Tessenow Medal 2000


David Chipperfield

The Brit David Chipperfield is the recipient of this year’s Heinrich Tessenow Medal, created by Hamburg’s Alfred Toepfer Foundation to acclaim figures of architecture, industrial design and the teaching of both. In itself a declaration of principles, the medal’s name pays tribute to the German architect who early in the century defended a modernity attached to the vernacular against the abstract approach advocated by the first rationalists. Among previous winners are singular masters like Sverre Fehn and Juan Navarro Baldeweg. And Chipperfield now joins them with a work of rigorous volumes and painstaking execution that deviates with artisanal sensibility from the cold perfection we associate with British high tech. Author of the River and Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames, whose pitched roofs evoke a succession of riverside boats, the architect is rehabilitating Berlin’s Neues Museum and has won the competition for the enlargement of Venice’s San Michele Cemetery with a project of fretwork-walled courtyards that echo the rhythm of solids and hollows of Roman columbaria.

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