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Herzog & de Meuron


Herzog & de Meuron architectural practice was founded in 1978 by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, both of whom were born in Basel in 1950 and graduated from Zurich Polytechnic (where Aldo Rossi was one of their instructors).

Both of them combine teaching with a career in architecture; they taught at Harvard between 1989 and 1994 and have taught at Eth Polytechnic in Basel since 1999.

“Herzog & de Meuron have played a crucial role in the development of Swiss architecture since 1985...” (Bideau). Often described as close to the minimalist movement, since their earliest projects (single-family homes, industrial and office constructions) they have “attempted to poetically transfigure the everyday simplicity of an agglomeration, underlining motifs in construction and craftwork”, revealing Rossi’s influence.

But they also reflect local construction traditions, as in the photographic studio in Weil (1982) and their use of “economical construction materials”, as in their plywood pavilion in Bottmingen (1985) or art collector’s home in Therwill (1986), made with Durisol blocks.

The studio has worked with artist Rémy Zaugg on fifteen or so projects and urban planning models, including the artist's own studio in Mulhouse (1996).

Since the nineties H&M have also produced residential plans on a larger scale (including the student residence in Dijon, 1992) and “their work reveals a tendency to use the surfaces of buildings to convey autonomous messages (...) separating the volume from the cladding that contains the space”.

One good example of this feature is the Ricola pavilion in Mulhouse (1994), with eucalyptus leaves and the company’s name printed on its façade, while the printing on the façades of the library at the technical school in Eberswalde (1999) is etched into the glass and concrete.

This experimentation with the compositional and expressive potential of various materials is one of their particular features. Their works from the past decade include a number of museum projects: the famous Tate Modern in London (2000, later expanded); the De Young Museum in San Francisco (2005) and the expansion of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2005) are “inspired by the search for a plasticity of form”; H&M recently completed Parrish Art Museum in New York (2012) and Pérez Art Museum in Miami (2013).

The importance and influence of their work have made Herzog & de Meuron one of the world’s primary architectural practices today: the Allianz Arena in Munich (2004) is unanimously considered one of the world’s most successful examples of a modern covered sporting facility. 

The many international awards the studio has won include the 2001 Pritzker Price, while their theoretical works include Natural history (2003), an essay exploring “the labile boundaries between art and the authors’ concept of architecture” (Treccani).

Herzog & de Meuron famous works and projects 

- Pérez Art Museum - PAMM, Miami (USA), 2013
- Serpentine Gallery pavilion (with Ai Weiwei), Kensington Gardens, London (Great Britain), 2012
-  Parrish Art Museum, New York (USA), 2012
- VitraHaus, Weil am Rhein (Germany), 2009
- Olympic Stadium, Beijing (China), 2008
- De Young Museum, San Francisco (USA), 2005
- Expansion of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (USA), 2005
- Allianz Arena, Munich (Germany), 2004
- Rehab Centre, Basel (Switzerland), 2002
- Tate Modern, London (Great Britain), 2000
- Technical School Library, Eberswalde (Germany), 1999
- Dominus Winery, Yountville, California (USA), 1997
- Auf dem Wolf railway engine depot, Basel (Switzerland), 1995
- Pfaffenholz Sports Centre, St. Louis (France), 1993
- Expansion and transformation of the Suva building, Basel (Switzerland), 1993
- Home of the Goetz Collection, a private collection of modern art, Munich (Germany), 1992
- Student Residence – University of Burgundy, Dijon (France), 1992
- Stone house, Tavole, Prelà (Italy), 1988
- Frei Photo Studio, Weil am Rhein (Germany), 1982
- Single-family homes in Switzerland: Blue House, Oberwil, 1980; home and veterinary clinic, Dagmersellen, 1984; art collector’s home, Therwil, 1986

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