As part of his lecture at the Oskar von Miller Forum, Thomas Herzog gave an insight into his approach to the planning and construction process which is characterised by work on buildings with a convincing design that are in harmony with both the environment and the user.
This is also the defining characteristic of the exhibition for the international competition ‘International Prize for Sustainable Architecture’, which is held and awarded by Italy’s renowned faculty at the University of Ferrara and in which Thomas Herzog has played a significant role for many years as the chairman of the jury.
In this context, outstanding buildings in German-speaking countries that have received prizes from the international jury were shown for the first time at the Oskar von Miller Forum. They were all prime examples of the wide variety of designs and convincing quality of sustainable construction in various cultural regions and climates. The projects shown included little-known buildings from completely different regions as well as projects by internationally renowned architects such as Shigeru Ban, Sauerbruch Hutton and Herrmann Kaufmann. Thomas Herzog made a major contribution to the development of this architectural competition, which is financed by the Italian company ‘Fassa Bortolo’ without any link to its own products.
On 3 August this year Thomas Herzog, one of Germany’s most important architects, turned 70. Certainly a reason to celebrate as well as an occasion to look back at more than 40 years’ work on innovative solutions for architecture that would stand the test of time and is rooted in environmental awareness, an application of technologies for the use of renewable energies and an understanding of architecture as a contribution to the architectural culture of our society.
Thomas Herzog reached international acclaim in 1979 through a residential property equipped to use solar energy in Regensburg, the function, design and form of which were in harmony with one another. The use of environmental energies, the application of renewable building materials and the creation of a pleasant indoor climate using natural principles shaped the appearance in a forward-looking manner. With this fundamental principle, Thomas Herzog became one of the outstanding pioneers of progressive, sustainable construction that is free of any bias and specifically tackles the functional requirements, local realities and technological possibilities with each new construction task.
Over the decades an exceptional work of outstanding architecture has been created that includes a broad array of different buildings. One of the more recent buildings of Thomas Herzog is the Oskar von Miller Forum, which was completed in 2009. Future-oriented methods for the use of environmental energies, the innovative application of constructional possibilities, materials and technologies as well as the pursuit of a high standard of quality of use were implemented in a design that carries conviction.
Apart from his architectural work Thomas Herzog is also well known as an excellent scientist and university teacher. After professorships in Kassel, Darmstadt and at the Technische Universität München, guest professorships in Europe and the USA, he started at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he has been teaching “Green Architecture” for several years now.
His extensive publications include the Solar Charta, an official European document that is available in ten languages, “SOKA-BAU – Nutzung, Effizienz, Nachhaltigkeit” (SOKA construction – use, efficiency, sustainability), the “Fassadenatlas” (façade atlas), the “Holzbauatlas” (timber construction atlas) as well as a number of publications in international trade journals.