Chengdu, China

Lebbeus Woods in Collaboration with Christoph A. Kumpusch

Light Pavilion
Photo © Iwan Baan


“How many works does an architect need to build to be valid? One,” said Steven Holl recently, referring to the late Lebbeus Woods's only permanent structure, Light Pavilion, which is embedded in (and juts out from) one of five towers that make up Holl's Sliced Porosity Block in Chengdu, China. The 3 million-square-foot mixed-use complex and public plaza opened in September. Woods's four-story pavilion is lined with mirror-finish stainless-steel panels and pierced by steel columns and beams covered in polycarbonate and illuminated with integral LEDs. Visitors experience the space from stairs and walkways within the sculpture. Holl spoke about the project at Cooper Union in late November at an event hosted by the Architectural League of New York. Woods, Holl's longtime friend, was scheduled to appear at the podium with him, but he died on October 30 at age 72.

The influential architect carved a singular path of resistance through the profession: He lectured, taught, wrote, drew, and created temporary installations, constantly questioning architecture's purpose. Holl told the crowd at Cooper Union that he prefers “Time Light” as a title for Woods's pavilion because it alludes to another dimension of architectural experience–one that is mysterious and ephemeral, yet is effectively conjured by his friend with this work. “He now travels on a beam of light of his own invention,” said Holl.