Vita of Meinhard von Gerkan
Prof. Dr. h. c. mult. Dipl.-Ing. Architekt BDA
Born in 1935 in Riga, Latvia. Together with Volkwin Marg, von Gerkan founded gmp · von Gerkan, Marg and Partners Architects in 1965. The beginning of his career was marked by an important project—Berlin Tegel Airport—which has been followed by many others to this day, including Berlin’s central train station, the Hanoi Museum, and most recently the Kulturpalast Dresden. In 1974 von Gerkan was appointed to the Chair for Design by Technical University (TU) Braunschweig and in 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Chung Yuan Christian University in Chung Li, Taiwan. The East China Normal University College of Design in Shanghai awarded von Gerkan an honorary professorship in 2007, and Tongji University in Shanghai appointed him Advising Professor in 2014. He is one of the co-founders of the gmp Foundation and the Academy for Architectural Culture (aac) for the advancement of gifted young architects, which works to promote young architects. Von Gerkan is a member of the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg and has received numerous awards, such as the Fritz Schumacher Prize, the Romanian State Prize, the Association of German Architects Grand Award, and Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit. His two-volume biography was published by Jovis in 2015.
Meinhard von Gerkan will be honored in Beijing on September 24, 2019, with the Liang Sicheng Prize – the highest distinction for architects in China. The news of the award coincides with the 20th anniversary of gmp’s building activity in China.
Meinhard von Gerkan will be honored with the Liang Sicheng Architecture Prize – the highest distinction for architects in China. The prize is awarded every two years by the Architectural Society of China (ASC) and supported by the International Union of Architects (UIA). It aims to stimulate the creativity of architects and architectural scholars and to promote architectural production as well as teaching and research in the field. The award is named after Liang Sicheng, one of China’s most prominent architects, architectural historians, and educators. In the first half of the 20th century he dedicated himself to, among other things, the preservation of historical Chinese architecture. In 1947, Princeton University awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions. Liang, who had studied at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, had always championed cultural exchange between Chinese and international architects.
Ever since winning the competition for the German School in Beijing and beginning his building activity in the country, twenty years ago, Meinhard von Gerkan has also promoted this cultural exchange. Under his leadership, more than one hundred projects have been realized in China that have had a strong influence on the country’s architecture over the past two decades. Without von Gerkan’s deep attachment to China, manifested in more than eighty visits, this would not have been possible. For him, the focus has always been on conducting a dialogue that explores the local culture and its translation in contemporary architecture – whether for the construction of Nanhui (originally Lingang) New City, the National Museum of China, or the Haidian Christian Church in Beijing.
Von Gerkan on the Liang Sicheng Prize: “I am especially honored to receive this highest award for architecture in China. And it delights me all the more that the news coincides with the 20th anniversary of our building activity in China. I have a strong bond with the country. Ever since my first visit in 1998, I have been impressed by the dynamism, the speed and, in a certain sense, the openness to new things. This eagerness to attempt and realize new things – combined with extremely fast decision-making processes – has always inspired our work in China.”