Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron form an unusual double act. The two architects have been friends and collaborators, and have provided one another with inspiration since they were at school together.
Yet they are like chalk and cheese and the edge the juxtaposition provides is to be seen everywhere in their architecture, from their early inspirational work in Switzerland, via the London projects for Tate Modern in 2000 and the RIBA Stirling Prize-winning Laban dance centre in 2003, to their recent work in Barcelona, Tokyo and Beijing - their high profile National Stadium, the main venue for the 2008 Olympic Games with its dramatic bird’s nest structure. Yet to come is the Miami Art Museum, set to open in 2010; and the new development for Transforming Tate Modern in London to be ready in time for the London Olympics.
Born: 1950 (both)
de Meuron © RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1990s
Herzog © RIBA Library Photographs Collection
What is remarkable is their mastery of materials and their range of architectural form.
Their career has seen them move painlessly and swiftly from being an experimental studio, to establishing a big practice without diluting the quality and inventiveness of the work in any way. They approach each new project with no preconceptions and the result is a radical solution delivered with confidence and vigour. Their influence on the current and future generations of architects is huge, both as teachers as well as by example. This commitment to teaching and education is typical and is both an ingredient of their success and something our profession should be proud of.
RIBA President Jack Pringle’s citation concluded: 'Herzog and de Meuron are not at the end of their careers, they are in mid-flight. What is remarkable is their mastery of materials and their range of architectural form. Each new project is started anew and one can sense the relish they have in finding yet another solution, yet another expression.'