Richard Meier is one of the foremost contemporary American architects. In 1984 at the age of 49, Meier was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, often referred to as the Nobel of architecture. He was the youngest architect to receive the profession's highest accolade. Meier is known for resisting trend-based designs, instead developing his own design philosophy rooted in rationalism and noted for its use of the color white. His designs can be seen as Neo-Corbusian, referencing the famous French architect's early phase in particular. Meier has also named Frank Lloyd Wright as another major influence. Perhaps his most famous design is The Getty Center, a Los Angeles art museum funded by the J. Paul Getty trust. Meier was born in Newark, New Jersey, and educated at Cornell University.
Question: What do you believe?
Richard Meier: Well I think if I have a personal philosophy, it would stem from people who were extremely important to me during my education; not only my early education, but the time that I spent at Cornell. My closest faculty advisor was a man in the government department, and I just learned from them sort of freedom with responsibility. That’s ____________. Architects are optimistic by nature. I don’t think you can be an architect without being an optimist. So I am always hopeful that no matter what’s happening, it can be better.
Question: What is the measure of a good life?
Richard Meier: I think the feeling of accomplishment; the feeling of giving something to society that is meaningful, hopefully lasting, and has quality and endurance that people will appreciate over the years.
Recorded on: September 17, 2007.