Herzog & de Meuron
1 October – 20 November 1988
Ulrike Jehle-Schulte Strathaus

The exhibition at the Architecture Museum consists, on one hand, of objects that are a product of the architectural process, that is, part of the developing architecture, always referring to it and therefore never entirely autonomous.

However, these objects – models, drawings and plans – undergo a modification of their documentary, independent status by being brought together in such fashion that a new form emerges, a form that makes the essence of the architecture (a physical presence that is somewhere outside) tangible, enabling us to perceive the absent form as a mental construct.

The space for the exhibition of these objects is the building of the Architecture Museum in Basel, whose outstanding architectural quality is defined by the fragile, glass shell of the façade.

Silkscreens were printed on the glazing, each of them custom-made for the exhibition to match the size of the steel-framed windows of the building. They engage with the building and become part of it, not so much because of the actual, physical print but rather because of the potential of the cropped images to relate to their surroundings. Similarly, the images do not focus on the familiar perspectival rendition of real architecture, but rather on the intrinsic idea underlying these architectural realities.

We deliberately avoided the pitfall of an exhaustive representation of each project; straightforward, supposedly complete “legibility” (whose didactic value is questionable) was not our priority. We were more interested in connecting than in separating our projects, more interested in looking at them from a new vantage point and apprehending them in the larger context. Thus, the images and the white silkscreens on the glazing of the façade become an architectural work in their own right, so much so that they no longer need the architecture outside, although they are inconceivable without it.

A related approach in a different medium is demonstrated by Helmut Federle’s painting The Face (1982), on loan from the artist and on view in the architecturally defined space of the exhibition.

Herzog & de Meuron, 1988
Translation: Catherine Schelbert


Exhibition Catalog




Organizer / Curator
Ulrike Jehle-Schulte Strathaus, Architekturmuseum Basel

Silkscreen on Glass: artist Guido Nussbaum, Basel, Switzerland

Adolf Krischanitz, Model of Vienna Aspern housing (section designed by Krischanitz)
Helmut Federle, The Face, 1982, oil on canvas, 51 x 40.5 cm (property of the artist)

Exhibited Projects
014 Frei Photographic Studio, Weil am Rhein, Germany
017 Stone House, Tavole, Italy
022 House for a Veterinary Surgeon, Dagmersellen, Switzerland
027 Plywood House, Bottmingen, Switzerland
031 Apartment and Office Building Schwitter, Basel, Switzerland
034 House for an Art Collector, Therwil, Switzerland
038 Ricola Storage Building, Laufen, Switzerland
043 Housing Pilotengasse, Vienna, Austria
044 Apartment Building and Nursing Home Schwarz Park, Basel, Switzerland

Swiss Architecture Museum


Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 1978-1988. The Complete Works. Volume 1.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Chinese ed. Beijing, China Architecture & Building Press, 2010. Vol. No. 1.

Herzog & de Meuron. Natural History.” Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. “Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind.” Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 – 6 April 2003. 2nd ed. Baden, Lars Müller, 2005.

Wilfried Wang: Herzog & de Meuron. 3rd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1998. (Studiopaperback).

Bernhard Bürgi, Jacques Herzog: “Gespräch zwischen Jacques Herzog und Bernhard Bürgi, Basel, 8. November 1990. Conversation between Jacques Herzog and Bernhard Bürgi, Basel, 8th November 1990.”
In: Gerhard Mack (Ed.). “Herzog & de Meuron 1989-1991. Das Gesamtwerk. Band 2. The Complete Works. Volume 2.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1996. 2nd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2005. Vol. No. 2. pp. 183-188.
First published in: Jacques Herzog, Bernhard Bürgi: “Gespräch zwischen Jacques Herzog und Bernhard Bürgi, Basel, 8. November 1990.”
In: Kunstverein München (Ed.). “Architektur von Herzog & de Meuron im Kunstverein München. Eine Ausstellung in den vier Räumen des Kunstvereins München mit Beiträgen von Helmut Federle und Enrique Fontanilles sowie einem Gespräch Berhard Bürgi – Jacques Herzog. Exh. Cat. Architektur von Herzog & de Meuron im Kunstverein München.” 1 March – 7 April 1991. Munich, Kunstverein München, 1991. pp. 8-20.

Jacques Herzog: “Die verborgene Geometrie der Natur. The Hidden Geometry of Nature.”
In: Gerhard Mack (Ed.). “Herzog & de Meuron 1978-1988. Das Gesamtwerk. Band 1. The Complete Works. Volume 1.” Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1997. Vol. No. 1. pp. 207-211.
First published in: Jacques Herzog: “La Geometria oculta de la Naturalesa. The Hidden Geometry of Nature.”
In: Josep Lluís Mateo (Ed.). “Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme. Geogafies. Geographies.” Vol. No. 181/182, Barcelona, Col-legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya. Association of Catalan Architects, 09.1989. pp. 96-109. October 1988.

“Herzog & de Meuron. Architektur Denkform.” Edited by: Architekturmuseum Basel. Exh. Cat. “Herzog & de Meuron. Architektur Denkform.” Architekturmuseum Basel. 1 October – 20 November 1988. French ed. Basel, Wiese SA, 1989.

“Herzog & de Meuron. Architektur Denkform.” Edited by: Architekturmuseum Basel. Exh. Cat. “Herzog & de Meuron. Architektur Denkform.” Architekturmuseum Basel. 1 October – 20 November 1988. Basel, Wiese AG, 1988.