Two U.S. Art Museums by Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron is a Swiss architecture firm founded by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. They are well-known architects for testing new techniques and materials in buildings, and most importantly let’s not forget their reputation for the Tate Modern. Here are two interesting art museums in the United States built by Herzog & de Meuron.

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

Florida, U.S.A (2013)

The history of the museum began back in 1984 and was renamed as Miami Art Museum from 1996 until Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron designed the new innovative three-story contemporary art museum in downtown waterfront on Biscayne Bay.

Behind its construction, there was an opposition to naming the museum that is built on a public land donated by the city of Miami, after an individual, Jorge M. Pérez. Hoping to see the future Miami as an ‘international cultural destination,’ a founder of the Related Group and also a real-estate developer of multi-family residences in Miami, donated $35 million to the museum.

The immediate eye-catching feature of the newly built museum is its massive concrete walled architecture with an immense veranda. Also, the particular characteristics that Miami holds in its urban landscape were reflected and revealed as architects aimed to let museum have a natural expansion from the surroundings. A response to Miami’s tropical climate, and unlike other art museums, Pérez Art Museum Miami consists of hanging vertical tropical plants in the veranda, designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc.

The architects’ architectural philosophy was to let museum be distant from the in-and-out barrier. The spatial flow and sequence suggested within the museum also leads to increase its functional capability and flexibility without having a linear order. It is expressed by PAMM’s four different types of galleries- Overview, Focus, Project, and Special Exhibition galleries. The building is lifted off the ground and raised high enough to protect artworks in case of storm surge and glass. The windows are hurricane resistant and a bit tinted to protect art from the sun damage.

de Young Museum

San Francisco, U.S.A (2005)

Back in 1989, the original structure of the de Young Museum, named after a publisher M.H. de Young, was severely damaged due to Loma Prieta earthquake. Herzog & de Meuron then designed the fine art museum building to replace it located in Gold Gate Park. The museum holds a diverse range of cultures under a bold single roof, from 19th and 20th century American art collections to Africa, Oceania, and Central and South America. Its visual strategy of a human circulation is expressed by the roof alongside the Education Tower of 45m consisting of a spiral circulation from the ground. The architects chose copper, stone, glass and wood to extend its surrounding landscape into the museum building.

Speaking of copper and their experimental investigation of a new skin, they used it as a texture on the exterior facade, expecting it to become a layer of green as oxidation takes place over time. It would then naturally blend with the natural surroundings during the process. The texture and design of the copper panels are incorporated with the image pixels from the treetops in the park and allow light entering the building. A computer software was utilized to transform them to build artistic abstract patterns on the panels, which were then embossed and perforated.

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