What is your creative process?
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: Do you have a creative process?
Richard Meier: Well I think the creative process is, you know, trying to understand what it is about the particular project that you’re thinking about. What is its relationship, as I said, to the larger environment and context in which you’re working? It’s different thinking about a building in Barcelona than it is thinking about a building in Istanbul, for instance. The context is different. The culture is different. The relationship of the building to the place is different. So that is the first thing you start thinking about. Then you start drawing. You start drawing. You know what’s important? What’s the given? What is it about this place that sort of makes some impact on what you’re doing? And what is it you’re doing? And how does that come out from just being what it is to being something in this context?
Question: How do you balance creativity and discipline?
Richard Meier: Discipline is sort of the ability to focus. I have a very good discipline. I’m able to sit and work for three or four hours without moving – without getting up and walking around. Others sort of need, you know, to stop, chat and get back to work. I’m happiest when it’s sort of that linear process. And that’s the way I work best – when I sit down and I have a period of time to reflect and to work on something.
Recorded on: September 17, 2007.
Balancing an idea with its context is a vital step, says Richard Meier.
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