Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Richard Meier

Cooper Union School of Architecture

New York, New York

October 27, 1976 - November 12, 1976

Considering his scope of work from 1966 to 1976, this exhibition traces Meier’s growth and mastery of the residential typology onward to early public and institutional projects. The exhibition begins with his early investigations of Corbusier’s work amounting to the Smith House, House in Palm Ridge, and House in Old Westbury among others. As Kenneth Frampton points out, the fundamental inconsistency that Meier confronts is “the volumetric plasticity of the frontal plane and the exploding irregular displacements of the other three sides.” This form of free plan, Frampton goes on to explain, is less characteristic of early purist forms and more related to shingle style plans. This clash is seen in the formal compositions of his early houses as “a drive toward the sculptural in a highly figurative sense and a concern for the planar as the essential element of architectural space.” Frampton praises the House in Old Westbury as Meier’s maturity in resolving this formal conflict.

Of equal importance, if not greater, is Meier’s entrance into public architecture. When operating within an existing city fabric, his tendency for sculptural explorations is “transcended by the implacable, systematic and urban nature of all public work.” The exhibit shows the beginning of Meier’s career-long fascination and self-driven responsibility to provide for public space. His insistence on open arcade circulation in Twin Peaks and the microcosms of public places within the city of the Bronx Development Center leads Frampton to proclaim that “Every vestige of Corbusianism has been purged by a logic of technique that dispenses with the theatricalities of cardboard architecture and returns the production of form to the realm of Baukunst.”