Contemporary Architecture

Richard Meier – Athenium


  • Meier was born in Newark, New Jersey.
  • He earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University in 1957,
  • Worked for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill briefly in 1959
  • Then for Marcel Breuer for three years
  • Started his own practice in New York in 1963.
  • Identified as one of The New York Five in 1972
  • His commission of the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California catapulted his popularity among the mainstream.
  • Richard Meier & Partners Architects has offices in New York and Los Angeles with current projects ranging from China and Tel Aviv to Paris and Hamburg.


  • In 1984, Mr. Richard Meier was awarded the Pritzker  Architecture Prize
  • In the same year,  he was selected architect for the prestigious commission to design the new $1 billion Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.
  • Included in “New York Five”, alongside
  • Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk, Michael Graves,Charles Gwathmey
  • In 1997, he was awarded the AIA Gold Medal
  • Meier is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council
  • Praemium Imperiale from Japenese Government
  • Honorary degrees from various institutes

Design philosophy:

  • Richard Meier usually designs white Neo-Corbusian forms with enameled panels and glass.
  • These structure usually play with the linear relationships of ramps and handrails.
  • Although all have a similar look, Richard Meier manages to generate endless variations on his singular theme
  • Three most significant concepts :  Light, Color and Place.
  • Plain geometry, layered definition of spaces and effects of light and shade, used to create clear and comprehensible spaces.
  • His work also reflects the influences of other designers such as Mies Van der Rohe and, in some instances, Frank Lloyd Wright.


  • Smith House, Darien, Connecticut,1965–1967
  • Bronx Developmental Center, The Bronx, New York, 1976
  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia,1983
  • Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain,1995
  • Getty Center, Los Angeles, California, 1997
  • Jubilee Church, Rome, Italy 2003
  • Italcementi ITC Laboratory, Italy, 2005-09
  • Brodrum Houses, Turkey,2007-10


  • The Atheneum (1975-1979)
  • It received the 2008 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Twenty-five Year Award.
  • Tourist and Information Center
  • Situated on the banks of the Wabash River on the outskirts of the historic city of New Harmony.
  • It functions as the starting point for tours
  • a center for visitor orientation and cultural community events and it houses exhibits on the communal history of New Harmony, a large theatre, and the Museum Shop.
  • The Atheneum’s galleries also accommodate receptions and meetings, allowing the structure to participate in the vitality of the community.
  • Visitors arriving by boat, land on a path that leads through a field to the building.
  • A three story plane set at forty-five degree inclination to the podium, acknowledges the point of arrival.
  • Setting the three-story building diagonally to the river, gives the project a dynamic dimension as a departure point for the tour path
  • Once the visitor crosses the threshhold, the entry box propels him to the internal circulation ramp.
  • From here, the internal circulation to the building is a continuous experience.
  • From the exhibiton space, on the second level, the visitor can look back to the route he has travelled, through staggered interior slots and windows as essential elements.
  • The uppermost roof terrace presents a panoramic vista of the town.
  • Visitors descend by the way of a second ramp,this one elongated and stepped,an uncoiled version of the interior one,  leading out of the building into New  Harmony.
  • Here, “sense of place” is achieved through a series of visual, physical or psychological experiences which gradually establish a relationship to the past, represented by the historic city.
  • Porcelain panels,clear glass,constant play of wall thickness,the breadth of vistas,the height of the columns and openings which interconnect with one another,all create dynamic facades that change according to the interior and exterior experience of the building.

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