Book Review: Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History

Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History edited by Philip Ursprung, published by Lars Müller Publishers, 2003. Hardover, 480 pages. (Amazon)

One year after the architects Herzog & de Meuron were awarded the 2001 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the Canadian Centre for Architecture mounted an exhaustive exhibition of the firm's work, entitled "Archaeology of the Mind". Also curated by Ursprung, the exhibition is documented in this book with essays, interviews and images, fit into six categorical chapters: Transformation and Alienation, Appropriation and Modification, Stacking and Compression, Imprints and Moulds, Interlocking Spaces, Beauty and Atmosphere. As these titles (and the exhibition and book names) indicate, the architect's design process takes precedence over completed buildings in the publication, particularly through the archaeological presentation of working models. In the end the reader gains an understanding of their unique practice and the duo's artistic positions.