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Herzog & de Meuron

From Academic Kids

Herzog & de Meuron is a Swiss architect firm with an international reputation, founded in 1978 by Jacques Herzog (born 19 April 1950 in Basel) and Pierre de Meuron (born 8 May 1950 in Basel), its two main partners. HdeM's early works were reductivist pieces of modernity that registered on the same level as the minimalist art of Donald Judd. However, their recent work at Prada Tokyo, the Barcelona Universal Forum of Cultures Building and the Beijing Olympics stadium suggest a changing attitude. Though their commitment to the primacy of materiality shows through all their projects, the manipulation of form has gone from boxy modernism to volumetric prisms of equal if not greater presence. 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 familiar materials.

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HdeM.barcelona.forum.jpg
The Forum Building in Barcelona

However, modern architects are not without their critics and Herzog & de Meuron is no exception in this regard. The Universal Forum of Cultures Building in Barcelona attracted considerable local criticism after leaks in the structure. In addition, the planned "natural" air-conditioning system employed a shallow pool on the roof to feed water trickling down the fašade. However, this system proved impractical and led to last minute installation of a conventional, environmentally unfriendly system - something of a setback given that the Forum was intended to promote sustainable development (among other things). Several exhibitions were also temporarily cancelled when fireproof ceiling tiles rained down due to inadequate fixing. Extensively documented in the Spanish and Catalan Press, the building's woes were also mentioned in an article in "The Guardian" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/spain/article/0,2763,1280539,00.html).

At the time of writing (May 2005), the building is largely empty and showing some signs of deterioration.

Notable building projects

Projects currently under construction

Prizes

fr:Herzog & de Meuron gl:Herzog & de Meuron id:Herzog & de Meuron sv:Herzog & de Meuron

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