Richard Meier was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1934 and graduated from Cornell
University in 1957.
Worked for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill briefly in 1959, and then for Marcel Breuer for
three years, prior to starting his own practice in New York in 1963.
Much of Meier's work builds on the work of architects of the early to mid-20th century,
especially that of Le Corbusier and, in particular, Le Corbusier's early phase. Meier has built
more using Corbusier's ideas than anyone, including Le Corbusier himself. Meier expanded
many ideas evident in Le Corbusier's work, particularly the Villa Savoye and the Swiss
Explaining his own roots, Meier says, "Le Corbusier was a great influence, but there are
many influences and they are constantly changing. Frank Lloyd Wright was a great
architect, and I could not have done my parent's house the way that I did, without being
overwhelmed by Falling Water." Meier continued, "We are all affected by LeCorbusier,
Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, and Mies van der Rohe. But no less than Bramante,
Borromini and Bernini. Architecture is a tradition, a long continuum. Whether we break with
tradition or enhance it, we are still connected to that past.“ White colour has extensively
been used in his buildings, the incisiveness of colourlessness.
In 1984, Meier was awarded the Pritzker Prize. In 2008, he won the gold medal in
architecture from the Academy of Arts and Letters and his work Jesolo Lido Village was
awarded the Dedalo Minosse International Prize for commissioning a building. Meier is a
Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. He was awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 1997.
"The house capitalizes on its dramatic 1.5-acre site.
Beyond a dense cluster of evergreens, the land clears
and rises to the center of the site, then drops sharply to
the rugged shoreline and a small, sandy cove.
The spatial organization of the house hinges on the
programmatic separation between public and private
areas. From the front walkway, visitors approach a
mostly opaque white wood facade before crossing a
ramp and entering on the house’s second level to
discover what Meier calls a "180-degree explosion" of
light and space. The living room, dining area, and study
embrace the waterfront views, pin-wheeling in a threelevel enclosure of glass on three sides.
The family’s private quarters, meanwhile, are stacked
to hug the street-facing facade of the 2,800-square-foot
building. Elements that would become Meier signatures
are present as well: the pristine white exterior,
expanses of plate glass framed by finely proportioned
piers and mullions, and minimal interiors creating
: THE LIVING ROOM
: THE HOUSE AS SEEN FROM
DESIGN – PROGRAM AND CONCEPT
„Meier‟s hyper-refinement of the modernist imagery has been inspired not by
machines but by other architecture that was inspired by machines… honoring his
“fathers” and casting them off at the same time.‟ Goldberger (1999)
SITE STRUCTURING The house is developed over three levels.
The entrance area and master bedroom are on the middle
The lower level is for dining, kitchen, laundry and domestic
help. Both the living and dining areas open directly to outdoor
The top floor contains children’s bedrooms, guest-room and
library-play. The house is finally topped by an outdoor roof
The house itself appears to be a hyphenation of two
canonical structures: the Citrohan house and the Domino
house (Corbusier and Jeanneret 1937).
The Citrohan zone is a series of closed cellular spaces and
the Domino zone is leveled as three platforms within a single
volume enclosed by a glass skin. Meier investigates a
language of oppositions of a denied dialectic between the
total transparency of the panoramic façade and the solid
compartment of the entrance façade.
Different interpretations of rectangular prisms as
Space volumes, perforated walls, or compositional
The principle applied at the
elevations and sections of the
house suggests somewhat
similar and different
interpretations. The most
immediate finding is that the
same root-2 rectangles that can
be found in the plan can also be
found in the elevations and the
That is not surprising given the
abstract modernist vocabulary
of the house and its
exemplification of the
organization of space through
the abstract instruments of plan
What is more interesting is that
the same trivalent condition (Tshape formation) of the
intersection of the lines in the
plan exist in the façade too but
now it is even more celebrated
in various ways constructing
essentially grids in essential
Successive applications of such
rules produce a modernist
arrangement with grids formed by
: T-shape intersections found
in the façade and the section
of the Smith house
: A derivation of a typical nested T-shape grid
Meier has exploited the two naturally-occurring ridges (which
diverge at a 22.5 degree angle) by overlaying two grids along
these axes. These grids serve to define the space of the campus
while dividing the import of the buildings on it. Along one axis lie
the galleries and along the other axis lie the administrative
buildings. Meier emphasized the two competing grids by
constructing strong view lines through the campus
The main axes of the museum grid that is offset by 22.5 degrees
begins with the arrival plaza, carries through the edge of the
stairs up to the main entrance, aligns with the columns
supporting the rotunda as well as the center point of the rotunda,
aligns with travertine benches in the courtyard between the
pavilions, includes a narrow walkway between the west and
south pavilions, a staircase down to the cactus garden and ends
in the garden.
• The corresponding cross axis starts with the center point
of the circle forming the library garden, then passing to the
center of the entrance rotunda, and aligning with the south
wall of the rotunda building.
• The primary grid structure is a 30-inch (760 mm) square;
most wall and floor elements are 30-inch (760 mm) squares
or some derivative thereof. The buildings at the Getty
Center are made from concrete and steel with
either travertine or aluminium cladding. Around 1,200,000
square feet (110,000 m2) of travertine was used to build the
: AERIAL VIEW
: VIEWS - MUSEUM
: ARRIVAL – TRAM STATION
DESIGN –PROGRAM AND STUDY
Since the building program had not been formulated, Meier was
also involved in the process, the team travelled around the world,
in 1985 , they visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington,
Freer Gallery of Art, Yale Univ. Art Gallery and the Mellon Center for
Kurk Foster emphasized the fact that none of art galleries and
museum had addressed what Getty had to, Meier and others where
looking what should’nt have been done.
He also visited the Glyptothek, Alte Pinakothek and Neue
Pinakothek. He also studied the Certosa del Galluzzo, as Corbusier
had, to understand the organisation of courtyards and the
relationship between interior and exterior spaces.
He finally visited the Villa d’ Este, Tivoli and Villa Lante to study the
spectacular gardens, paying attention to the details, but the Central
Garden and the other landscape features were designed by the
artist, Robert Irwin, who came with the a sculptural garden, using
plants as the medium. The form was never appreciated by the
architect but it was approved by the Getty Trust.
A walk through the garden is a kinesthetic and sensual experience.
The “sculpture” is essentially in three parts: the first is called the
stream garden, where a visitor begins walking down a slope to
what looks like the terminus of the garden and a sweeping vista of
Los Angeles. The stream garden is essentially a canyon of tumbling
green chert boulders sliced by running water. Visitors walk in a
zigzag pattern down the canyon, on a stone path laid in
The stream garden spills out to a second overlook, a transition
space, or plaza, marked by seating areas with umbrellas of
bougainvillea and metal fifteen feet overhead, the bougainvillea
tumbling out of bouquets of the unexpected – industrial rebar.
Finally the waterbody takes a plunge of 20 ft into a carnelian
granite wall lined basin, which has the bowl garden with the azalea
John Quentin Hejduk (19 July 1929 – 3 July 2000), was an American
architect, artist and educator who spent much of his life in New York
City, USA. Hejduk is noted for his use of attractive and often difficult-toconstruct objects and shapes; also for a profound interest in the
fundamental issues of shape, organization, representation, and
Hejduk studied at the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture,
the University of Cincinnati, and the Harvard Graduate School of
Design, from which he graduated with a Masters in Architecture in 1953.
He worked in several offices in New York including that of I. M. Pei and
Partners and the office of A.M. Kinney and Associates. He established
his own practice in New York in 1965
Hejduk was Professor of Architecture at The Cooper Union for the
Advancement of Science and Art, School of Architecture from 1964 to
2000 and Dean of the School of Architecture from 1975 to 2000. His
arrival including the cooperation of many other influential professors (
including Daniel Shapiro )
His early work and curriculum grew from a set of exercises exploring
cubes, grids, and frames, through an examination of square grids
placed within diagonal containers set against an occasional curving
wall, towards a series of experiments with flat planes and curved
masses in various combinations and colors.
For research he was awarded a grant from the Graham Foundation in
1967. Eventually, John Hejduk's "hard-line" modernist space-making
exercises, heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies
Van Der Rohe, moved away from his interests in favor of free-hand
"figure/objects" influenced by mythology and spirituality, clearly
expressing the nature of his poetry.
BUILT WORKS -KREUZBERG TOWER
The Kreuzberg Tower was part of the 1987 International
BauAufstellung (IBA) Program. The German program
continues to support innovative architecture and design
through built and unbuilt projects. In 1987 the IBA
invited noted architects and designers to envision new
low and middle income housing for West Berlin.
Hejduk’s project is composed of a 14 story tower with
two separate 5 story wings. The neutral colored tower
and wings feature green geometric shapes attached to
the facades. These extrusions serve as balconies and
sun shades for the low income housing units.
Proposed refurbishment by the owners had included
changes such as removal of the sun shades and
expanding the balconies. The negative attention
produced by the architecture community halted the
changes and encouraged a reconsideration of the
importance of the building. Instead of the initial
changes, a full renovation is planned for the Kreuzberg
Tower, including the surrounding gardens, which were
designed but never realized.
With a history unlike any other, Wall House
2 redefines the limits of architectural design as a
function of context in both time and culture. 28 years
after the completion of the initial designs and one year
after the death of Hejduk, construction began in a
completely different environment than where it was
The residence was initially designed for a fellow
faculty member to be constructed in Ridgefeld,
Connecticut. Due to the high estimated costs of
construction in the wooded area, the project was put
on hold. Passing from potential client to potential
client, it was always being dropped before the
beginning of construction due to lack of funding. A
development company in Groningen, the Netherlands,
took special interest in the project and decided to fund
the construction at 2,500 square feet.
Wall House 2 is admired for it’s fusion of Surrealist
sculpture, Cubist paintings and architecture, which
reflect John Hejduk’s identity as an artist, poet,
educator and architect. Inspiration for his work often
came from Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe,
where he learned to focus on the more flat dimensions
of architectural form as well as the focus on
: ORIGINAL DRAWING - HEJDUK
Organized around a central axis of horizontal and vertical plane,
a three-dimensionality allows for experiencing the spaces. Use
of light colors encourages visual distinction between volumes,
which are accessible by means of a spiral staircase that sits at
the backside of the wall. Dividing the space, the wall appears to
be freestanding through the careful design of Hejduk, as it is
supported with a glass connection to the volumes
“The wall is a neutral condition. That’s why it’s always painted
gray. It is a moment of passage. The wall heightens that sense
of passage, and by the same token, its thinness heightens the
sense of it being just a momentary condition… what I call the
moment of the present.”
Entering the house, the visitor encounters a flight of stairs which
leads to the study, kitchen and dining room, all biomorphically
shaped spaces with much character. The first floor contains a
bedroom, and the top floor holds the living room. Each volume
appears to be cantilevered, but in actuality the floating masses
are supported by a grid of columns. This adds to the dramatic
design of Wall House 2, as the large wall becomes symbolic,
A starting point for discussing the deflection of the vocabulary of Le
Corbusier towardsHejduk’s own design intentions can perhaps be
provided by the idea of promenade, which was important to Le
According to Le Corbusier, movement provides continuously
changing visual fields within an architectural visual horizon that is
constant over at least part of the trajectory. Thus, variety is set
within one or more clearly perceived organizing frameworks.
In the Wall House, movement is associated with a visual field that
changes only minimally within a given horizon, as in the approach
corridor, or with abrupt changes of the horizon of reference, as
when the wall is crossed. The interplay between the changing
shapes of visual fields according to incremental changes of local
position and a relatively constant horizon is negated. One might
argue that the landscape outside the house is the horizon of
reference from the three living spaces. However, even this horizon
is dissociated from the spaces that channel movement.
The Wall House can indeed be read as a handling of movement
that is equivalent to an anti-promenade. If Le Corbusier’s design
invites us to understand how controlled changes of views are
produced as local variations of an underlying structure, Hejduk
provides an aggregation of segmented views that instead defy
synthesis. To achieve the qualities of promenade, Le Corbusier
fundamentally works with three-dimensional space.
Kenneth Frampton says that Hejduk specializes in frontality.
THEORETICAL AND SCULPTURAL WORKS
HOUSE OF SUICIDE AND HOUSE OF MOTHER OF SUICIDE
The Funeral of Jan Palach - David Shapiro
“ When I entered the first meditation,
I escaped the gravity of the object.
I experienced the emptiness,
And I have been dead a long time.
When I had a voice you could call a voice,
My mother wept to me:
My son, my beloved son,
I never thought this possible,
I'll follow you on foot.
Halfway in mud and slush the microphones picked up.
It was raining on the houses;
It was snowing on the police cars.
The astronauts were weeping,
Going neither up nor out.
And my own mother was brave enough she looked
And it was all right I was dead. “
“House of the Suicide" and "House of the Mother of the Suicide" were
inspired by a David Shapiro poem about Jan Palach, the Czech student who
set himself on fire in January 1969 to protest the Soviet occupation of
Each "House" is a metal-clad cubic box of roughly 12 feet topped by 49
uniformly spaced metal "shards," of roughly the same height as the box
bases. In the "House of the Suicide" the shards are slightly splayed apart, in
the "House of the Mother of the Suicide" they huddle together, rising
vertically from the cubic box.
The monotone gray of the sealed House of the Suicide is punctuated only by
a closed slit, painted red.
The black House of the Mother of the Suicide can be entered. Inside one
mounts a small platform, "a cross between a gallows and a widow's walk,"
from which one can look out at the House of the Suicide through a small slit
in the elevation, painted blue on the exterior. In 1991 Czech President Vaclav
Havel invited Hejduk, who was of Czech descent, to install the two houses
temporarily at the Prague Castle.
Theo Van Doesburg – Counter Compposition V
: The Diamond