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Monday, September 15, 2008

56 Leonard Street by Herzog & de Meuron

Since its formation in 1978, the Basel, Switzerland-based architecture firm of Herzog & de Meuron has achieved international renown for buildings — houses, libraries, schools, stores, museums, hotels, factories, arenas — that strike an uncanny balance between strict refinement and pure invention, practicality and the sublime.
Their recently completed Beijing National Stadium in China, for billions of worldwide spectators the single most enduring image of the 2008 Olympic Games, has redefined the sports arena for the future, while museums like the Tate Modern at Bankside in London and the de Young Museum in San Francisco ambush expectations of what makes a building ideal for art.

With such commissions, Herzog & de Meuron has aimed not for virtuosity but innovation, looking always to the broader culture and art for inspiration. Referring to Andy Warhol, Jacques Herzog has said, “He used common Pop images to say something new. That is exactly what we are interested in: to use well known forms and materials in a new way so that they become alive again.”

On the threshold of its fourth decade, Herzog & de Meuron is poised to reinvent another great architectural prototype as construction begins in New York City on the first hi-rise tower of the firm’s career. 56 Leonard Street will be a 57-story residential condominium building at the intersection of Church Street and Leonard Street in the Tribeca Historic District of downtown Manhattan, where it will rise above cobbled streets and historic 19th century neighbors. from 56 Leonard Street by Herzog & de Meuron