Cité de l’ocean et du surf

Biarritz, France

Steven Holl Architects, 2011

The city of Biarritz – one of France’s most renowned beach towns – commissioned Steven Holl Architects to design the Cité de l’Ocean et du Surf museum, a multi-functional meeting space whose mission is to spark interest among the thousands of tourists and surfers who crowd this city each year in the vast and little-known legacy of the ocean.


Steven Holl

An architectural icon built around symbols of the sea that immediately announces the educational scope of the exhibition that traces connections and parallels between the ocean and the topics of science, ecology, leisure pursuits and sports.

A project designed jointly by Steven Holl and Solange Fabião, whose structure emerges from the dual concept of under the sky/under the sea.

A concave shape of the roof creates a natural space open to the sea and the sky; and the convex shape of the ceiling delineates the area set aside for exhibitions.

The Beijing handle, designed by Steven Holl, with its cylindrical shape, continues the play on geometric themes.