New York

Steven Holl

Architectural League

Helsinki is a modern architect’s mecca. Scheduled to open in 1998, Steven Holl’s Museum of Contemporary Art will stand at the center of the city’s greatest Modernist landmarks: the House of Parliament, Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall, and the central train station designed by Eliel Saarinen. Acutely conscious of the location—of the weight of Finnish history and culture—Holl envisioned a structure that would embody what surrounds it. His current show traces the vicissitudes of his attempt to remain true to his original vision.

At the entrance to the gallery, Holl’s sketchbook is mounted on the wall, open to the first, tiny drawing of this monumental project. Two small lines, in orange and blue, crisscross. One is marked the “line of culture,” the other the “line of nature.” The former continues past Finlandia Hall to include the new Opera House; the latter vaguely connects to Toolo Bay, a vast

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