There was a period not so long ago when it seemed Steven Holl couldn't get a break. Perhaps it started when that high-profile art museum he designed in Bellevue, Washington, marked its two-and-a-half-year anniversary by unceremoniously shutting its doors. One of the most formidable architects around, Holl is an amalgam of renegade bravado and artistic sensitivity, social progressivism and problem-solving virtuosity -- all wrapped in a medium-build frame with blue eyes and a maestro's mop of graying blondish hair. A Seattle-area native, he arrived in New York in 1976 via the University of Washington and studied in Rome and at London's prestigious Architectural Association, where his cohorts included Zaha Hadid. Following a common architectural narrative, he spent much of his early career in academia, entering competitions, scavenging commissions wherever he could find them, and, especially, theorizing. One facet of his work that he actually downplays, however, is his interest in sustainable architecture. Holl no doubt cultivates the image of himself as an insurgent, a David among Goliaths.