It is no secret that, in the last 10 years, a majority of the big budget construction projects have been centered in newly emerging world markets like China. But now, the markets may be turning. Steven Holl Architects is a strong example of this trend: with the groundbreaking of the Glassell School of Art in Houston on the 15th, the firm now has 8 projects under construction in the western world - 7 in the United States, and one in the United Kingdom. Owing to the steady strengthening of the US dollar over recent years, clients seem to be investing in high ticket architecture once again. After completing projects abroad such as the Sliced Porosity Block in Chengdu, and Nanjing’s Sifang Art Museum, Holl will now be working in cities like Richmond, Iowa City, New York and London.
Holl’s recent work also reflects a change in design scale. In projects such as the Linked Hybrid in Beijing and the Vanke Center/Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzhen, design began at the urban level, resulting in inward-looking superstructures. In the firm’s return to the west, projects are usually designed as an object or extension of an existing environment, such as in their expansion project for the Kennedy Center. The reduced sense of scale is also evident in the square-footage in some of their recent designs, including a residence to be built at under 1000 square feet.