David Chipperfield has chosen to mentor Swiss architect Simon Kretz as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative for 2016-2017. Launched in 2002, but working with architects only since 2012, the venture is a biennial philanthropic programme created by Rolex to “ensure that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on from generation to generation, across continents and cultures.”
Chipperfield said he became a mentor because “At school and at university I was lucky to have been encouraged by teachers that I had great respect for and who took a real interest in the progress of their students. Without such encouragement perhaps I would not have challenged myself or had the confidence to imagine or dream.”
Speaking on his selection, Kretz said he was “overjoyed” anticipating that “Sir David will profoundly influence his understanding of the methodologies of architecture.”
As the Initiative’s first Swiss protégé, Kretz was selected from three finalists, ahead of Luis Callejas of Colombia and Anna Puigjaner of Spain. In the nomination process, a panel of architectural experts scour the world for likely candidates, looking for individuals who have begun to make a name for themselves in their own country and beyond, and who would benefit from working with a world-renowned architect. According to the Initiative, “Kretz was recognized for his ability to design in a multitude of scales, in particular projects that enhance the urban environment, an interest he shares with his mentor.”
In 2010, Kretz cofounded Christina Nater und Simon Kretz Architekten GmbH in Zurich, and in 2014, he became a founding partner of Christian Salewski & Simon Kretz Architekten GmbH. The architect gained experience working at Swiss offices in Zurich and also with time spend at OMA Rotterdam. Since 2013, he has been Senior Lecturer for Urban Design at ETH Zurich’s (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Department of Architecture.