Richard Meier: Architect Volume 5


by Anna Carnick

In celebration of Richard Meier Architect Volume 5," this latest volume reveals that time hast slowed Meier down at all.

Focusing on his work between 2004 and 2009, the book offers a thorough and intimate understanding of Meier’s style—particularly the qualities of light and fluidity across a variety of project sizes—through case studies, photographs, illustrations, renderings and drawings of his recent work. The book (which, incidentally, another American master: Massimo Vignelli designed) includes 32 residential, commercial and civic projects—including the Arp Museum in Germany, the Broad Art Center in UCLA, the San Jose City Hall, new master plans for Newark, New Jersey and Manhattan’s East Side, as well as the highly-publicized On Prospect Park, a Brooklyn glass tower, which—after much debate regarding the residential building's aesthetic fit for the existing neighborhood—opened 11 months ago only to face the brutalities of the recession.


(above) San Jose City Hall, copyright Scott Frances/ESTO.

The new structure makes a good example of the enduring nature of Meier’s career, though. As he writes in the book’s preface, modern architecture “must deal with urban design that contributes to social interaction and addresses the relationship between public and private space.†One of Meier’s goals for the residence—set on Grand Army Plaza near Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Art Museum—aimed to eliminate the separation between outside and in. He certainly succeeded here and current residents claim to love their new glass homes. Notably, however, most of them have also had to swallow the bitter taste of dramatic pricing drops (in some cases up to 40%, according to a recent NY Times story) in surrounding units. Nearly a year after opening, Meier’s design has been honored with a Building Brooklyn Award, but the space is still less than half full.

But with a career spanning 45 years, Meier assuredly has seen his share of economic ups and downs. He’s weathered past storms, while continuing to create beautiful spaces for the future, adding to an expansive architectural legacy. As he said upon receiving the Pritzker Prize, “When I am asked what I believe in, I say that I believe in architecture. Architecture is the mother of all arts. I like to believe that architecture connects the present with the past and the tangible with the intangible.â€


(above left) Rickmers House, copyright Klaus Frahm.
(above right) Joy Apartment, copyright Scott Frances/ESTO.

Looking at the last five years documented here—let alone the sum of the past 45—may just make a believer out of you too.


(above) Arp Museum, copyright Roland Halbe.

Pre-order the book now through Amazon. It officially releases on 20 October 2009.

Check out more images after the jump.


(above left) Tianjin Villa, copyright Richard Meier & Partners Architects.
(above right) Joy Apartment, copyright Scott Frances/ESTO.


(above) Rickmers House, copyright Klaus Frahm.

All images courtesy of Rizzoli.