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Meier Beyond Autonomy

Richard Meier Who is he? Born in 1934, he graduated from Cornell University in 1957. Started his own practice in 1963 having worked for both Skidmore, Owings and Merril and Marcel Breuer One of the New York Five, together with Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathemy, John Hejduk. The five had a common allegiance modernism, harking back to the works of Le Corbusier in the 20s and 30s. In 1973 in an essay entitled Five on Five the Grays (Romaldo Giurgola, Allan Greenberg, Charles Moore, Jaquelin Robertson and Robert Stern) attacked the whites on the grounds that The pursuit of the pure modernist aesthetic resulted in unworkable buildings that were indifferent to site, Indifferent to users and divorced from daily life. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1984 and the won the gold medal from the Academy of Arts and he is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. 50 years and more than one seminal building a year. Famous works include: Douglas House Ghetty Centre The Atheneum Barcelona Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt Museum of Decorative Arts Stadthaus, Ulm

As Alberti says beauty consists in a rational integration of the proportions of all parts of a building in such a way that every part has its absolutely fixed size and shape and nothing could be added or taken away without destroying the harmony of the whole. My rigor also is a search for clarity. This search, for me, begins with the plan. The plan, which seems to have been neglected of late, is in fact the key. The two dimensional image contains within it instructions for the three dimensional object that is the building. Together with the section, it generates the building. While elevations pictorialise, the plan and section speak to the architect about spatial ideas
Meier on his work method

Museum of Decorative Arts Frankfurt

1979 - 1985

Stadthaus -Ulm

1986 - 1993

City Hall and Library

1987 - 1994

Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)

1987 - 1995

Museum of Decorative Arts Frankfurt

1979 - 1985

Analyse and determine the cube, multiply by four and twist through 3.5

"Urban form evolves between type and incident, fabric and discontinuity, history and the moment of design. This dialogue strongly influenced the design of the Museum for the Decorative Arts in Frankfurt. The parti developed out of a notion of context that takes in not only geographic features but also historical and typological ones. In this sense, and in contrast to some of the earlier buildings for more rural or less historic sites, the museum is emphatically a public and an urban institution, a rejection of the modernist isolation of the building as a free-standing object distanced from its surrounds. The scheme here is meant to connect: to respond to, enlarge, and reinforce the public context and the urban fabric."
Meier on Frankfurt Museum of Decorative Arts

Museum of Decorative Arts Frankfurt

First seminal project in Europe and the most significant of the 1980s

Deeply routed to site by the integration of the Villa Metzler and the overlaying of its grid, with a rotated grid aligned with the adjacent River Main

Analysis of the near perfect cubic form of the Villa (17.6m) repeated to form the primary ordering of the plan and then in elevation, determining the key proportions of openings and fenestration.

Rotation is articulated through the use of circulation and elevational treatment.

Its emphatic contextualism is one of the first examples of a rejection of the modernist ideals of the isolation of architecture as a free standing object.

As a result, the building enlarges and reinforces the public context and urban fabric; building and urban form are one.

The complex occupies just one end of the site, the rest been given over to open public green space in order to connect two previously poorly related parts of the city. This provides a further, cultural connection

Museum of Decorative Arts Frankfurt

1979 - 1985

Museum of Decorative Arts Frankfurt

1979 - 1985

Stadthaus -Ulm

1986 - 1993

Stadthaus -Ulm

Complex urban problems posed by Munsterplatz. Quoted as being one of the most problematic sites in the country [Germany]

Ulm Munster Cathedral dominates the space and remains one of the few historicically significant buildings following the 1944 bombings

More than a century of failed competitions (17 in total) and lack of public support preceded Meiers design.

Critical appraisal of site lines, vistas and routes help to establish the critical elements of the building

The new exhibit and assembly building has demonstrated how design and building expertise, focused on one site-specific work, can completely metamorphose the city and mediate modern form with historic context
Meier on Stadhaus, Ulm

The self-contained authority of this work derives from the way in which it provides a modulated entry into the Munsterplpatz, in part through the rhythmic syncopation of its mass running down one side of the cathedral square, and in part through its tri-gabled glazed roof that caps the mass with a profile reminiscent of Gothic form
Framption on Stadhaus, Ulm

Stadthaus -Ulm

1986 - 1993

Stadthaus -Ulm

1986 - 1993

City Hall & Library, The Hague Netherlands

1986 - 1994

By virtue of its extensive transparency the city hall reveals not only the structure of its organization but also the essentially open character of the citys form of governance. The building expresses civic dedication through contrasting spatial and tectonic elements that shift constantly between public and private, formal and informal, light and dark, solid and void Meier on City Hall and Library, The Hague

Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)

1987 - 1995

Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) A further development and departure of the modernist ethic, the design responds to a number of views, vistas and routs, fitting tightly into an historic, dark neighbourhood.

By contrast to the dark facades and labyrinthine street plan of the Barri Gothic district, the museum stand s out as a symbol of rejuvenation and the utopian dream, whilst, through its complexity it retains the character of the area.

The glazed circulation zone forms both a barrier between the city and the exibit, but also an intense dialogue between the historic forms of its context and the building itself.

This building organises circulation in relation to its urban location. The Raval district historically has been a subject of discussion and controversy, as it is an area of enormous density with a high land occupancy rate. The design was seen as a way to inject new life into a rundown district, for by being opposite less elegant surroundings the museum openly connects with nearby structures. I began the design of the museum by looking closely at the possibilities offered by the site within this fabric of dense strets characterized by skewed sections and ancient church domes. The compressed, low-scale mixture of commercial, institutional, and residential buildings offered few spaces for pedestrian activity [a cultural activity in Barcelona known as paseo]. There was no place where people could meet, talk, sit, read, watch children play, or walk their dogs. I wanted to create an open pedestrian plaza in front of the museum that