Growing up in New York

Richard Meier: Well I was born in Newark, but I never lived in Newark. My parents lived in Maplewood, New Jersey which is a suburb. I think the population is somewhere . . . or it was at that time . . . somewhere around 12,000 people, maybe 8,000 . . . somewhere around 8,000 and 12,000. The houses were close together. All the neighborhoods were very nice, and it was a lot of open space. There was a lot of park space. There was a great ease of going inside and outside. Outside activities were very much a part of one’s life growing up there, something I always felt that my children growing up in New York didn’t have – that ease of going out to play, coming back inside, going out, meeting friends, freedom of movement. Just a sort of idyllic environment as far as I was concerned. At the age of 14, I remember friends of my parents coming for dinner, and they would say, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” – the typical thing you’d say to a young teenager. And I said, “I wanna be an architect.” I’m not sure I knew exactly what that meant at that time, but I decided that’s what I wanted to do. And later I worked in the summer as a carpenter’s assistant on construction jobs during the summer with a friend of mine. And then the following summer I worked in an architect’s office where I just swept the floors, and went out and got coffee, and did important things like that.

 

Recorded on: 9/17/07

 

 

 

 

Meier decided on his profession at 14.

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