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Richard Meier


Biography

Meier, has been practicing architecture since 1961 in the United States, Italy, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Scotland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and China

1957 - takes a degree in architecture at Cornell University in Ithaca
1963 - studies under Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and of M. Breuer; Richard Meier opens a studio in New York where he begins his career, designing villas, homes, hospitals, museums and commercial buildings
1964 - teaches at Cooper Union in New York
1967-73 - teaches at Yale University
1973 - exhibition at the Milan Triennial
1969 - receives the National Honor Award of the American Institute of Architects; also in this year, at the Conference of Architects for the Study of Environment, Kenneth Frampton presents the works of five architects at MOMA in New York: Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, John Hejduk, Chiarles Gwathmey and Richard Meier; official recognition comes with the publication of the volume " Five Architects"
1980 receives a medal of honour from the American Institute of Architects
1984 - awarded the Pritzker Prize; appointed to design the new Getty Center in Los Angeles, on which a studio
opened for the purpose in California worked non-stop until 1997; appointed Fellow of the Academy of Arts and Letters by the French government
1989 - awarded a royal gold medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects
1990 - fellow of the Royal Belgian Academy of the Arts
1991 - awarded an honorary degree by the University of Naples
1992 - the French government appoints Meier "Commander" of Arts and Letters

(...)"the work of Richard Meier distances itself from linguistic absolutism (...) in breaking down his design tools, he assigned a primary role to the system for circulation inside and outside of the structure of buildings. (...) Circulation structures, like the clarity of the organisational system, of load-bearing structures, of accesses, are to him merely materials for design, to be integrated together in a complex way (...) The complexity with which they are interwoven makes the architectonic result peremptory: invention of type lies at the base of his endeavour, which attempts full recovery of the functional dimension of language [Tafuri, 1981, pp. 24-25]

"Light and beauty are absolutely equivalent. Permeated with spiritualism, shot through by cosmological significances linked with the solar disk, animated by the theme of the labyrinth, seen as an initiatory path, (...) his interiors have too great a significance to be considered merely architecture. For the "internal nature" of Richard Meier''s museums is true "interiority". (...) Light is therefore the sign of an exclusive art (...) Light is, in these empty limits, the art of replacing the apparition of art. (...) Capable of allowing the visitor the freedom to accept them as erroneous or arbitrary or to redesign them in his imagination as "mathematically" inexorable sequences, Meier''s compositions renew (...) their pedagogical vocation, (...) voluntarily taken as far as ontological provocation, metaphysical revelation. [Purini, 1993, in Costanzo, M.,Giorni, V., Tolomeo, M.G. (editor), Richard Meier Frank Stella, pp.26-28]

List of principal works of Richard Meier
1961-62 Lambert House, Fire Island, New York (built)
1961-65 Meier Studios on 53rd Street, New York (built)
1965-67 Smith House, Darien, Connecticut ( built)
1967-70 Westbeth Artists'' Housing, New York (built)
1967-70 Saltzman House, East Hampton, New York (built)
1969-72 Twin Parks Northeast Housing, Bronx, New York (built)
1970-77 Bronx Developmental Center, Bronx, New York ( built)
1971-76 Douglas House, Harbor Springs, Michigan (built)
1974 Cornell University Student Residence, Ithaca, New York (built)
1975-79 The Atheneum, New Harmony, Indiana (built)
1978-81 The Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut (built)
1979-85 Museum of Decorative Arts, Frankfurt (built)
1980-83 The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia (built)
1984-97 - Getty Center, Los Angeles, California (built)
1986-94 Town Hall and Library, the Hague, Netherlands (built)
1987-93 Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona (built)
1989-94 Museum of Ethnology, Frankfurt (built)
1991-94 Swissair North American Offices, New York ( built)
1996 Church for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 , Tor Tre Teste, Rome (planned)
1997 Renovation of Piazza Augusto Imperatore, Rome (underway)

Bibliography:
- P. Ciorra, Richard Meier.Architetture, Electa, Milano 1996.
- M.Tafuri, Five Architects N.Y., Officina Ed., Roma 1981.
- R.A.Meier, Richard Meier Architect,vol.1, New York 1984.
- R.A.Meier, Richard Meier Architect,vol.2, New York 1991.
- M.Costanzo,V.Giorgi, M.G.Tolomeo (a cura di), Richard Meier Frank Stella, Electa Roma 1993.
- R.A.Meier, J.Rykwert, K.Frampton, Richard Meier Architect vol.3, New York 1999.

Interview

Casamonti: We are very happy that you are here, that you are an architect in Naples from today, and I want to show you our magazines Area and Materia, Italian magazines of Architecture.
Peek: Since you are our guest in Naples today, we would like to begin by asking you about the Italian influence on your work, from your stay at the American Academy in Rome to your recent projects in the city of Rome.

Richard Meier: The first time I came to Rome, in fact, was around 1959, and spent some time here.
Ever since that time I have travelled throughout Italy and spent one year, not the full year unfortunately, at the American Academy in Rome in '76 which was a time that was different than just travelling because you could stay in one place, go and look at things, and come back and think about it, and that was very important for me.
But it really wasn't until I began to have the opportunity to work here that I thought about that time and what it meant to me and maybe how subconsciously it influenced my thinking and that probably had more to do with the work of Borromini in terms of the quality of light, expression of structure, as expressed in an interior like Sant' Ivo Sapienza.
The scale of those buildings is also extremely important.
So, I think that when you travel and you look at things you don't necessarily make a one to one correlation at the time but things come back to you and in some way have an important influence on your work.
Of course the Italian Rationalists of the 30s have always interested me and I've had the opportunity to visit the work of Ridolfi and others that were amazing and very inspirational.

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