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Herzog & de Meuron win Royal Gold Medal

Herzog & de Meuron win the Royal Gold Medal for architecture

4 October 2006

The Swiss architects Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron, famed for projects including Tate Modern, are the winners of one of architecture's most prestigious prizes, the Royal Gold Medal. Jack Pringle, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) made the announcement at today's meeting of the RIBA Council.

Given in recognition of a lifetime's work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty the Queen and is given annually to a person or group of people whose influence on architecture has had a truly international effect.

The honour recognises the impact Herzog & de Meuron have made both on cities and on architects throughout the world, from their early inspirational work in Switzerland, via the London projects for Tate Modern (2000) and the RIBA Stirling Prize winning Laban dance centre (2003), to their recent and current work in Barcelona, Tokyo and Beijing.

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron were both born in Basel in 1950. After studying architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich between 1970 and 1975, they formed their own office in 1978, becoming 'Herzog & de Meuron' in 1997. Harry Gugger and Christine Binswanger joined the practice as Partners in 1991 and 1994 respectively, followed by Robert Hösl and Ascan Mergenthaler in 2004, and Stefan Marbach in 2006. Currently the practice employs 9 associates and nearly 220 architects working on more than 40 projects worldwide. Branch offices are in London, Munich, San Francisco, Barcelona and Beijing.

Perhaps their highest profile project is the widely acclaimed conversion of the Bankside power plant on the Thames to the Tate Modern gallery. They are also known for their series of other internationally acclaimed museum buildings which include The Goetz Collection, a Gallery for a Private Collection of Modern Art in Munich, the Walker Art Centre Expansion in Minneapolis and de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Speaking today, Jack Pringle, RIBA President commented:

"I am delighted to announce Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron as this year's recipients of the Royal Gold Medal. Their career has seen them move painlessly from being an experimental studio to a big practice without the work being diluted in any way. They reinvent everything with each new project and do it with such vigour. As teachers their influence on the current and future generations of architects is huge."

Herzog & de Meuron received international attention very early in their career with the Blue House (1980) in Oberwil, Switzerland; the Stone House in Tavole, Italy (1988); and the Apartment Building along a Party Wall in Basel (1988). The firm's breakthrough project was the Ricola Storage Building in Laufen, Switzerland (1987). Renown in the United States came with the Dominus Winery in Yountville, California (1998). The Goetz Collection, a Gallery for a Private Collection of Modern Art in Munich (1992), stands at the beginning of a series of internationally acclaimed museum buildings such as the Küppersmühle Museum for the Grothe Collection in Duisburg, Germany (1999) and Tate Modern in London (2000). Schaulager Basel, Laurenz Foundation (2003), creates a new type of space for art, a warehouse for open storage of contemporary art. After completion of the Walker Art Center Expansion in Minneapolis and de Young Museum in San Francisco (both 2005) the series continues with the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, NY, USA (projected completion 2009), the Miami Art Museum in Miami (projected completion 2010) and the new development for Transforming Tate Modern in London (projected completion 2012).

In many projects the architects have worked together with artists, examples include their collaboration with Rémy Zaugg (Fünf Höfe, Five Courtyards for the Munich City Centre, 2003) and with Thomas Ruff (Eberswalde Technical School Library in Germany, 1999).

More recent projects include Prada Aoyama Epicenter, Prada's new flagship store in Tokyo (2003); the Forum 2004 in Barcelona (2004); and Allianz Arena, the new Soccer Stadium for Munich (2005). Current projects include, among others, the Caixa Forum-Madrid (project completion 2006), a new exhibition space for Fondaçion La Caixa in Madrid; the New Link Quay in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (projected completion 2007 - 2010), comprising a new way to link the city of Santa Cruz with the Marina; and finally the Elbphilharmonie, a new philharmonic hall for Hamburg (projected completion 2009). Their most prestigious project currently under construction is the National Stadium Beijing, the main stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games (projected completion 2007).

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are both teaching at Harvard University (since 1994) and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH Studio Basel (since 1999). In 2002 they co-founded the ETH Studio Basel - Contemporary City Institute. Work by Herzog and de Meuron has appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications.

This year's Royal Gold Medal jury was chaired by RIBA President Jack Pringle and made up of: Chris Wilkinson, Wilkinson Eyre Architects; Deborah Saunt, DSDHA; Christophe Egret, Studio Egret; Kenneth Powell, journalist and writer and Lady Susie Sainsbury of Turville.

Herzog & de Meuron will be presented with the Royal Gold Medal at the RIBA on Wednesday 21 February 2007.

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