Last week, the Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel, the charitable organization established by the Swiss architects in 2015, donated materials pertaining to nine built and unbuilt projects, developed and realized between 1994 and 2018, to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The gift comprises 23 physical objects and accompanying digital assets, including sketches, models, digital drawing sets, photographs, and videos. 

The donation exhibits the broad scope of the firm’s contribution to contemporary architecture. The works, among them the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, demonstrate some of the ways in which the duo have challenged architectural materiality and typology, and looked beyond traditional practice with their close collaborations with artists such as Thomas Ruff and Ai Weiwei. 

“For more than three decades, Herzog & de Meuron’s practice has been a singular and defining voice in the discourse of contemporary architecture,” said Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA, in a statement. 

The donation, which will add to four earlier architectural projects by Herzog & de Meuron already in MoMA’s collection, point to museums’ increased interest in obtaining works of contemporary architecture. Last week, the 1960s avant-garde studio Archigram sold its archive to the M+ Museum in Hong Kong for $2.3 million, while prominent architectural photographer Alan Karchmer donated several pieces from his collected body of work to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.