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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[…]

Meier recalls his grandmother’s example.

Question: What forces have shaped America?

Richard Meier: My mother’s mother, who lived in Newark, had a boyfriend who she was deeply in love with. And he decided in 1865, I believe it was, to go to California to seek his fortune by finding gold. He left and went to California, and some months later she got on a covered wagon and went to California to meet up with him. Well it didn’t work out for reasons that I don’t know. She got back on a covered wagon and came back across the country to Newark. That’s always been an inspiration to me – to be able to go across the country, through the wild, at that time being shot at or God knows what, and yet have that sense of adventure. Not adventure, but a sense of purpose that no matter what happens, it’s worth seeking that which you wish to have.I think that that feeling of going after something, doing something; the possibility that you can do it is very much an American ideal.


Recorded on: September 17, 2007.