RICHARD MEIER

LIFE AND TIME
Place of Birth: Newark, New Jersey in 1934 Education: Graduated from Cornell University in 1957

Awards: • Numerous awards include the 1984 Pritzker Prize. • The 1989 Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects, • A Medal of Honor from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, • Twelve national AIA Honor Awards, • Thirty-one New York AIA Design Awards, and the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize for the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Architectural practice: • Meier graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; his early experience included work with the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in New York City and with Marcel Breuer, a noted architect.

PHILOSPHY
Architectural style: • A common theme runs through Richard Meier's striking, white designs. • The sleek porcelain-enameled cladding and stark glass forms have been described as "purist," "sculptural," and "Neo-Corbusian." Listed here are a few of his most significant works. • He is noted for his refinements of and variations on classic modernist principles: pure geometry, open space, and an emphasis on light.

Quotations: • "We are all affected by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, and Mies van der Rohe. But no less than Bramante, Borromini, and Bernini. Architecture is a tradition, a long continuum. Whether we break with tradition or enhance it, we are still connected to that past. We evolve."

• "... I think white is the most wonderful color of all, because within it one can find every color of the rainbow."

MAJOR ARCHITECTURAL WORKS
• • • • Getty Centre in Los Angeles City Hall and Central Library in the Hague Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona Stadthaus (Civic Exhibition and Assembly Building) in Ulm, Germany • Hypobank Headquarters in Luxembourg • North American Headquarters building for Swissair in Melville, New York • Museum of Television & Radio in Los Angeles

GETTY CENTER
• The Getty Center, sometimes referred to as a campus, is comprised of six buildings: the Auditorium, North and East Buildings, the Museum, Cafe and Research Institute on the south and western sides of the site. • It is also sometimes called a modern "Acropolis" since it is spectacularly located on a 110-acre hilltop with a view of Los Angeles and west to the Pacific Ocean. • Because of height restrictions, much of the Getty Center is underground and the six buildings are linked to each other at basement levels.

• The huge complex, in memory of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, costed 1 billion dollars. • • Richard Meier, was awarded the commission over two other finalists, Fumihiko Maki and James Sterling. Meier is known for his high tech white buildings but not all of the buildings at the Getty Center are of white enamel panels; some are clad in a warm beige textured travertine.

• The site is extensively landscaped, partly because Meier's building aesthetic demands an interaction with the natural environment and partly because the site had been completely disturbed during construction and thus subject to erosion.

The Courtyard

The Courtyard west end

Exterior of the Rotunda

The Interior of the Rotunda

The Tram port

Over the Tram

Research Institute

Restaurant

HIGH MUSEUM OF ART
• • • • Location: Atlanta, Georgia Date: 1983 Building Type: art museum Construction System: concrete frame, enameled steel cladding • Style: Modern • Notes: curved facade to sunny atrium

The High Museum of Art is characteristic of Meier's style. Like most of his buildings, it is white, clad in this case in porcelain-enameled steel panels. It uses an exterior ramp (with a square archway) to focus the eye and an interior ramp for circulation.

• The structure houses not only exhibit space and staff offices, but an auditorium, cafe, museum shop, and other spaces. • The plan has been "based on three cubes occupying the corners of a square. The building concludes toward the fourth corner in a generously-glazed quarter circle.

The Curvature

The Front View

The Ramp

THE ATHENEUM
• • • • Location: New Harmony, Indiana Date: 1975 to 1979 Building Type: community center Construction System: steel frame, porcelain enameled cladding • Climate: temperate • Style: Modern • Notes: three-dimensional play of disciplined geometries.

• This four-story visitors' center houses offices, a small auditorium, and exhibit space. • On a hill outside the historic village of New Harmony, it is the starting point for the tour of this utopian community. • The brilliant white steel frame building is clad in square (2'6") porcelain enamel panels

Exterior Staircase

West side Exterior View

South-West side Exterior View

South side Exterior View

Interior View

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS
• Location: Barcelona, Germany • Date: 1992 to 1995 • Building Type: art museum, art gallery • Climate: temperate • Context: urban • Style: Modern • Notes: elegant gridded grids in white.

• The main entry is paralleled by a pedestrian passageway between the museum’s rear garden and a newly created plaza in front of the museum. • The main entry is framed by an overhanging screen of planar elements and rectilinear windows, appearing to slide past a recessed terrace in the museum’s façade. • A wall running through the building’s length is sheathed with white aluminum panels, creating a division between the entry/ circulation elements and the main gallery spaces.

Main Entrance

Front facade

Shading devices

Detailed horizontal glass screen covering the ramp

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND WEBLIOGRAPHY

• Richard Meier – Details • Microsoft Encarta • www.archiplanet.com • www.wikipedia.com • www.greatbuildingsonline.com