Herzog & de Meuron

Over the past four decades, Herzog & de Meuron have worked on a diversity of tasks from small, seemingly insignificant projects to urban master plans and large-scale territorial studies. We have learned how architecture and urban planning shape society and the cultural identity of a place. Independent of nature or size, we seek to foster the public life a project could generate.

Since modern times, humans increasingly understood civilization and nature as opposites. Where we find ourselves today, we need a new equilibrium – in society and in architecture. In this respect, sustainable urban planning is anti-modern, open to disruptions and contradictions. It creates spaces that people can make their own and leaves room for animals and plants.

Climate, energy, biodiversity and inclusion have become the central drivers in creating sustainable neighborhoods, cities, countries. The long-term success of urban planning is equally dependent on establishing the right balance and distribution of uses which are socially, functionally and economically sustainable. As frameworks that need to adapt over time, many urban plans often stay incomplete – but must function well regardless of their state of completion. Central principles we follow in our Masterplans are: build on the built; maximize open and green spaces; reuse what you can; incorporate flexibility; mix uses; activate ground floors; prioritize public transport and slow traffic; involve the community throughout the process.

In urban masterplans for Basel and Lyon, in concepts for major infrastructural projects such as the Cargo Sous Terrain underground transport system across Switzerland, in studies of Mexico City, Natal, Hangzhou, Seoul and Sion, or in the Portrait of Switzerland, we seek to grasp the innate energy of cities and landscapes in order to develop their potential and reinforce their identity – always in collaboration with like-minded specialists and the urban planning authorities.