Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have been producing buildings that make you blink twice and whistle since the 1980’s. They were both born in Basel, Switzerland in 1950, and in the course of their conjoined career, they have risen to the top of the heap based, primarily, on museum projects. Above is VitraHaus, 2009, on the Vitra Campus, Weil am Rhein, Germany–not far from Basel.

This lovely building in a field is a rendering of H &deM’s design for the the new Parrish Art Museum to be built in a town called Water Mill, NY in Eastern Long Island. Seen at dezeen as was the VitraHaus pic

Above is a wall made of rocks that lets some daylight through. This is not a museum, but a winery, like no other.

The rocks are local and they are contained within metal cages. They keep the building cool.

Dominus Estate winery is in California, near Yountville, in the Napa Valley.

The Dominus building designed by Herzog & deMeuron was completed in 1997 to oohs and ahhs from California to the mountaintops of Architectureland. Good article here. Soon after it appeared, the pair began to win big prizes and very big projects

They won the Pritzker Prize and both the Stirling Prize and the Royal Gold Medal from Britain. They designed the Tate Modern Gallery in London and went on to do the “Birdsnest” stadium for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Along the way, back in California, they did the amazing deYoung Museum in San Francisco, above. Beautiful image from the New York Times.

Above also the deYoung, which is in Golden Gate Park. The building is clad in copper. Holy crow. Image here The large stones are an exhibit by Andy Goldsworthy

What you soon realize about M Herzog and M deMeuron is that they don’t ever seem to repeat themselves. Each project employs different shapes, different materials, different thinking, and different scale. Below is a lovely little house they did in France.

It’s called Rudin House, located in the Haut-Rhin département, in the north-east corner of France. It is surrounded by fruit trees and meadows. Found here.

And this is a storage building in Laufen, Switzerland. Nifty wall on the building having a chat with the rock wall that was there first. Ricola Storage Building Baselstrasse, Laufen, Switzerland 1987. Image here

Above is the much admired building for the Goetz Collection, a Gallery for a Private Collection of Modern Art in Munich (1992). No it doesn’t look like the Tate or the Birdsnest or the deYoung or anything else they’ve done. It looks like itself. Image from here.

And back to the VitraHaus at the end of the day.

There are many reasons to applaud what Herzog & deMeuron have done for architecture and for those of us who use buildings and admire creative design. Most of all, I think, they are to be admired for their dedication to the idea that no two sites are alike, no two clients, no two points in time–and therefore, each building is an opportunity to begin again and bring something new to the world. Tomorrow is another day. Lovely image above seen here.

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