Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron have been named the winners of the 2015 RIBA Charles Jencks Award, an annual prize named for British architect and critic Charles Jencks recognizing “major international contributions to the theory and practice of architecture.”
The duo—winners of the 2003 Stirling Prize—has long been innovators in the field, and have reached new levels of success as architectural chameleons who are known as much for China’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium, the centerpiece of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as they are for their luxury condominiums in New York.
“We are delighted to be the winners of this year’s RIBA Jencks Award. We feel especially happy about that prize since it honours theory as well as practice. Despite the many texts and books we have published, we still have doubts about the longevity of texts written by architects,” the firm said in a statement. “The title of a few books may be remembered over time—the relevance of their content, though, ages faster than expected… We therefore always did our best not to separate theory from the built work. Buildings don’t follow theory but the best buildings always allow for theoretical interpretations of all kinds.”
Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron will receive the award at a ceremony at RIBA’s London headquarters on October 29. The jury was led by David Gloster and included Charles Jencks, Serpentine Gallery director Julia Peynton-Jones, and Architectural Association director Brett Steele, and RIBA president Stephen Hodder.