Arquitectura Viva
Monday, September 28, 2020

AV Monografías 77


V-VI 1999


Luis Fernández-Galiano
H&deM, las dos primeras décadas
H&deM, the First Two Decades

El arte y la vida
Art and Life

Luis Fernández-Galiano
Dioniso en Basilea   Dionysus in Basel
Rafael Moneo
Celebración de la materia   In Celebration of Matter
Rem Koolhaas
Nueva disciplina   New Discipline
Terence Riley
La gravedad y los medios   ‘Gravitas’ and the Media

Los 80: identidad material
The 80s: Material Identity

Estudio fotográfico Frei   Photographic Studio Frei   1981-1982, Weil am Rhein
Casa de piedra   Stone House   1982-1988, Tavole
Viviendas en Schützenmattstrasse   Apartments on Schützenmattstr.   1984-1993, Basilea  Basel
Apartamentos en una medianera   Apartments along a Party Wall   1984-1988, Basilea  Basel
Almacén para Ricola   Ricola Storage Building   1986-1987, Laufen
Depósito de locomotoras   Railway Engine Depot   1989-1995, Basilea  Basel
Centro de señalización ferroviaria   Railway Signal Box   1989-1994, Basilea  Basel
Edificio Suva   Suva Building   1989-1993, Basilea  Basel
Polideportivo Pfaffenholz   Pfaffenholz Sports Centre   1989-1993, St. Louis
Galería para la colección Goetz   Gallery for the Goetz Collection   1989-1992, Munich

Los 90: sustancia simbólica
The 90s: Symbolic Substance

Residencia de estudiantes Antipodes I   Antipodes I Student Housing   1990-1992, Dijon
Nave para Ricola   Ricola Production and Storage Building   1992-1993, Mulhouse
Biblioteca universitaria   University Library   1994-1999, Eberswalde
Galería Tate de Arte Moderno   Tate Gallery of Modern Art   1995-1999, Londres  London
Casa Rudin   Rudin House   1995-1997, Leymen
Farmacia hospitalaria   Hospital Pharmacy   1995-1999, Basilea  Basel
Estudio Rémy Zaugg   Atelier Rémy Zaugg   1995-1996, Mulhouse-Pfastatt
Bodegas Dominus   Dominus Winery   1995-1998, Yountville
Museo Küppersmühle   Küppersmühle Museum   1997-1999, Duisburg
Oficinas comerciales de Ricola   Ricola Marketing Building   1997-1999, Laufen

Formas de tránsito
Forms of Transit

Residencia Kramlich   Kramlich House   1997 & 1999, Oakville
Cines Multiplex   Multiplex Cinemas   1997, Basilea  Basel
Muelle y frente marítimo   Link Quay and Seafront   1998 & 1999, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Centro cultural Óscar Domínguez   Cultural Centre   1999, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Biblioteca universitaria   University Library   1998 & 1999, Cottbus
Museo M.H. de Young   M.H. de Young Museum   1999, San Francisco


Luis Fernández-Galiano

H&deM, the First Two Decades

The work of the Basel architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron is one of the more important of this century’s end. After two decades, their track record has few equivalents in Europe or the world: some 150 projects, with the result of twenty or thirty astonishing buildings, and at least two absolute masterpieces, the signal box for the Swiss railways and the Dominus winery, The pragmatic efficiency of their floor plans, the visual refinement of their facades, and their frequent collaboration with artists have codified an image of the work as architecturally conservative and artistically innovative. But branding the oeuvre as ornamented minimalism is a reductive convention that distorts their intentions and their achievements.

Behind the functional and constructional plausibility of H&deM’s buildings is an intellectual framework that enables a sensible dialogue with clients, to reconcile the interests of urban and economic actors without narcissistic dogmatism. And behind the impeccable elegance of the claddings there is not only a trained eye and a steady hand, but a devastating pulse that strives to surface with contained violence: the emotional impact of their material constructions lies in this very tension. I have traced the work of the partners from Berlin to San Francisco and from England to France, and discussed it with them in Harvard and Basel, London and Madrid – mostly with Jacques Herzog, but also with Pierre de Meuron and Harry Gugger. This monograph is the result of these dialogues.

In early drafts of the issue we established two vintage years, inspired by the wine connoisseurship of the architects, that served as caesuras between periods: 1989, when the signal box and the Goetz collection were designed, and 1998, when their projects acquired a new geometric freedom. The former year, also a time of significant exhibitions and publications, separated the slow eighties, which saw no more than four or five projects a year, from the more prolific nineties, when the rhythm of projects sped up to one per month; and the latter date opened the panorama of the forthcoming century. But this fracture seemed contrived, so we finally opted for a simple division into two decades, with ten works selected for each ten-year period, followed by an appendix of recent projects.

A critical assessment is not complete without the architects’ own reflections, which are woven into the texts that accompany the works and the introductory articles. Their debt to Rossi or Beuys and the reading of their facades in Semperian terms are commonplaces we cannot help repeat, but their work has also been related here to an illustrious citizen of Basel, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and this Dionysian interpretation is probably less common. The texts occasionally cite Herzog alone when actually referring to the studio as a whole, but his energy is so unavoidable that the metonymy seems forgivable but Herzog needs De Meuron as uranium cores of reactors need graphite bars, or the way needed Franz Overbeck. H&deM is not a brand, but a fraternal symbiosis.

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