herzog & de meuron website



Aug 23, 11 1:36 pm

Comical! I hope they give microsoft run for its money. I can't find the paint program in their OS though. 

How do I change the desktop wallpaper? Will it run on my cellphone? How about microwave? So many opportunities.

Aug 23, 11 1:46 pm

There is a French expression that I love to use "Mieux tard que jamais!!!". Don't know if I can translate into "It's better late than never"!!! Look strange but you may understand what I mean with "mieux tard que…". Anyway, welcome (bienvenu à ) H&dM in the Net world…

Aug 23, 11 2:50 pm

This firm was picked to do a museum near me. Local architects were even considered, there was no competition.

The first design (>$80 million) was abandoned as too expensive in a collapsing economy. To put this in perspective, the museum has an annual budget of <$3.5 million.

The design under construction is two adjoining gable roofs that create a valley several hundred feet long that will trap water, snow and ice. Failure of this design is not anticipated, it is guaranteed.


Aug 23, 11 3:11 pm

no it won't. do you really think they wouldn't take care of something that obvious?

Aug 23, 11 3:22 pm

Is it just inexperience, or are you really so naive?

The Hidden Costs of ‘Starchitecture’

It’s obvious that trustees of most museums and other cultural institutions are bedazzled by the idea of “starchitecture.” When commissioning new buildings, they don’t merely want a structure to house the functions of their institutions. Their primary desire is for a sculptural edifice that will attract acclaim from architecture critics and “buzz” in the popular press.

What these institutional trustees don’t realize is that many of these “cutting edge” buildings by brand-name architects come with major unanticipated costs. The latest example is in Denver, where Daniel Libeskind’s radically designed new pavilion for the Denver Art Museum is undergoing a major re-roofing because of leaks it’s had ever since it opened in 2006. The building’s official construction cost was $110 million – but that doesn’t include the price of replacing much of the leaky roof. No one is saying how much the massive roof repairs will cost – nor who is going to pay for them.

Another well-publicized example is the lawsuit MIT filed against architect Frank Gehry and the building contractor for MIT’s new Stata Center, which is full of dizzying angles. The suit alleges that deficient design services and drawings caused leaks to spring, masonry to crack, mold to grow, drainage to back up and falling ice and debris to block emergency exits.

The deconstructivist Stata Center at MIT, designed by Frank Gehry, opened in 2004. Many architecture critics lauded its radical design. However MIT sued the architect and builder because of leaks and other structural flaws.

And at Harvard, modernist Otto Hall, opened just 19 years ago, is slated for demolition because its exterior walls have deteriorated so badly that Harvard says it’s cheaper to tear it down and start over.

In another local debacle, Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects designed a $6 million library addition and renovation. This "green" project - with 3 stories of north facing glass - has a geothermal HVAC system that increased electrical costs $3,000 a month. Some planned shelf space was abandoned during construction to meet fire codes, and total shelf space was some 20% less than the original building, which was the half the size of the completed project.

Aside from assorted leaks and other failures, a major failure is imminent, in particular flooding of the lower level due to site work that funnels water towards it (see picture bottom right). The project was completed last year, and water has already been within an inch of intrusion.



Aug 23, 11 5:28 pm

awesome site... totally dig it... way to go HdeM

Aug 23, 11 6:17 pm

Im sure HdM have plenty of buildings that dont leak.

website looks very swiss

Aug 23, 11 6:22 pm

Is it just inexperience, or are you really so naive?

No, not as naive and foolish as you are to assume a major architectural firm and their clients wouldn't see a major roof flaw in a simple form like that. Stop beating the starchitect dead horse and improve your wisdom dude. That's a boring article too. Everybody knows those building problems and leaky roofs. Faulty buildings are not exclusive to famous architects.

Aug 23, 11 6:37 pm

I agree. "starchitecture is bad" makes for a boring and outdated conversation.

Aug 23, 11 8:05 pm


as i recall the builders were sued (along with gehry) for the mit project because they didn't go with gehry's details but substituted VE'd versions....

thomas jefferson's house (monticello) was famous for leaking.  does that mean neo-classical architecture is all bullshit too?  and all brick buildings as well.  or maybe just white roofs?  damn those presidential architects building with craft techniques of their time and letting their fame get in the way of sensible sod roofs like their forefathers used.


...apologies for the diversion. it's a nice site, and they are nice fellows all round and they love their football so who can talk about roofs...

Aug 23, 11 8:19 pm



website looks very swiss  . . .you mean like cheesy?



Aug 23, 11 8:37 pm

more like very blank, but some cheese would be swell

Aug 23, 11 9:08 pm

This forum is starting to look like amateur hour at the comedy club. 

“If the roof doesn't leak, the architect hasn't been creative enough.” -- FLW

If the roof leaks the architect has failed to complete his responsibility, either by design flaw or by not assuring proper building practice. Either way there is professional liability. Health and safety are not the limits of an architect’s responsibility.

@applet: You're correct that faulty buildings are not exclusive to famous architects, but that does not excuse famous architects for buildings that fail. Celebrity / ego / etc. are not a substitute for competence. In fact, we should expect MORE from those at the top of our profession, not less, and we should not make excuses for them. 


Aug 23, 11 9:29 pm

sensible sod roofs like their forefathers used.

Not in English colonies and commonwealth countries. Thatch was banned in the 16th-century and wooden shakers in the 17th-century. And sod roofs (keep wanting to spell that rooves) haven't been widely used in the Anglo-Saxon sphere since probably about the 1200s. They're more widely used in Scandinavian countries than they are in England.

As a planner, you should know that England's fire-proofing laws were some of the first widely applied zoning codes!

Monticello's original roof was terracoata over hammered tin. I'm not sure it leaked so much as it had problems with condensation because the ambitious design at the time didn't understand waterproofing or insulation very well. You could even say that Monticello's roof at the time was experimental and therefore starchitecture.

It wasn't well into the very late 19th-century that wood became a popular building material thanks to the powered plane and steam-powered sawmill.

Aug 23, 11 10:16 pm

Miles buddy you're the one coming off amateur and your post has nothing to do with HdM's new website.  We get it you don't like starchitects and or leaky roofs...great thanks for you opinion now move on.

Aug 23, 11 10:17 pm

Miles buddy you're the one coming off amateur and your post has nothing to do with HdM's new website.  We get it you don't like starchitects and or leaky roofs...great thanks for you opinion now move on.

Aug 23, 11 10:17 pm

it's about time they had something..but where are their roof details?  everyone knows you can't be a proper architect until you design non-leaky roofs...there's practically nothing else to architecture actually.


Aug 23, 11 10:58 pm

"it's about time they had something..but where are their roof details?  everyone knows you can't be a proper architect until you design non-leaky roofs...there's practically nothing else to architecture actually."


Aug 23, 11 11:42 pm


damn you JJR, stop with the facts!  they are getting in the way of the truth.

Aug 24, 11 1:31 am

Miles you just quoted a dead starchitect whose most famous building leaked.

Please proceed to ARE forum
There are wiser things to be said here.

Aug 24, 11 8:29 am

Actually Orion... If you can look beyond the fist-wringing and bitter discontent, Jaffe's post could be surprisingly on-topic.

While, in the general business sense, it's always good to have visibility and to market, market, market... sometimes, for some, marketing can be a bit of a double-edged sword. This is because making your project lists and standard business operation public brings greater attention to them. I, for example, had no actual idea that H&dM did this much work.

So, now, when someone like Jaffe says, "They're doing that one museum in Long Island, you know, the shitty one with the shitty roof," we can now pinpoint exactly which one it is. This tiny firm with pet projects has now turned out to be a 350 person firm with international offices and a project list longer than a porn star's dick.

I like my pre-website image of H&dM.


Aug 24, 11 8:34 am

what? this reminds me of:

Aug 24, 11 8:38 am

what made you think they were a tiny office JJ? Myself I rather liked their original crazy design for the museum, but can totally believe they would have ended up like the folk art museum in NY if it had gone through.

Aug 24, 11 10:40 am

Little press. Handful of publicly known projects. Don't sprocken ze deutsch. Very "mysterious" aside from that. I just had the image that H&dM were just two pissed off Central European dudes who were general badasses and did whatever the fugghhh they wanted too. This was partly reinforced by the idea that they have the time and money to enter into a lot of competitions.

And by little press, I mean like they're not like Fosters + Partners or Zaha Hadid. If someone paints a wall or farts in either of those firms, it makes BDonline and Bloomberg in 12 hours.

Aug 24, 11 10:57 am

Dunno, website looks about 10 years old (if I had a few more minutes I could go find them, particularly the text portion - "Image", etc.).  Not really a fan of dragging windows, either (again, decade old idea).  


Milles - why so bitter?  So you don't like stararchitect's or extravagant architecture (although you seem to overlook the monetary value many of these projects, like DAM, which I personally love and visit and attractions do offer value), that's fine, please proceed with your day and ignore most of archinect, which does happen to love the more progressive designs.

Aug 24, 11 11:19 am

@trace: Where do you get the idea that I don't like extravagant architecture? What I don't like is functionally incompetent architecture. That's not bitter, it's critical. The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not possess it.

Aesthetics are another matter entirely.

For what it's worth, I agree with you about Herzog & de Meuron's website.

Aug 24, 11 1:06 pm

tell us what you like Miles, that would be a surprise, but be specific.

pionting out possible leaks in starchitecture buildings or saying "theyre funny shapes" is hardly a serious line of criticism

Aug 24, 11 1:16 pm

Jaffe's favorite house:

Because waterproofing!

Aug 24, 11 1:49 pm

I feel bad for whoever designed the HdM website then sees that there are almost 30 comments about it on Archinect! only to discover they are almost all about leaky roofs not the website design.

Aug 24, 11 3:15 pm
won and done williams

How anyone could see this as anything less than an amazing H&deM resource is beyond me.

Aug 24, 11 4:03 pm

"How anyone could see this as anything less than an amazing H&deM resource is beyond me."

Sounds like an arrogant stance on something as subjective as website design. No? Or are you arguing that a web presence for a company is better than nothing? That's kind of stating the obvious. 


Aug 24, 11 4:17 pm

Despite all the obvious hacks, slashes and crosschecks at the website: I like the fact that the approach it as a encyclopedia of their work. No fancy graphics, no attempts to sell anything: they just show the work. What wonders me, if you look at the projects, is that they took 3 years to design that website...

Aug 24, 11 4:44 pm

the website design is fine for me, ten years old stylins or not.  but not so much a resource after all.  not many images really. 

nice to see some of their early work though, like usernametaken says.  letting it all hang out, even the boring stuff, is cool.  



Aug 24, 11 6:34 pm

Love the website and love their work.

Aug 24, 11 10:33 pm

I don't mind the website, it is just a little busy and underwhelming.  My largest gripes are the size of the images is pretty small (or maybe I just want to see more!) and having multiple windows to close/drag is annoying.


I'll be browsing through it, though.  

Aug 24, 11 11:41 pm



The site slows down my system (probably because the files put my anti-virus software into overdrive), so I simplified the project list file, stored it on my own computer, and now the browsing and data delivery is quick and easy. I suppose their files are heavy and organized the way they are (windows in windows in windows) to protect the content from being easily copied, but, you know, copies are right there in the...

Otherwise, if content protection is not the issue, the site design could be delivering its content so much lighter and easier.




Aug 25, 11 12:37 pm

reminds me of the 0300tv website

Aug 25, 11 2:01 pm



The Herzog & de Meuron website project began in 2008; could that have been late June 2008?



Aug 25, 11 8:58 pm

that's great ~

Sep 5, 11 1:25 am

Looks like they're hiring!  That could be me designing the next leaky roof.

Sep 5, 11 1:31 pm

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