Sir David Chipperfield
A world-renowned British architect, Sir David Chipperfield applies values of intelligence, permanence and logic to his projects. He has firmly established himself in the middle ground between the other-worldly, over-the-top designs of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid and the dull, lifeless design of so much modern development. “I don’t think architecture is radical, ” he told the Guardian in 2011. “How can something that takes years and costs millions be radical?”
After studying at the Kingston School of Art and the Architectural Association of London, the architect worked under Douglas Stephen, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster before establishing his own practice in 1984. David Chipperfield Architects gained notoriety first in Japan, then in Continental Europe, where his signature modernist austerity was revered. He was knighted in 2004, but it took his native England a long time to acknowledge his genius. Major contracts in Japan, Germany and the Unites States came long before acclaimed projects like the galleries Hepworth Wakefield and Turner Contemporary in his native country. He has continued to build his reputation with a wide assortment of notable buildings, including museums, retail spaces, hotels, office buildings and residences worldwide.
Chipperfield received international accolades for his 2003 reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin, which had been badly damaged in World War II and sat in ruins for more than half a century. Using materials like recycled bricks and adding elements that echoed the original structures without simply copying them, Chipperfield honored the past of the historic structure (part of the Museumsinsel, an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999) while infusing it with the modernist style of the new millennium. The building was controversial initially, with detractors accusing him of preserving too much of the Nazi legacy. But ultimately, Chancellor Angela Merkel deemed it “one of the most important museum buildings in European cultural history.”
David Chipperfield has been the proud recipient of numerous awards, including the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2007 for his Museum of Modern Literature in Germany, the most respected architecture award in England. He has also applied his rational and well-researched design approach to products for Alessi, Cassina IXC, Artemide, B&B Italia and others. A thoughtful and intellectual architect, Chipperfield takes the long view when it comes to design. “The difference between good and bad architecture, ” he says, “is the time you spend on it.”