Richard Alan Meier

Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1934, Richard Meier graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University in 1957. After graduation he backpacked to Europe in hope of joining his life-long idol, the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. Although Meier was able to meet Corbusier in Paris, the master would not hire him or any other American, during that time, since Corbusier believed that several major commissions throughout his career had been lost because of Americans. During his early career in New York, Meier was an architect by day and an abstract expressionist painter at night. For a period of time he shared a studio with his close friend Frank Stella. Meier eventually gave up painting to fully devote himself to architecture, although he continued to work on his collages. After returning to New York he briefly worked for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and then for about three years with Marcel Breuer, a product of the German Bauhaus and former partner of Walter Gropius, before initiating his own venture in New York, 1963.

 

His works are inspired by the architects of early to mid 20th century, specially those of Le Corbusier. His work also traces the influences of designers such as Mies Van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Luis Barragán. His dedication to the Modernist Movement in architecture earned him the mantle of being one of the famous ‘New York Five;’ which included, besides Meier, the great names of the Post Modern Movement: John Hejduk, Charles Gwathmey, Michael Graves and Peter Eisenman. During the 1960’s, Meier was a professor of design at Cooper Unioin, Mahattan; followed by teaching appointments at Syracuse and Ivy League Universities like Princeton, Yale and Harvard.    

 

Meier’s USP is in creating designs with a unified theme, based on neo-modern beliefs in purist architecture. His passion for the colour white is evident in his structural masterpieces that have created a new design vocabulary. His practice has included housing and private residences, museums, high-tech and medical facilities, commercial buildings and major civic commissions, like courthouses and city halls in the United States and Europe. His groundbreaking works include the High Museum in Atlanta, 1975; the Canal+ Television Headquarters, 1988; the Jubilee Church, 1996 and the Malibu Beach House, 2002.

 

The concept of light, colour and place play a significant role in his works. His artistic interplay of simple geometric designs, combined with layered definition of space and effects of light and shade have resulted in some of the most magnificent modern architecture structures. According to Meier, there are ten factors that connect a structure to its environment, the most important being the potential of a space to transform itself into a place. The others include the ‘mode of being,’ i.e. factors which emphasise the presence of the building, those that establish the structure as a separate identity, those that encourage fantasy and play, those that preserve a sense of mystery and adventure, factors that act as links between fantasy, reality and acts as a link to the past, factors, which evoke spontaneous feelings and emotions and one that asserts the identity of the people.

 

Meier’s versatility in design is not just limited to architectural sensibilities, his distinctive clarity is also asserted in his sculptures, collages, drawings, photographs, furniture and product designs as well. There are no boundaries to his ingenuity and creativity. Most of his sculptures and collages are made from paper cuttings and tickets collected from his extensive travels. His collection of ceramics, glassware, silver articles and furniture have become iconic designs. His minimalist, traditional approach to building intertwines beautiful simplicity, expresses and explores pivotal moments in time.

 

He remains the youngest recipient of the illustrious Pritzker Prize, which he received in 1984. Among his greater works, the prestigious commission to design the $ 1 billion Getty Centre in Los Angeles stands out for its sheer brilliance and magnitude. Meier has ignored changing fashion trends, persisting with his own design philosophy. In a career spanning over four decades, Meier has developed his own distinctive and dynamic style to become one of world’s most influential and revered architects. Currently, Richard Meier & Partner Architects LLP is planning their maiden venture in India, in association with Ganti+Associates.

 

Assessment: 

 

Richard Meier's Works:

  •   Westbeth Artists Community, New York City, 1970
  •  Meier House, Essex Fells, New Jersey, 1965
  • Smith House, Darien, Connecticut, 1965–1967
  • Douglas House, Harbor Springs, Michigan, 1973
  • Bronx Developmental Center, The Bronx, New York, 1976
  • The Atheneum, New Harmony, Indiana, 1979
  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, 1983
  • Modern Art Wing Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa, 1984
  • Daimler-Benz Forschungszentrum, today: Daimler Forschungszentrum, Ulm, Germany, 1992
  • Stadthaus Ulm, Ulm, Germany, 1994
  • Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain, 1995
  • City Hall and Central Library, The Hague, Netherlands, 1995
  • Edinburgh Park Masterplan, 1995
  • Rachofsky House, Dallas, Texas, 1996
  • The Paley Center for Media, formerly The Museum of Television & Radio, Beverly Hills, California, 1996
  • Getty Center, Los Angeles, California, 1997
  • Camden Medical Centre, Singapore, 1998
  • White Plaza, Basel, Switzerland, 1998
  • 173/176 Perry Street, Manhattan, 1999–2002
  • Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse, Phoenix, Arizona, 2000
  • Peek & Cloppenburg flagship store, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2001
  • Centre for Possibility thinking, Garden Grove, California, 2003
  • Jubilee Church, Rome, Italy 2003
  • Museum Frieder Burda, Baden Baden, Germany, 2004
  • Ara Pacis Museum, Rome, Italy, 2006 (There has been talk of dismantling and relocating the museum since the election of Gianni Alemanno in 2008)
  • City Tower, Prague, Czech Republic, 2004–2007
  • San Jose City Hall, San Jose, California, 2004–2007
  • University of Scranton, Connolly Hall, 2007
  • Weill Hall, Ithaca, New York, 2008
  • Meier Tower, Tel Aviv, Israel (2008–present)
  • On Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, 2003-2008

 

 

Exhibitions:

2010
Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum
Essar Steel Masterstrokes: The Icon Exhibition


2009
Richard Meier/75


2007
Richard Meier Art & Architecture


2006
RMP Model Museum

 

 

Awards & Honours:

1968, 1971, 1976, 1985, 1987, 1993 
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards

1972, 1982, 1986, 1994
AIA New York Chapter Awards
Arnold Brumner Prize

1977 & 1983
AIA National Honour Awards

1979
Progressive Architecture Awards

1980
American Institute of Architects Medal

1984
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards
Pritzker Prize

1988
Royal Institute of British Architects Medal

1989, 1996
AIA New York Chapter Awards
Progressive Architecture Awards

1990
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards
Progressive Architecture Awards

1991
AIA New York Chapter Awards
Guild Hall Lifetime Achievement Award
Progressive Architecture Awards

1992
AIA New York Chapter Awards
Ministry of Culture of the French republic

1995
American Academy of Arts & Sciences

1997
AIA New York Chapter Awards
American Institute of Architects Medal
Praemium Imperiale

1998
AIA New York Chapter Awards
American Institute of Architects Medal

2000
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards
American Institute of Architects
El Geobierno del Distrito Federal
 

2001
AIA New York Chapter Awards

2002
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA National Honour Awards

2003
AIA New York Chapter Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards
New York magazine Awards

2004
AIA Los Angeles Chapter Awards
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards
Frate Sole International
House Beautiful Award
Pratt Legend Awards
Sidney L. Strauss Award
The Dedalo Minosse International Prize

2005
AIA New York Chapter Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards
AIA New York Chapter Awards

2006
AIA Los Angeles Chapter Awards
AIA Los Angeles Chapter Awards
AIA National Honour Awards
AIA Santa Clarita Chapter Awards

2007
AIA Los Angeles Chapter Awards
AIA Los Angeles Chapter Awards
European Architecture Prize
The Philadelphia Art Alliance

2008
AIA 25-Year Award
American Academy of Arts and Letters gold Medal

2009
Building Brooklyn
Green Gold Design
President’s Medal

 

 

Affiliations:

American Institute of Architects 
Fellow

Bund Deutscher Architekten
Honorary Fellow

Royal Incorporation of Scottish Architects
Honorary Fellow

The Cooper — Hewitt Museum
Board of Trustees

The Architectural League of New York
Board of Directors

American Academy& Institute of Arts & Letters
Board of Directors

National Academy of Design
Board of Directors

International institute of Architects
Board of Director

Belgian Royal Academy of Art
Board of Directors

French Academy of Architecture
Board of Directors


 

Books:

  • Richard Meier & Partners, Complete Works 1963-2008
  • Richard Meier: Architect (Rizzoli Monographs on Richards Meier, Volume 2)
  • Richard Meier, Architect: A Selected Bibliography (No. A1462)
  • Richard Meier, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Richard Meier (Works and Projects Series)
  • Richard Meier Building for Art
  • Richard Meier: Architecture, projects, 1986–1990 (Centro Di cat)
  • Museum Fur Kunsthandwerk: Richard Meier (Architecture in Detail)
  • Richard Meier: Sculpture, 1992/1994