by István Anhalt into a new home and gallery in Seoul, South Korea © Iwan Baan

Awarded yesterday with the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Philip Kennicott has built an honorable reputation as a art and architecture critic for Washington Post’s Style section. One of his most recent works, Holl: A Copper Clad Pavilion - exclusively published in Dwell’s May Issue Global Style - recounts the inspiration behind Steven Holl’s award-winning Daeyang Gallery and House in Seoul. 

Designed as an experiment on “the architectonics of music,” the basic geometry of the Daeyang Gallery and House was inspired by Istvan Anhalt’s 1967 ‘Symphony of Modules’ – a uniquely transcribed sheet of music found in John Cage’s contemporary music compendium, Notations. Reminiscent of the “blocky and shard-like shapes” of Anhalt’s sketch, Holl’s design features three copper-clad pavilions punctured by a symphony of carefully placed, rectangular skylights that animate the interior with “bars of light”. As Kennicott describes, Holl uses music as a “powerful metaphor for the dynamic unfolding of experience” (captured in this film by Spirit of Space).

Read Kennicott’s Music Holl: A Copper Clad Pavilion in its entirety here on Dwell. Continue after the break to compare Steven Holl’s Daeyang sketch above with Anhalt’s ‘Symphony of Modules’.

István Anhalt’s sketch of the Symphony of Modules, which took him five years to compose. © Iwan Baan
Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Fusing Architecture and Music: Philip Kennicott On the Inspiration Behind Steven Holl’s Daeyang Gallery and House for Dwell" 16 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=360494>

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