Announced on the 19th of August, Herzog & de Meuron have received the RIBA Jencks award, a title reserved for “an individual (or practice) that has recently made a major contribution internationally to both the theory and practice of architecture.” Judged by the well acclaimed design directors: Stephen Hodder (RIBA President and Chairman of Hodder and Partners); Julia Peyton-Jones (Director of the Serpentine Galleries); Brett Steele (Director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture); and David Gloster (RIBA Director of Education), and of course world-renowned theorist Charles Jencks, the namesake of the award.

Herzog & de Meuron are most likely to be known for their Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, but they received the award based on their merit in design being overall sympathetic to any context within they design. Being no stranger to design awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2001), an RIBA Royal Gold Medal (2007), a Praemium Imperiale (2007) and the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) (2014), it is apparent that their base of architectural theory not only informs but allows their designs to be more than just an outcome to both the public and architecture professionals. Herzog & de Meuron’s influence and contribution to the modern/contemporary world of design is strongly revered by anyone who comes into contact with their work.

“We are delighted to be the winners of this year’s RIBA Jencks Award. We feel especially happy about that prize since it honours theory as well as practice. Despite the many texts and books we have published, we still have doubts about the longevity of texts written by architects. The title of a few books may be remembered over time – the relevance of their content, though, ages faster than expected… We therefore always did our best not to separate theory from the built work. Buildings don’t follow theory but the best buildings always allow for theoretical interpretations of all kinds.”Herzog & de Meuron

See Herzog & de Meuron work here.


by Thelma Ndebele

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