Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are among the very few architects whose work can be interpreted as an effort to regain architecture’s original grounds. They believe that although a certain concept and preliminary design must always be used, architecture “builds itself”, and by having an open mind during the creation of a building, you can capture the true meaning behind the structure. They believe that architecture is a journey, a discovery, into the fundamental nature of the building.
Herzog and de Meuron are probably two of the most celebrated practitioners of minimalism in the world. The works of Herzog & de Meuron are characterized by several different principles and, for example one common characteristic is the application of repetition as a design principle. With Herzog & de Meuron repetition is an instrument, which permits the design of a space, in which differential intensities can be expressed. For example, in the Ricola Factory and Warehouse, there is repetition in the use of the translucent polycarbonate on the front and back façade. An even closer look shows the repetition on these polycarbonate squares of a serigraphed deign of a plant leaf, not only extending along the walls, but under the overhanging canopy, the interior, and the exterior landscape as well.
“Herzog and de Meuron work with geometrically clearly defined volumes, which through the polyvalence of their surfaces alternate between lightness and transparency on the one hand, density and heaviness on the other” (Vitruvio.ch, 2). In the Dominius Winery in Yountville, California, 1997 the simple concrete building for storing the wine is clad in the dark local stone graded to generate several densities in the facade. Some of the stones are open in texture, others dense and concealing. Another example of these architects' interest in the intricately worked building shell is the project for a Greek Orthodox Church in Zurich. Here a semi-transparent glass box surrounds several inner glass boxes with an interior effect marked by the gilt icon prints that cover the whole of the walls.
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