Richard Meier's Practice at 50

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January 15, 2013
One of the New York Five and American modernism's most-celebrated architects is celebrating his 50th year in practice in 2013. We checked in with Richard Meier to hear his thoughts on prefab, what designs he's still got up his sleeve, and that iconic shade of white paint. Read Full Article
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  Portrait of Richard Meier, taken at the Smith House in 1967. (Copyright Richard Meier & Partners)Looking back on a five-decade-long career, Meier reflects: "I am now working on Volume 6 [in an archive which contains] all of our work since the beginning—it’s an awful lot of projects over the years, and not all are built, but I would say 15-20 percent are built. Looking back I feel very good about what we’ve done. When I visit a building I haven’t seen in a number of years I feel very good about it."

    Portrait of Richard Meier, taken at the Smith House in 1967. (Copyright Richard Meier & Partners)

    Looking back on a five-decade-long career, Meier reflects: "I am now working on Volume 6 [in an archive which contains] all of our work since the beginning—it’s an awful lot of projects over the years, and not all are built, but I would say 15-20 percent are built. Looking back I feel very good about what we’ve done. When I visit a building I haven’t seen in a number of years I feel very good about it."

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  Portrait at The Atheneum in New Harmony, Indiana, taken in 1979. (Copyright Richard Meier & Partners)

    Portrait at The Atheneum in New Harmony, Indiana, taken in 1979. (Copyright Richard Meier & Partners)

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  Lambert House on Fire Island, 1961. (Copyright Richard Meier & Partners)"I think it has been modified quite a bit—I haven’t been there in many years but I don’t know if one would recognize it." Any architecture hunters willing to take up the challenge?

    Lambert House on Fire Island, 1961. (Copyright Richard Meier & Partners)

    "I think it has been modified quite a bit—I haven’t been there in many years but I don’t know if one would recognize it." Any architecture hunters willing to take up the challenge?

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  Shamberg House in Chappaqua, New York, 1972-74. (Copyright ESTO)

    Shamberg House in Chappaqua, New York, 1972-74. (Copyright ESTO)

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  Arp Museum in Rolandseck, Germany, 2002-07. (Copyright Roland Halbe)When asked what he would like to build that he hasn't yet, Meier is direct. "I’d like to do a skyscraper in New York City."

    Arp Museum in Rolandseck, Germany, 2002-07. (Copyright Roland Halbe)

    When asked what he would like to build that he hasn't yet, Meier is direct. "I’d like to do a skyscraper in New York City."

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  The Jubilee Church in Tor Tre Teste, Italy, 1996-2003. (Copyright Scott Frances)“White is the most wonderful color because within it you can see all the colors of the rainbow. The whiteness of white is never just white; it is almost always transformed by light and that which is changing; the sky, the clouds, the sun and the moon.”

    The Jubilee Church in Tor Tre Teste, Italy, 1996-2003. (Copyright Scott Frances)

    “White is the most wonderful color because within it you can see all the colors of the rainbow. The whiteness of white is never just white; it is almost always transformed by light and that which is changing; the sky, the clouds, the sun and the moon.”

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  The Getty Center, Los Angeles, 1984-97. (Copyright Scott Frances)Oh, and about that signature shade of clear, bright white paint? It's made by Benjamin Moore and it’s called Meier White. "If I remember correctly," Meier says, "it came out around the time we were doing the Getty."

    The Getty Center, Los Angeles, 1984-97. (Copyright Scott Frances)

    Oh, and about that signature shade of clear, bright white paint? It's made by Benjamin Moore and it’s called Meier White. "If I remember correctly," Meier says, "it came out around the time we were doing the Getty."

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  Bodrum Houses in Turkey, 2007-present. (Copyright Richard Meier & Partners)

    Bodrum Houses in Turkey, 2007-present. (Copyright Richard Meier & Partners)

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  Richard Meier on a tour of his firm's model museum in Long Island City, 2010. (Photo: Kelsey Keith)Addressing the common practice of architectural competitions, Meier explains, "Sometimes if you do a competition, you know you’re taking a risk of it not happening. Many of them that we’ve done remain unbuilt for us, and unbuilt for anyone. We always look at competitions very carefully to try and determine whether it’s just emotion on the part of the sponsors or it's something real.

    Richard Meier on a tour of his firm's model museum in Long Island City, 2010. (Photo: Kelsey Keith)

    Addressing the common practice of architectural competitions, Meier explains, "Sometimes if you do a competition, you know you’re taking a risk of it not happening. Many of them that we’ve done remain unbuilt for us, and unbuilt for anyone. We always look at competitions very carefully to try and determine whether it’s just emotion on the part of the sponsors or it's something real.

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  Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers spent years rehabilitating the Douglas House, built in 1973 and one of Meier's first major residential commissions. The double-height living room features a custom sofa and low table of Meier’s design. Read the full story from our October 2011 issue here.  Photo by: Dean KaufmanCourtesy of: © Dean Kaufman 2011 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers spent years rehabilitating the Douglas House, built in 1973 and one of Meier's first major residential commissions. The double-height living room features a custom sofa and low table of Meier’s design. Read the full story from our October 2011 issue here.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

    Courtesy of: © Dean Kaufman 2011 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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