Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Office History

For more than five decades, Richard Meier & Partners has been commissioned to design important buildings, and it has successfully completed over 130 projects across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Among its best-known works are: the Smith House in Darien, Connecticut; the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California; the United States Courthouse in Islip, New York; and the Jubilee Church in Rome, Italy.

The work of the firm is instantly recognizable and internationally respected. Our offices in New York and Los Angeles employ a multicultural staff of talented professionals that has produced construction documents, and supervised construction, in 20 countries and 16 languages. Founded in 1963 by Pritzker Prize laureate Richard Meier, the firm is today led by Michael Palladino in Los Angeles and Bernhard Karpf in New York.

Our practice has extensive experience across a broad range of building types and sizes: cultural facilities, government offices, libraries and educational buildings, media production facilities, industrial research complexes, corporate headquarters, hotels and private residences.

We aspire to thoughtful, elegant contemporary architecture that exceeds our clients’ expectations for beauty and form, and fulfills complex programmatic and operational needs.

Recent work includes the newly renovated Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, California; Weill Hall at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; the Seamarq Hotel in Gangneung, South Korea; Rothschild Tower in Tel Aviv, Israel; Leblon Offices in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; The Surf Club in Surfside, Florida, and the Cittadella Bridge in Alessandria, Italy.

We have also built nearly 20 museums, including the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and, more recently, the Burda Museum and the Arp Museum in Germany. We currently have new projects in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

Design Philosophy

The principles that guide our work are rooted in timeless, classical design issues such as Site, Order, and the use of Natural Light that are not unique to period, style, or context. Modern architecture provides us with an optimistic view of contemporary life, while complementing its context with the exploration of other essential values that are of our time: Program, Technology, Sustainability, Collaboration, and Image. With these basic issues in mind we strive to create works of beauty and elegance that enhance any environment.

Site & Context

Our primary site goal is to create a strong sense of “place,” by enhancing or transforming the existing site in a unique and provocative way. Whether urban, suburban, or the open landscape, we search the context of each project individually for clues that inspire a formal idea about issues of organization, scale, and location that provoke a strong dialog with its setting.

Program

Great buildings have simple rational diagrams that are the essence of their organization. That diagram is a catalyst for all subsequent design decisions and development. We focus on clear organization of public and private spaces, reinforcing it with an emphasis on primary and secondary circulation systems. Special emphasis is given to unique elements of the program by form and placement. Those ideas are refined in the massing and façade composition, rationally integrated structural systems, and using natural light in ways that reinforce a strong sense of order.

Order/Geometry

Harmonious proportion and scale are fundamental considerations in our work. Underlying a fluid imaginative conceptual approach to any project is the rational organization of building components based on geometric proportioning systems derived from the golden section employed by the Greeks and the Romans. An underlying building grid based on the scale of the human body and common building materials is then organized into larger building units that yield primary and secondary systems that regulate the design of structure and basic rhythms in elements such as facades and the massing of the building as a whole.

Image

Every project has its own unique opportunity for expression. Regardless of the site, program, and budget issues that may vary with any project, our primary goal is to create beautiful things – simple expressions of the essence of the Program and Vision. A limited palette of materials is used, with an emphasis on lightness, transparency, and precision assembly.

Light

Natural light is a most fundamental element central to all our work, and is as much a building material as concrete and stone. It is manipulated to shape space, lend spirit, mark the passage of time and presence of the sky, all elements essential to a rich architectural experience. Our obsession with light simultaneously includes an ambition to utilize the immediacy of natural light and to integrate both proven traditional methods and new technologies to harvest it.

Technology and Sustainability

Decades of work in Europe, with stringent regulations governing natural ventilation, daylight, and energy consumption has long inspired us toward energy and environmental performance in our design process. The development and application of new materials and technologies are driven by the economic realities of each project, yet we consider sustainability and new building technology extremely important issues. We make intelligent use of the world’s limited natural resources, including those freely available as the sun’s warmth and light, natural breezes for ventilation and cooling, and the integral nature of landscaping and its influence on a site’s micro-climate.