Deeply rooted in the phenomenological ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Steven Holl’s architectural philosophy is centered on human experience, materiality, and a thorough engagement with the site or context. But more than his experiments with space and material, he is best known for his mastery over what is perhaps his favorite material, or medium: natural light. His design for the Visual Arts Building at the University of Iowa, seen here through the lens of photographer Aaron Dougherty, is one of his projects that best explores these concerns. Clad in weathering zinc and stainless steel, the four-story building houses studios, teaching spaces, galleries and faculty offices for all visual arts departments—from Ceramics, Jewelry Design and Sculpture, to Printmaking, Painting, Video Art, and 3D Design.
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