On its outskirts, you'd be forgiven for assuming that Columbus, Indiana is a suburban American town like any other. But travel downtown and you're suddenly greeted with an unexpected variety of modern architecture. The small midwestern city has for the past half-century been a kind of laboratory for contemporary architecture, attracting designers as diverse as Kevin Roche and IM Pei. Children attend school in a building designed by Richard Meier, congregants attend services in a church designed by Eliel Saarinen.
Architecture, in its realized form, is neither the vision or the labor of a singular person. It is a practice which is inherently group and firm-oriented in its processes. But architecture as we know it is only celebrated after it is completed, and is very rarely celebrated for how it gets made. Few awards recognize the vast network of people that enables those at the very top of the field to put their name to completed works.
Recent controversies have only thrown more light on this state of affairs—from the petition to have Denise Scott Brown retroactively recognized for the work that won her husband Robert Venturi the Pritzker Prize in 1991 (which was ultimately rejected by the Pritzker) to revelations earlier this year about the way architects like Richard Meier have abused the power afforded to them by their personal success.
In the 1920s, Dutch-born artist Piet Mondrian began painting his iconic black grids populated with shifting planes of primary colors. By moving beyond references to the world around him, his simplified language of lines and rectangles known as Neo Plasticism explored the dynamics of movement through color and form alone. Though his red, yellow and blue color-blocked canvases were important elements of the De Stijl movement in the early 1900s, almost a century later Mondrian’s abstractions still inspire architects across the globe.
But, what is it about these spatial explorations that have captivated artists and designers for so long?
Modernism on the East Coast – Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five
Our 2018 Iconic Houses Conference and House Tours will explore the East Coast of the USA, retracing the root taken by Modernism when it arrived from Europe. In particular, the New Canaan area has an impressive number of high-quality Modernist homes, because the architects who taught at Harvard built houses for themselves and their friends here. New Canaan is naturally mainly associated with the Glass House. And many of the other masterpieces are the work of Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five. In the 1940s, a group of five
The New York Times has detailed accusations of sexual harassment made by five women against architect Richard Meier. The allegations have been made by four women who have worked with Mr. Meier, including two women describing incidents which have occurred over the last ten years. A fifth woman, who did not work at the firm, details an incident with Mr. Meier in the 1980s.
In response to the allegations put to Mr. Meier by the New York Times, the 83-year-old architect has said he will take a six-month leave of absence from his firm, and issued the following statement:"I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions. While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior."
The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).
The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia has announced that award-winning New York-based Selldorf Architects have been selected to develop a large-scale reinstallation of the institution’s galleries in collaboration with the museum staff. The renovation will encompass all seven of the collection areas—from Photography and European Art to Decorative Arts and Design—while emphasizing visitor experience, contemporary narratives, and the strengths of the Museum’s holdings to create a cohesive experience thats deepens engagement inside the Richard Meier and Renzo Piano-designed complex.
Get a better understanding of Richard Meier in PLANE-SITE’s latest short film in their series, Time-Space-Existence. The series focuses on the principles behind each architect they feature. Known for his pristine white, geometric buildings, Meier talks about architectural context, timelessness, universal color, and his only black building.
The new year is almost here, and Richard Meier & Partners has four international projects that will be coming to fruition. These new multi-use building designs play with light, transparency, and volume as well as respond to their varying urban context.
Eyeglasses: the quintessential accessory of the architect. They are mini pieces of architecture you can wear, and an outward expression of your inner persona. Whether they be square, round, or wire-frame, black, white, tortoiseshell, or bright neon tones, they represent our visionary ideals. As such, many of the most iconic spectacles have an interesting history behind them; so here are the stories behind seven of the most recognizable eyeglasses in the architecture world.
"When I am asked what I believe in, I say that I believe in architecture. Architecture is the mother of the arts. I like to believe that architecture connects the present with the past and the tangible with the intangible."
Richard Meier, the Pritzker Prize and AIA Gold Medal-winning architect, is well known for his abstracted, often white, buildings and unrelenting personal design philosophy. Citing Bernini and Borromini as influences as well as Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, Meier received his Bachelor in Architecture from Cornell University in 1957 and took jobs with Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Marcel Breuer soon after his graduation. He began his own private practice in New York in 1963 and rocketed to architectural fame in the early 1970s, after being named as one of the "New York Five."
Richard Meier is well-known for his love of the color white, describing it as “the most wonderful color, because within it you can see all the colors of the rainbow” in his Pritzker Prize acceptance speech. As such, many of his buildings, including the City Hall of The Hague in Netherlands (completed in 1995), are painted head-to-toe in the snowy pigment. But now, all that white has given the building a new unintentional function: as a perfect canvas for the world’s largest Mondrian painting.
Article 25's "10x10" Auction Features Work by Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma, Richard Meier & Antony Gormley
In celebration of their 10-year anniversary, Article 25, the world's largest architectural charity, will hold this year's "10x10 Drawing the City London" event on November 29 at the Royal Institute of British Architects. Each year, representatives from UK's top architecture studios and property and design industries gather to raise funds for Article 25's work in developing countries. The event features an auction of artwork by 100 prominent rising artists, designers, and architects; this year's participants include Kengo Kuma, Richard Meier, Antony Gormley, Zaha Hadid Design, and David Adjaye.
From architectural lectures to coverage of local projects and events, The Architectural League of New York presents a wide range of topics through its video series to further its goal of advancing the art of architecture. Through this presentation of some of the world’s most interesting and influential architects, designers, and works, The Architectural League draws international audiences to help shape the future of the build environment by stimulating discussion and provoking design-based thinking.
Watch some of The Architectural League’s videos—like a lecture by Annabelle Selldorf or Bjarke Ingels, documentation of a miniature library installation, or a musical heart sculpture in Times Square—after the break.
Tsao & McKown has designed the masterplan for a residential community outside of Taipei, with contributing designs from Annabelle Selldorf, Richard Meier, and Steven Harris, as well as landscaping by Margie Ruddick.
Named The Master Collection, the project will consist of 28 private residences in the Great Taipei New Town District.
Richard Meier & Partners has completed their first project in South America, a 7-story, sustainable office building in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Leblon. The building will feature concrete, glass and vertical gardens, and will serve as the new international headquarters for top Brazilian investment firm VINCI Partners. The structure consists of open office spaces looking out onto several private interior courtyards and a series of terraces that create a connection with the main urban thoroughfare of Bartolomeu Mitre Avenue.
Today, one of Richard Meier’s most notable and acclaimed residences, the 1973 Douglas House, has been named to the National Register of Historic Places, the federal list of cultural resources worthy of preservation across the United States. The announcement comes after an extensive renovation to the property was completed in 2011, and will grant the home the legal status to help ensure the building is maintained for generations to come.
As the first month of 2016 draws to a close, we decided to tap into our network and ask an esteemed group of architects, critics, theorists and educators to tell us what they are looking forward to this year in architecture.
What are you looking forward to in architecture this year?