Herzog and de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron Architekten, BSA/SIA/ETH (HdeM) is a Swiss architecture firm, founded and headquartered in Basel, Switzerland in 1978. The careers of founders and senior partners Jacques Herzog (born 19 April 1950), and Pierre de Meuron (born 8 May 1950), closely parallel one another, with both attending the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. They are perhaps best known for their conversion of the giant Bankside Power Station in London to the new home of the Tate Modern. They refine the traditions of modernism to elemental simplicity, while transforming materials and surfaces through the exploration of new treatments and techniques. In 2006, the New York Times Magazine called them "one of the most admired architecture firms in the world”. Harry Gugger, Christine Binswanger, Robert Hösl, Ascan Mergenthaler and Stefan Marbach are other Chief Architects of the firm.

It’s Inspiration:
HdeM's commitment of articulation through materiality is a common thread through all their projects. Their formal gestures have generally progressed from the purist simplicity of rectangular forms to more complex and dynamic geometries. The architects often cite Joseph Beuys as an enduring artistic inspiration and collaborate with different artists on each architectural project. Their success can be attributed to their skills in revealing unfamiliar or unknown relationships through the use of innovative materials. Swiss architectural firm’s creative process and sources of inspiration are everyday materials, popular culture, high fashion, natural landscapes and contemporary art. They present architecture as an encounter that actively engages its audience. 

It’s Philosophy:
HdeM's early works were minimalist pieces of modernity that registered on the same level as the minimalist art of Donald Judd, which shows a definite change in attitude. To Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, architecture is an opportunity to illuminate the fullness of the spaces in which we live and work, to create an ‘experience’ that appeals to all the senses. Consistent with this breadth of vision, the Swiss firm creates pragmatic designs that solve problems through radically inventive means. Their buildings can be seen as exchanges between tradition and innovation, minimal geometry and elaborate ornament, movement and stability, natural and industrial materials. Their designs carry the philosophy of ‘organic architecture,’ which means the building is designed to fit its natural surroundings. Even the form of the building is designed to develop from its environment and the building seems to grow out of its natural surroundings. Assimilating its form to the environment and drawing inspiration from an artist work is what makes a spectacular design at the end.

Their quotes:
"A building is a building. It cannot be read like a book; it doesn't have any credits, subtitles or labels like picture in a gallery. In that sense, we are absolutely anti-representational. The strength of our buildings is the immediate, visceral impact they have on a visitor."
— Jacques Herzog

“To this end, we want to reverse the notion of a monumentality that is associated with physical impact and instead offer a vision of landscape that is monumental in its fragility and natural beauty.” [Herzog & de Meuron, architect's statement]

“Just like nature, the Expo will also change over time… it will have provided a foundation for flexible and sustainable development in the entire region, ultimately redefining our long-term approach to the worldwide production of foodstuffs.” [Herzog & de Meuron, architect's statement]

“For us, creating a building is a research process. We call it a journey.”

It’s Impact / Projects:


Kolkata Museum of Modern Art, Kolkata
Plaza de España, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife (2007)
Instituto Óscar Domínguez de Arte y Cultura Boo Contemporánea, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife (2007)
40 Bond Street New York City (2007)
1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL, USA (2008)
Philharmonic Hall, Hamburg, Germany (2009)
Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL, USA (2010)
Portsmouth Dockland Stadium for Portsmouth Football Club, Portsmouth, England (2011)
Tate Modern 2, Bankside, London (2012)
São Paulo Companhia de Dança HQ, São Paulo, Brazil

Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China 2008
CaixaForum Madrid, Madrid, Spain 2008
M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco 2005 
Walker Art Center expansion, Minneapolis, Minnesota 2005
Allianz Arena football stadium, Munich 2005
Forum Building, Barcelona 2004
IKMZ, Cottbus, Germany 2004
Laban Dance Centre, Deptford Creek, London 2003
St. Jakob-Park, Basel 2001
Tate Modern, Bankside, London 2000
Dominus winery, Napa Valley, California 1999
SBB switchtower, Basel 1997
Goetz Collection, Munich 1992