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Richard Meier Houses and Apartments Hardcover – November 13, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; First Edition edition (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847829944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847829941
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 12.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Meier is a Pritzker Prize-winning architect. Rizzoli has published four monographs on his work as well as books on his museums, sculpture, and houses.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Richard Meier In the decade since the first volume dedicated to my residential architecture was published I have engaged in any number of projects conceived for the public realm, from a proposal for the World Trade Center site in New York to the Jubilee Church in Rome. And whether the physical scale of these projects was ambitious, as was The Getty Center in Los Angeles, or intimate, in the manner of the Burda Collection Museum in Baden-Baden, their shared status as public spaces necessitated an open and direct relationship with their contexts, both physical and cultural. But throughout the course of these projects, whether they brought me to the West Coast of the United States, to Italy, Germany, China, or anywhere else in the world, I have never abandoned the pursuit of residential projects. On the contrary, projects designed to accommodate and give expression to the private lives of others have proven to be a way forward in the continued development of my work as I enter my forty-fifth year of leading my own practice. From the beginning, I considered houses to be among the most important of my early commissions. I believe this to be true for most architects embarking on their own professional course. The residential commission allows one to formulate ideas and develop a set of principles that, one hopes, will inform future work for a long time to come. In my case, however, I have never let go of the preoccupation with the design of a house, so that the private residential commission has remained a constant in my career. I have stated many times that houses occupy a unique place in architecture. As an expression of architectural ideas they are an essential type. Formally they are likely to offer the most intimate scale at which to work. And symbolically they have always maintained a potent force, both as a vivid representation of lives lived inside their walls and as a powerful influence over the changing course of architecture over centuries. In a sense, my first commission for a house--indeed, my first independent commission ever--encapsulated these qualities of being essential, potent, perhaps even revolutionary, at least on a personal level. Built on the southern dunes of New York's Fire Island, the Lambert House of 1962 relied on an extremely simple design to take full advantage of the already spectacular natural environment surrounding it. Of course, thesimplicity of its form was dictated not only by the beauty of the landscape, but also by the client's budget. At the time, advertisements for prefabricated log cabins were common, and it occurred to me that a manufacturer might be able to precut the basic components necessary to construct a house that would forgo the nostalgic flourishes of the traditional log cabin. And in fact I was right, the result being the completion of the Lambert House over the course of nine days at a cost of $11,000. The following year I was called to design a house for the type of client that can be the most rewarding and the most challenging for a young architect: one's own parents. As I recall, my parents, Carolyn and Jerome Meier, desired specifically a house that would be simultaneously comfortable and "exciting" to live in. The house was sited on a quiet suburban street, and its low, sleek profile was modulated by two cylindrical turrets rising to a height of 20 feet, giving the project a stature comparable to that of the superficially grander traditional houses surrounding it. If you look closely, you will see some of the furniture in the living room of my parents' house make a repeat appearance in a photograph of an apartment at 165 Charles Street. It is the apartment belonging to my daughter, Ana, and it is a joy for me to see her and my parents' homes both illustrated in this volume. The building at 165 Charles Street, completed in 2006, is part of an informal trio of residential towers located in lower Manhattan along the Hudson River. I say informal because the other two towers, 173/176 Perry Street, were commissioned by a separate client and completed four years earlier. These first two towers signaled a watershed event on a number of levels. First, 173/176 Perry Street represent my first full-scale project to be completed in Manhattan (though in 1970 I did complete the renovation of the interior spaces of the Westbeth Artists' Housing, a former Bell Telephone laboratory facility also located along the Hudson River, only three blocks north of Perry Street). The towers at Perry Street were also my first commercial residential project to be completed. Since then, I have of course completed the third tower at 165 Charles Street, and I will soon see the completion of residential projects in Brooklyn and the East Side of Manhattan, in Jesolo, Italy, outside of Venice, and in Philadelphia, Miami, Beverly Hills, and Tel Aviv. What makes these projects exciting for me is their inclusion of public space within a residential program. This refers to not only the plaza spaces at the ground-floor levels of 173/176 Perry Street and 165 Charles Street, for example; I am also referring to something less tangible--the synergy that emerges from the activity between the three towers, the adjacent park along the river, and the surrounding neighborhood (the uniquely vibrant West Village). What I am speaking of here is something tantalizingly close to planning on the urban scale. For this reason the project on the East Side of Manhattan, the East River Master Plan, is very special to me. It comprises multiple residential towers, but, perhaps more important, necessitates the creation of large-scale public spaces that will serve the entire neighborhood and connect it to a magnificent public promenade at the river's edge. For my own part, it is a profound link between the domestic and urban scales: the house as the gateway to the city.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Bullen on January 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I recieved this book as a gift and was very surprised. Its giver told me she had read a great review of it in the WSJ, and, judging the book by its cover (as all such books may well be sampled) I was excited. I am a great fan of Mr. Meier, so that may make me a little biased, but to Rizzoli's credit, this book is very well done. While I am more interested in his civic buildings, Meier's residential work is so rich that I will concede that it deserves its own volume.
The writings (there are a few essays included) are a nice accompaniment for a relative outsider in the Architecture world, such as myself. The photography is stunning and captures the use light and materials quite nicely. My only complaint is that some of the photographs do not seem to focus so much on the architecture as much as the surrounding environment: stunning views from apartments and private homes as well as a throuroughly modernist approach to siting the structures. Also, some work gets less attention than I would prefer, especially some of the early houses that could be seen as touchstones in the arhictect's career.
But, in toto, this book does a good job of describing and documenting a great swath of Richard Meier's storied architecure and it is well worth exploring.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Deason on December 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Richard Meier's work is world renouned of course, but he is known mostly for his museums, like the Getty in L.A. and the High in Atlanta, but were he really shines is in his houses, this setting is more intimate and you see his virtuoisty of his work and observe his architecture evolve. His apartment buildings in Manhattan are known for their clean beauty and unfortuinitely also for their miriad of problems, but in this book the focus in rightfully placed on the architecture not the practicality or the durability, and since i have neither the capitol nor the desire to live in one of his apartments the point is moot to me. Suffice to say if you have any interest in Meier or of beautiful modern architecture then I highly recommend ths book.
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By Bookworm on March 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this is a good book, many of the houses in this monograph were covered in the previous Rizzoli publication of Meier's Residential work - 1962 to 1997. Was this just to make the book thicker?
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