“What does architecture mean? Does it mean something? Where do you put it?” These are a few of the questions Jacques Herzog poses in this 1998 lecture at the Berlage Institute. Inspired by the concept that architecture is inherently a form of communication, Herzog, who co-founded Herzog & de Meuron with Pierre de Meuron, highlights nine of the firm’s projects which all share similarities that feed into one another. The lecture, Herzog explains, is about using varied forms of language to create a conversation. Basel, a Swiss city bordering three countries and the home base of the firm, is characterized by many languages. Architecture, Herzog argues, is also a choreographed dance of languages, including those of art, music, light, void and mass, skin and surface, transparency and obscurity, layering and materiality.
Beginning with the Goetz Collection in Munich and describing the bands of light that cut through its cubic form, and continuing on to the play with existing urban factors and natural light to enhance the “impressive mass” of the Tate Modern, Herzog describes the poetry of design. He continues on to discuss Studio Remy Zaugg, a collaboration with Remy Zaugg for the Centre Pompidou, a psychological look at the urban study of Basel, the proposal for the MOMA Extension in New York, the Pritzker winning Signal Box, and the complex conceptual and physical layers of both the Laban Dance Centre in Deptford and the Dominus Winery in Napa. At the end, Herzog requests “critical” questions from the audience, inviting an exploratory conversation that provides insight into the design process of the architects and the experience of the users.
In answering an audience member’s question, Herzog describes the mindset behind his dynamic practice: ”If I knew what I’m doing, I probably wouldn’t do it anymore. I wouldn’t be interested in getting up in the morning, if I knew that’s exactly how architecture works…it would be boring, if I knew this is my way.”
Don’t miss the other lectures in The Berlage Archive series:
- The Berlage Archive: Elizabeth Diller (1998)
- The Berlage Archive: David Chipperfield (2001)
- The Berlage Archive: Luis Fernandez Galiano Theory Master Class (1994)
- The Berlage Archive: Rem Koolhaas + Kenneth Frampton (1998)
- The Berlage Archive: Stefano Boeri (2001)
- The Berlage Archive: Elia Zenghelis (2001)
What influence do art and space have on the contemporary architectural design process? MoMA‘s most recent exhibition on architecture and design Conceptions of Space strives to answer this question. Themed under the umbrella of spatial relations, Curator Pedro Gadanho ruminates on the subject in a broad and philosophical sense. The exhibition delves into the topic using an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating research from French philosopher Michel Foucault on the subject of the expanded field. The exhibition aims to explore the relationship between the development of space and its deep-seated roots in the creative arts.
A significant development at Canary Wharf has been approved by planners in London. The scheme, dubbed ‘Wood Wharf’ and consisting of 30 new buildings, was masterplanned by Allies and Morrison and includes a cylindrical residential tower by Herzog & de Meuron, and will provide 3,100 homes, 240,000 square metres of office space, a primary school, a medical centre, a community centre, a hotel, and around 100 retail outlets. Connecting the space will be a 3.6 hectare network of public spaces.
Read on for more on the development
Herzog & de Meuron have unveiled images of their latest project in New York, a 12-story condominium building at 156 Leroy Street with a curved concrete and glass facade. The project is their third major New York building in recent years, following another condo building at 56 Leonard Street and a hotel at 215 Chrystie Street, and once again features a concrete structure which is clearly expressed on the facade.
Read on after the break for more images and description
To determine the finalists, the five jury members – Francisco Liernur, Sarah Whiting, Wiel Arets, Dominique Perrault, and Kenneth Frampton - spent the last twelve days visiting projects, speaking with the architects, users and owners of the spaces, and entering into intense debate among each other.
As jury member Dominique Perrault noted, “There’s a lot of means by which to evaluate projects – models, drawings, images – but we took all opportunities to test the quality of the architecture. In the end, only by visiting can you sense the ‘touch of god’ – the presence of the building itself in the context.”
The resulting finalists show tremendous variety – in terms of scale, place, typology, program, materials, etc. – making the task of choosing a winner all the more challenging. See all seven finalists, as well as a video of Kenneth Frampton discussing the selection process, after the break.
The following is an essay that originally appeared in Australian Design Review as “Beyond the Wall, the Floor.” In it, Michael Holt and Marissa Looby describe the evolution of Herzog and de Meuron‘s work. Using numerous examples of recent projects (such as VitraHaus and 56 Leonard Street), they point out that Herzog and de Meuron have, increasingly, relied on the floor slabs of their buildings to suggest the building’s shape. By removing the façade’s prominence in favor of a more suggestive way of creating mass, they have turned their original design signature on its head.
Simple adjustments, slight alterations, subtle illusions. These are not tagline descriptions of the 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach project, or a synopsis for a body of work. Instead they operate as retroactively projecting the course of professional development in the works of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The practice is known, from its earliest built projects, as a firm who produced artistically driven facade treatments where the vertical plane — the ‘nominal façade’ — would define form through the visually stimulating surface or skin. As the practice has evolved, it is argued here, they have crafted a new strategy: the horizontal plane as vertical facade generator.
In its progression the practice has deviated from facade ornamentation and fabrication towards the removal of the facade altogether; allowing for the floor plate — as a visual element — to operate as inadvertent facade and thus doubling its structural and visual importance. The placing of floor plates becomes the force creating the form – the ‘inverted structural skin’. The stripped back architectural form does not remove the facade, but removes the idea of a facade, paradoxically creating a building mass almost by default.
Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Dirk Denison, Director of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), have announced the inaugural MCHAP shortlist – 36 “Outstanding Projects” selected from the 225 MCHAP nominees.
“The rich diversity of these built works is a testament to the creative energy at work in the Americas today,” said Arets. “When viewed alongside the innovative work by the MCHAP.emerge finalists and winner, Poli House by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen which we honored in May, we see the evolution of a distinctly American conversation about creating livable space.” See all 36 winners after the break.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Herzog & de Meuron, & Atelier Bow-Wow’s “Stroll Through a Fun Palace” – Switzerland’s Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2014
“We often invent the future with elements from the past.”
From the Curators. Within the Biennale’s context of re-examining the fundamentals of architecture over the past century, the Swiss Pavilion focuses on the English architect Cedric Price (1925–2003) and the Swiss sociologist Lucius Burckhardt (1934–2003), two great visionaries whose work resonates with and continues to inspire the new generations of the 21st century.
Both were serial inventors. The trans-disciplinary cultural centre designed by Price, Fun Palace, for example, which was never realized, is emblematic of our own era. It lends itself more to the choreography of 21st century time-based exhibitions than to the object-based displays of the 20th century; it fosters a more communal experience, largely free to operate outside its material limits, and ventures into other realms of human experience. In Price’s own words, “a 21st century museum will utilize calculated uncertainty and conscious incompleteness to produce a catalyst for invigorating change whilst always producing the harvest of the quiet eye”.1
Design Consultant: Herzog & de Meuron
Location: Rua Camaragibe – Mãe Luíza, Natal – Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Executive Architects: Plantae
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Ascan Mergenthaler (Partner in Charge), Markus Widmer
Project Team: Tomislav Dushanov (Associate, Project Director), Mariana Vilela (Project Manager), Melissa Shin, Diogo Rabaça Figueiredo, Kai Strehlke (Digital Technologies), Edyta Augustynowicz (Digital Technologies), Daniel Fernández Florez
Client: Ameropa Foundation, Binningen, Switzerland, Centro Sócio Pastoral Nossa Senhora de Conceição, Natal, Brazil
Area: 1964.0 sqm
Photographs: Iwan Baan
Most descriptions of Herzog & de Meuron projects are almost paradoxical: in one paragraph they will be praised for their dedication to tradition and vernacular forms, in the next for their thoroughly modern innovation. However, in the hands of Herzog & de Meuron this is no paradox, as the internationally-renowned architectural duo combine tradition and innovation in such a way that the two elements actually enhance each other.
Before establishing Herzog & de Meuron with Jacques Herzog in 1978, de Meuron studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) with Aldo Rossi and Dolf Schnebli. Together, Herzog & de Meuron were awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2001. Among their most recognized works are: their renovation of London’s Tate Modern in 2000; VitraHaus, one of the best known components of the Vitra Campus; and the Bird’s Nest Stadium, which took center stage at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
On the occasion of Pierre de Meuron’s 64th birthday today, we invite you to look over his firm’s astounding body of work, after the break…
The Vancouver Art Gallery has unanimously appointed Herzog & de Meuron to design their new, 300,000 square foot gallery in downtown Vancouver.
Selected from a shortlist of five - including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, KPMB Architects, SANAA , and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects - Herzog & de Meuron was ultimately awarded the commission for their vision of the new Gallery and “proven ability to create innovative museum buildings that place prominence on artists and institutional mission.”
The new museum building, which will be the practice’s first Canadian project, will double the Gallery’s current space and accommodate for their expanding collections, indoor and outdoor exhibition space, and new educational programs. Conceptual designs are expected to be released in early 2015.
Preview the portfolio that landed Herzog & de Meuron the commission, after the break…
Herzog & de Meuron has been commissioned to design the fourth and final extension to Helvetia’s Head Office in St. Gallen. The new west wing will join three other structures, all of which share the same uniform facade treatment, to complete the insurance company’s headquarters and provide a prominent entrance, cafe, meeting rooms and additional office space.
This last Wednesday, April 9th, Herzog & de Meuron opened its first project in Brazil – Morro Arena - located in the city of Natal. With a capacity for 350 people, the arena features multipurpose rooms for dancing, classrooms, a terrace overlooking the sea, locker rooms and a sports court.
The project is the first finished part of a broader urban plan for the region developed by the Swiss Office in partnership with the Centro Sócio Pastoral Nossa Senhora de Conceição in 2009.
Herzog & de Meuron and Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects have been announced as winners of an international competition to design one of Denmark’s largest hospitals: Nyt Hospital Nordsjælland. Selected ahead of six other practices, including BIG and C.F. Møller, Herzog & de Meuron’s nature-inspired proposal will provide the New North Zealand Hospital with a 124,000 square meter facility that serves 24 medical departments and provides over 660 beds.
“The hospital organically reaches out into the wide landscape. Simultaneously its soft, flowing form binds the many components of the hospital,” described the architects. “It is a low building that fosters exchange between staff and patients, and it has a human scale despite its very large size.”
I am standing with Christine Binswanger, senior partner of Herzog & de Meuron, a few hours before the Perez Art Museum Miami opens it doors to the public for the first time. All around us, construction workers are making last minute adjustments, while troublesome clusters of VIPs take their first peak into the museum’s airy, austere galleries. The excitement is palpable.
And yet I can’t unpeel my eyes from the huge, hurricane-proof window before us. They offer enormous views of resplendent Biscayne Bay and the six-lane, 5.6km Macarthur Causeway that crosses it. Throbbing with traffic, the causeway is the kind of thing that, I imagine, people come to museums to forget. So I ask Binswanger, the museum’s project architect, how her team approached this design problem.
“Problem? What problem?” says Binswanger. “That is what Miami is about. Anyway, I find it beautiful. Don’t you?”
Suddenly I do. Or at least I find beautiful the building’s wide-open embrace of Miami, causeways and all. And I suspect that this visual (and programmatic) permeability to the city’s realities—natural and manmade—will define PAMM’s institutional success.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery, has been chosen as curator for the Swiss pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Inspired by director Rem Koolhaas’ theme, “Fundamentals,” Obrist recalled the first architects he ever met, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, and invited them to collaborate on the exhibition.
“When I was invited to do the pavilion, I thought working with [Herzog and de Meuron] fit in with the whole idea of the biennale this year – looking to the past, and using the past as a toolbox to create the future,” Obrist told ARTINFO UK.
New York’s Park Avenue Armory, originally built in 1861 for the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard and restored by Herzog & de Meuron in 2007, is about to be temporarily taken over by Rafael Viñoly. On April 30th 2014 Artvest Partners will launch Spring Masters New York, “a fair for art produced between antiquity and the 20th century, which corresponds with Christie’s and Sotheby’s signature Impressionism and modern art auctions”. Viñoly’s hexagonal grid of exhibition rooms will fill the 55,000 square foot Drill Hall in an attempt to break with the monotony of the rectangular grid format.