The Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron Architekten has dominated international headlines this summer. In June, the firm won planning permission to build the first new skyscraper in Paris for over 40 years. The decision to dramatically alter the city's sacred skyline has proved inevitably controversial, but for many, Herzog & de Meuron were a natural choice.
Founded in Basel by partners Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in 1978, the architectural firm attracted global attention within just a few short years. Early highlights in their native land include the Blaues Haus in Oberwil and the Apartment Building in Basel.
According to the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which the firm went on to win in 2001, their breakthrough project was the Ricola Storage Building in Laufen, Switzerland, built in 1987. However, today their best-known work has to be the Beijing National Stadium, erected for the 2008 Olympic Games and famously nicknamed the 'Bird's Nest'.
The firm has previously designed several other stadiums, including the Munich Allianz Arena. Other renowned designs by the firm include several that pay homage to the arts, such as the Parrish Art Museum on Long Island. The prolific firm is in the middle of construction on multiple high-profile projects, including Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie and the National Library of Israel, slated for completion by 2017 and 2020 respectively.
Herzog & de Meuron's boundary-pushing Parisian skyscraper will become the third-tallest building in the French capital. The Tour Triangle is envisioned as a 180-metre glass triangle with an interior including a hotel, office space and cultural facilities. Planning permission for the tower was denied in November 2014, but awarded when resubmitted seven months later. Although the plans have dismayed some locals who cherish the low, classical buildings for which Paris is known, the architects claim the skyscraper will restore the historical axis in the city formed by the Rue de Vaugirard and Avenue Ernest Renan.
The architects furthered their media prominence this year by providing the design for the Slow Food pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015. Taking inspiration from the show's theme of 'Feeding the World, Energy for Life', their work could not be more different in its aesthetic from the glass skyscraper due to adorn the Paris skyline.
Determined to bring the focus of the exhibition back to the exhibitors, the architects designed three understated wooden pavilions. The ingenious, sustainable design allows the buildings to be dismantled after the event and sent to local schools, where they will be used as vegetable gardens. The design has been described as giving the Milan Expo its original purpose back and providing an alternative to grandiose temporary structures, which can distract visitors from the true intention of the event.
Herzog & de Meuron Architekten has, since its conception, proved itself to be a versatile and inspiring firm. It continues to win groundbreaking planning permission, allowing it to pursue the creation of its masterpieces worldwide. With the latest design due to radically change and influence Paris, now is the ideal time to invest in property in the capital's most sought-after districts. With two shops in the City of Light and a third coming soon, Engel & Völkers are ideally placed to advise you on the perfect investment for the future.