Herzog & de Meuron Architekten is a Swiss architecture firm, founded and headquartered in Basel, Switzerland in 1978. The careers of founders and senior partners Jacques Herzog (born 1950), and Pierre de Meuron (born 1950), closely paralleled one another, with both attending the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich. They are perhaps best known for their conversion of the giant Bankside Power Station in London to the new home of the Tate Museum of Modern Art (2000). Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have been visiting professors at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design since 1994 and professors at ETH Zürich since 1999.

Herzog & de Meuron received international attention very early in their career with the Blue House in Oberwil, Switzerland (1980); 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 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).

In many projects the architects have worked together with artists, an eminent example of that practice being the collaboration with Rémy Zaugg, Thomas Ruff and with Michael Craig-Martin.

Professionally, the Herzog & de Meuron partnership has grown to become an office with over 120 people worldwide. In addition to their headquarters in Basel, they have offices in London, Munich and San Francisco. Herzog has explained, “We work in teams, but the teams are not permanent. We rearrange them as new projects begin. All of the work results from discussions between Pierre and me, as well as our other partners, Harry Gugger and Christine Binswanger. The work by various teams may involve many different talents to achieve the best results which is a final product called architecture by Herzog & de Meuron.”

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Two Swiss Architects Share the 2001 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Two architects were chosen to share the 2001 Pritzker Architecture Prize, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Basel, Switzerland. The two men, both born in Basel in 1950, have nearly parallel careers, attending the same schools and forming a partnership architectural firm, Herzog & de Meuron in 1978. Perhaps their highest profile project was attained with the completion last year of the conversion of the giant Bankside power plant on the Thames River in London to a new Gallery of Modern Art for the Tate Museum. It has been widely praised by their peers and the media.

In the United States, they have completed a winery in the Napa Valley of California that utilizes a mortarless wall of stones encased in wire mesh, and are currently building the Kramlich Residence and Media Collection in that same region. They have three other projects in work in the United States—the headquarters of Prada in New York, the New de Young Museum in San Francisco which is scheduled for completion in 2004, and the Extension for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, scheduled for completion in 2005.

They have projects in England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan, and of course, in their native Switzerland. There they have built residences, several apartment buildings, libraries, schools, a sports complex, a photographic studio, museums, hotels, railway utility buildings as well as office and factory buildings.

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. It is impossible to list here all of their noteworthy building projects.

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”

In announcing the laureates for 2001, Thomas J. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation, spoke of the jury's choice, saying, “Only once before in the history of the prize has the jury seen fit to select two architects in the same year to share the award. That was in 1988. The decision was made then that since it was the tenth anniversary of the prize, we would celebrate two laureates. In this case, the jury felt that these two architects work so closely together that each one complements the abilities and talents of the other. Their work is the result of a long term true collaboration making it impossible to honor one without the other.”


The formal presentation of what has come to be known throughout the world as architecture's highest honor was made at a ceremony on May 7, 2001 at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. At that time, Herzog and de Meuron were presented with a $100,000 grant and each received a bronze medallion. They are the first Swiss to become Pritzker Laureates, and the 24th and 25th honorees since the prize was established in 1979. The only other year that the jury selected two architects to share the prize was 1988 when the late Gordon Bunshaft of the United States and Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil were chosen. The selection of Herzog and de Meuron continues what has become a nine-year trend of laureates from the international community. In fact, architects from other countries chosen for the prize, now far outnumber the U.S. recipients, eighteen to seven.

Bill Lacy, who is an architect and president of the State University of New York at Purchase, spoke as the executive director of the Pritzker Prize, quoting from the jury citation which states, “The architecture of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron combines the artistry of an age-old profession with the fresh approach of a new century’s technical capabilities. Both architects' roots in European tradition are combined with current technology in extraordinarily inventive architectural solutions to their clients' needs.”

Ada Louise Huxtable, architecture critic and member of the juror, 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.” 


Read Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron's Essay

The architecture of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron combines the artistry of an age-old profession with the fresh approach of a new century’s technical capabilities. Both architects' roots in European tradition are combined with current technology in extraordinarily inventive architectural solutions to their clients' needs that range from a modest switching station for trains to an entirely new approach to the design of a winery.

The catalogue of their work reflects this diversity of interest and accomplishment. Through their houses, municipal and business structures, museums and master planning, they display a sure command of their design talent that has resulted in a distinguished body of completed projects.

The beginnings of most architects’ practices consists by necessity of small projects with budgets to match. It is these early buildings with great constraints that test an architect’s talent for original solutions to often ordinary and utilitarian commissions. In the case of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the railroad signal box was such a project. They transformed a nondescript structure in a railroad yard into a dramatic and artistic work of industrial architecture, captivating both by day and night.

The two architects have created a substantial body of built work in the past twenty years, the largest and most dramatic in size and scale being the conversion of a giant power plant on the Thames into the new Tate Gallery of Modern Art, a widely hailed centerpiece of London’s millennium celebration.

This kind of ingenuity and imagination continues to characterize their work, whether it is a factory building in Basel with silk screened facades or a winery in California with thick medieval walls made of stacked stones that allow air and light patterns to permeate the building, giving wine making a hallowed aura. Students of architecture with keen antennae discovered this duo long before the rest of the world. Both of the principals have been internationally sought after as lecturers at prestigious universities where they have followed the tradition in architecture of passing the experience of one generation on to another.

The Rudin House in France is yet another representation of their teaching extended by example. Here, they set themselves the task of building a small house that would stand for the quintessential distillation of the word “house;” a child’s crayon drawing, irreducible to anything more simple, direct and honest. And they set it on a pedestal to emphasize its iconic qualities.

These two architects, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, with their intensity and passion for using the enduring palette of brick, stone, glass and steel to express new solutions in new forms. The jury is pleased to award the 2001 Pritzker Architecture Prize to them for advancing the art of architecture, a significant contribution to furthering the definition of architecture as one of the premier art forms in this new century and millennium.


Jury Members

J. Carter Brown (Chairman)
Giovanni Agnelli
Ada Louise Huxtable
Carlos Jimenez
Jorge Silvetti
Lord Rothschild
Bill Lacy (Executive Director)

Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia

Monticello, located near Charlottesville, Virginia, was the estate of Thomas Jefferson, author of the United States Declaration of Independence, the third President of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia. The house, the center of a plantation of 5,000 acres, is of Jefferson's own design and is situated on the summit of an 850-foot-high peak. Its name appropriately coined, means "little mountain" in Italian. The home, is the remarkable integration of Jefferson’s love of classical architecture and his passion for what were at the time, modern innovations. The latter included louvered Venetian enclosures on the south side of the house, dumbwaiters and double-acting glass –paneled doors into the parlor.

Construction began in 1769 according to Jefferson's first neoclassical design, which was basically completed when he left for Europe in 1784. As a result of Jefferson’s extended travels in Europe, he expanded his vision for Monticello to incorporate features of Palladian buildings and ruins he admired overseas. Further work on the new design began in 1796 and construction of Monticello was substantially completed in 1809 with the erection of the dome.

The original main entrance is through the portico on the east front. The west front gives the impression of a villa of very modest proportions, with a lower floor disguised in the hillside. The south wing includes Jefferson's private suite of rooms. Its library holds many books from Jefferson’s collection. The north wing includes the dining room and two guest bedrooms.

Monticello was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987. In 2001, the Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony honoring the Swiss team of architects Herzog and de Meuron was held at Monticello. The ceremony and dinner took place on the grounds adjacent to Jefferson’s house.


Read Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron's Ceremony Acceptance Speech

Read Tom Pritzker's Ceremony Speech



Ceremony Highlights

Full Ceremony