2012 - Herman Hertzberger



Royal Gold Medal lecture 2012 (video) 

Presentation (video)

Speeches (video)

Hertzberger buildings (video)

A Structure for Life (video)

Image gallery


The internationally acclaimed Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger has been named as the recipient of the 2012 Royal Gold Medal. 

For the Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger the structure of a building is not an end in itself, it is literally the framework for the life that goes on inside it, a life that is determined by its users. This goes for a school, a home or an office – all building types that he has transformed in a 50-year career in architecture.


Herman Hertzberger biography


2012 Royal Gold Medal winner Herman Hertzberger

Herman Hertzberger started producing his own work even before graduating.

In 1960 he opened his own firm of architects, the present-day Architectuurstudio HH. Famous buildings designed by his firm include the headquarters of Centraal Beheer insurance company in Apeldoorn, Vredenburg Music Centre in Utrecht and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in The Hague.

The firm is known for its many schools, housing complexes and cultural centres, both in the Netherlands and in other countries. Hertzberger has won a great many competitions, has been made an honorary member of several cultural bodies and has been awarded international architecture prizes, both for individual projects and for his oeuvre as a whole.

From 1959 to 1963 Herman Hertzberger edited the journal Forum together with others, including Aldo van Eyck and Jaap Bakema. Hertzberger's projects have been published and exhibited worldwide.

Besides the numerous articles he has contributed to journals in his field, he has also published the following books: Lessons for Students in Architecture (Dutch ed. 1991; English ed. 1993; also translated into Chinese,


Herman Hertzberger and RIBA President Angela Brady

German, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Farsi and Portuguese) and Space and the Architect: Lessons in Architecture 2 (Dutch 1999; English 2000), a description of the ideas and principles on which his work is based.

In 2008 and 2009 he published the books Space and Learning, and The Schools of Herman Hertzberger in which he records his wide-ranging experience, knowledge and views in a theoretical treatise on the spatial conditions of learning. The following books about his work have also appeared: Accomodating the Unexpected, Projects: 1990 - 1995 (1995), Chassé Theater Breda (1995), Articulations (2002), Shelter for Culture. Herman Hertzberger & Apeldoorn (2004), The Theatres of Herman Hertzberger (2005), Waternet Double Tower
(2006), Hertzberger's Amsterdam (2007) and NHL University (2011). In 2010 the bio-documentary Searching for Space by director Kees Hin was released.

Detailed information, a complete curriculum vitae and a list of publications can be found at www.ahh.nl.


RIBA President Angela Brady in conversation with Herman Hertzberger

Royal Gold Medal lecture 2012



The 2012 Royal Gold Medallist, Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger, talks about his work, which has spanned more than half a century. He talks about his influences, about structuralism, about space and place and about some of his most famous buildings: Centraal Beheer, Vredenburg Music Centre, Diagoon Housing and his more recent university buildings in Utrecht and Leeuwarden. Afterwards, he has a conversation with RIBA President Angela Brady and takes questions from the audience.

Royal Gold Medal 2012 presentation



The 2012 Royal Gold Medal ceremony took place in London in February 2012 and the medal was presented on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen by RIBA President Angela Brady. The official citation was read on behalf of the Honours Committee by architect Niall McLaughlin, who nominated Hertzberger for the medal.

Royal Gold Medal 2012 speeches



See the opening speeches from the 2012 Royal Gold Medal presentation ceremony by Angela Brady and RIBA Chief Executive Harry Rich.

Royal Gold Medal 2012 - Hertzberger buildings


Royal Gold Medal 2012 - A Structure for Life

In making the film 'A Structure for Life' about Hertzberger, Tony Chapman visited five of his schools, four offices, four cultural buildings, four housing projects and two university buildings in Amsterdam, Apeldoorn, Arnhem, Berlin, Breda, Cologne, Delft, the Hague, Leeuwarden and Utrecht. These 19 buildings sum up his 50 years in architecture.