Steven Holl’s latest project in China is, in one way, very simple. The project has two volumes, and each volume’s mass is the negative space from the other. His office describes the approach using “yin and yang” and you can see the Taoist Taijitu in the upper left hand corner of Holl’s watercolor. What could be more simple than that choker you thought you looked awesome wearing in the seventh grade?
But in many other ways the project is complex. For starters, the volumes are formally complex, and the scale of the project is quite large. The bamboo-formed concrete will rise from the site of what used to be (or maybe even still is) a salt pond. From the reclaimed pond, the two volumes emerge: one a museum dedicated to urban planning while the other volume will be dedicated to ecology. Because this is Holl third urban-scaled, environmentally conscious development in China, it’s hard to imagine a western architect better suited for the job.