The long established architectural studio, Steven Holl Architects has an impressive past and exciting present with studios located in New York City, Beijing and San Francisco.
The absolutely extraordinary Cité de l’Océan et du Surf, located in Biarritz, France is designed by the team of Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Solange Fabião. It is the result of a winning scheme from an international competition and it also won the LEAF Award back in the days. Since its implementation, it continues to fill its function and purpose perfectly. The framework is constructed from many different materials such as concrete, steel, stone, wood and glass, creating a spectacular structured form. When the building lights up by night it gives the beholder an impression of a glowing construction.
The Cité de l’Océan et du Surf has an even nobler purpose most specifically to raise awareness of global matters like oceanic issues and the scientific aspects of sea and surf.
The concave shape, which metaphorically presents the feeling of “under the sky”, is the dominant form of the building and the main exterior. It serves to highlight the openness while giving a chance for the community to gaze out to the sky and the sea, counter to the convex structural ceiling which forms the “under the sea” exhibition spaces. The restaurant and the surfers kiosk is located in the two monumental “glass boulders”, moreover there is a skate pool placed in the southwest corner of the building.
As the architects say: “The materials of the public plaza are a progressive variation of Portuguese cobblestone paving with grass and natural vegetation. Towards the ocean, the concave form of the building plaza is extended through the landscape.” The gardens which have a slightly cupped edges, aim to connect the beautiful green flora with the plaza which functions as a place for social interactions.