Biography of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron

Modern Architects, b. 1950

Architects Pierre De Meuron (L) and Jacques Herzog (R) in 2016
Architects Pierre De Meuron (L) and Jacques Herzog (R) in 2016. Photo by Sean Gallup / Getty Images News / Getty Images (cropped)

Jacques Herzog (born April 19, 1950) and Pierre de Meuron (born May 8, 1950) are two Swiss architects known for innovative designs and construction using new materials and techniques. The two architects have nearly parallel careers. Both men were born the same year in Basel, Switzerland, attended the same school (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland), and in 1978 they formed the architectural partnership, Herzog & de Meuron.

In 2001, they were chosen to share the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have designed projects in England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, the United States, and of course, in their native Switzerland. They have built residences, several apartment buildings, libraries, schools, a sports complex, a photographic studio, museums, hotels, railway utility buildings, and office and factory buildings.

Selected Projects:

  • 1999-2000: Apartment buildings, Rue des Suisses, Paris, France
  • 1998-2000: Roche Pharma Research Institute Building 92 / Building 41, Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2000: Tate Modern, London Bankside, UK
  • 1998-1999: Central Signal Tower, Basel, Switzerland
  • 1998: Ricola Marketing Building, Laufen, Switzerland
  • 1996-1998: Dominus Winery, Yountville, California
  • 1993: Ricola-Euope SA Production and Storage Building, Mulhouse-Brunstatt, France
  • 1989-1991: Ricola Factory Addition and Glazed Canopy, Laufen, Switzerland
  • 2003: Prada Boutique Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2004: IKMZ der BTU Cottbus, Library at Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU), Cottbus, Germany,
  • 2004: Edifici Fòrum, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2005: Allianz Arena, München-Fröttmaning, Germany
  • 2005: Walker Art Center expansion, Minneapolis. MN
  • 2008: Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China
  • 2010: 1111 Lincoln Road (parking garage), Miami Beach, Florida
  • 2012: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Kensington Gardens, London, UK
  • 2012: Parrish Art Museum, Long Island, New York
  • 2015: Grand Stade de Bordeaux, France
  • 2016: Elbphilharmonie concert hall, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2017: 56 Leonard Street ("Jenga Tower"), New York City
  • 2017: La tour Triangle, Porte de Versailles, Paris, France
  • 2017: M+ Visual Art Museum in Kowloon, Hong Kong

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Commentary on Herzog and de Meuron from the Pritzker Prize Committee:

Among their completed buildings, the Ricola cough lozenge factory and storage building in Mulhouse, France stands out for its unique printed translucent walls that provide the work areas with a pleasant filtered light. A railway utility building in Basel, Switzerland called Signal Box has an exterior cladding of copper strips that are twisted at certain places to admit daylight. A library for the Technical University in Eberswalde, Germany has 17 horizontal bands of iconographic images silk screen printed on glass and on concrete.

An apartment building on Schützenmattstrasse in Basel has a fully glazed street facade that is covered by a moveable curtain of perforated latticework.

While these unusual construction solutions are certainly not the only reason for Herzog and de Meuron being selected as the 2001 Laureates, Pritzker Prize jury chairman, J. Carter Brown, commented, "One is hard put to think of any architects in history that have addressed the integument of architecture with greater imagination and virtuosity."

Ada Louise Huxtable, architecture critic and member of the jury, commented further about Herzog and de Meuron, "They refine the traditions of modernism to elemental simplicity, while transforming materials and surfaces through the exploration of new treatments and techniques."

Another juror, Carlos Jimenez from Houston who is professor of architecture at Rice University, said, "One of the most compelling aspects of work by Herzog and de Meuron is their capacity to astonish."

And from juror Jorge Silvetti, who chairs the Department of Architecture, Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, "...all of their work maintains throughout, the stable qualities that have always been associated with the best Swiss architecture: conceptual precision, formal clarity, economy of means and pristine detailing and craftsmanship."