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Thread: Richard Meier - Modernist in White Armour

  1. #16

    Default Homage Series - Introduction



    We deliberately began this thread with a photograph of Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, and that was juxtaposed to Meier's Smith House. Villa Savoye, however, is not the home that influenced Meier the most, it is rather the home that illustrates perhaps the best of all Le Corbusier's so-called "purist" structures. For Meier, the better example would have been Villa de Monzie / Stein, which will start out the homage series in the next post.



    © Triton College


    We will then give to examples of Meier that ultimately pay tribute to the last effort of Le Corbusier. I will take a moment or two to point out selective ideas, details and perspectives that Meier derived from Le Corbusier, if time permits.



    © Richard Schulman Photography / photo Esto.com



    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:28 AM.

  2. #17

    Default

    Im enjoying your thread Zephyr but I have to make a point, its really awkward to read a thread when you make posts so wide! You have scroll across, back, down, across....

  3. #18

    Default

    I don't know what to say. The only thing that I am doing differently here is using a form of external text compression on a PowerMac, which could translate into larger margins or smaller than normal characters.

    I have no doubt that you are having problems with this, but I am not seeing it at all on my end, making it difficult for me to address the issues that you have raised.

  4. #19

    Default Homage - Meier re-interpretation of Le Corbusier's Villa de Monzie / Stein



    The French Minister of Culture and Education, Anatole de Monzie, contracted Le Corbusier initially to build a villa in the town that was then known as Garches. By the time it was completed, the French Minister was divorced and living elsewhere, and his former wife with child were sharing the building with the Stein family. Michael Stein was the brother of the famed Gertrude Stein in New York, and both he and his wife were collectors/resellers of artwork, with a particular bent toward Matisse.

    Interestingly enough, the Villa de Monzie / Stein was specifically designed to be two separate homes - one home on one side, the other home on the reverse side - yet, despite this there would be a common overall structure with a few key common areas that were only visible internally. The way it was referred to at this time was "double home."


    Le Corbusier's Villa de Monzie / Stein

    (aka Villa de Monzie initially;
    then Villa Stein-de Monzie or Villa Garches;
    and eventually Villa Stein)

    1926-27
    Vaucresson (Garches), France


    Top Left - Front View / Top Right - Exploded Sketch of the Exterior Walls of the Two Homes / Bottom - Rear or Garden View



    © NAOCE, SJTU; AGRAM; portalVitruvius / Ronaldo de Azambuja STRÖHER


    Unlike Villa Savoye, Villa de Monzie / Stein distinctly differs from one main side to the other. The function of this division was to give each family a different look on the one hand, and to address the issues of the lot on the other.

    In Richard Meier's reinterpretation, this difference was realigned into the Private versus the Public Side or Sector for one family - the Private Side/Sector, typically uses narrower window ribbons elevated on the interior for privacy, but admitting some light, and can be greatly tinted; the Public Side or Sector having the greater use of clear glass, and facing toward the sun in a particular way to allow the light to travel across the plane in a dramatic but controlled manner.

    Note also the door with the cabled awning. It is signature Le Corbusier. Although he didn't invent it, he popularised it in many of his purist buildings before WWII. Meier also uses this door, but mostly on his non-residential structures.

    Finally note the balcony treatment - sometimes referred to as the Le Corbusier 'cabinet drawer balcony' in the 1930s. Meier again uses this idea, but he updates the shape and sometimes inserts frosted glass.


    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:30 AM.

  5. #20

    Default Homage - "The Silo" appears in Meier's Federal Building and U.S. Courthose



    If you were unaware of Le Corbusier connexion to Richard Meier, you would be completely puzzled by the next structure, which contains what many have labeled "The Silo". But even if you were aware of this tie, you may not be instantly clued into the lesser known work to which this is an homage.

    More on that in a later post.


    Richard Meier's
    Federal Building and United States Courthouse
    1993-2000
    Islip, New York USA




    Left - courtesy arcspace; right - © Scott Frances/Esto[/I]


    Courtesy archidose / © Richard Meier & Partners


    Courtesy AIA Archiblog / © Richard Meier & Partners



    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:31 AM.

  6. #21

    Default

    The Mac thing seems like the cause. The first your last two posts for example went way of the page, maybe 1.75 pages/ screens wide.

  7. #22

    Default Homage - Another "silo" appears, this time on Meier's Arp Museum in Germany



    Below we have a second reference in Meier's work to what was initially labeled "The Silo". The execution here is far more complex, structurally. The function of this silo is more clearly defined, in that it is a second entrance to the museum for those that come by rail.



    Richard Meier's
    Hans Arp Museum
    1978-2007
    Rolandseck, Deutschland



    Sketches, Plans and Models




    Above © arcspace.com /
    Two sketches at top, and two drawings on the next row are courtesy
    Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP



    Above © arcspace.com / Three models Jock Pottle


    Completed Structure

    Inside Glimpse


    Getty Images


    Outside Orientation


    Above © flickr / matthimyr

    The last photograph shows the Bahnhof train station at the bottom of the escarpment, near the water. The station entrance is completely hidden as planned, with a thick layer of trees.

    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:32 AM.

  8. #23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alonzo-ny View Post
    The Mac thing seems like the cause. The first your last two posts for example went way of the page, maybe 1.75 pages/ screens wide.
    Thanks for your follow-up.

    I do notice that my screens are automatically re-sized when I open this thread, and I didn't pay attention to that, prior to your post.

  9. #24

    Default Homage Le Corbusier - "Silo" origins, the final project in Firminy France (1 of 2)



    Last Project of Le Corbusier

    (1 of 2)


    After WWII, Le Corbusier embarked on building structurea that we associate with Brutalism - employing various forms of materials in their natural state, especially concrete. When Meier used concrete, he tended to move away from a typical Brutalist finish. The best example of this was the Jubilee Church, which resembles none of Le Corbusier's Brutalist work, nor any of his churches.

    But there is one church that Le Corbusier planned but never saw finished - his last project - St. Peter's Church in Firmiry France. Firminy has less than 20,000 people, and is near the better known town of St. Etienne in the Loire Valley. He envisioned what his biographer Jean-Louis Cohen termed a "concrete testament" to the church. This was a kind of simplified counterpoint to his famed church in Ronchamp, France - Chapel of Nôtre Dame du Haut.

    But this church in Firminy will finally reveal the source of Richard Meier's homage to the silo-like figure in two of his works. The source was never really a silo at all, but a cross between a building as a machine, and as a place of worship.


    Le Corbusier's Eglise Saint-Pierre
    1971-2006
    Firminy-Vert, France


    > CLICK HERE for Aerial Line Drawing > CLICK HERE for Elevation Line Drawing > CLICK HERE for Main Floor Plan
    All Line Drawings © FLC


    Above photos © Le Monde

    Above two photos -
    © 2005 Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University;
    © Le Monde



    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:35 AM.

  10. #25

    Default Homage Le Corbusier - "Silo" origins, the final project in Firminy France (2 of 2)



    Last Project of Le Corbusier

    (2 of 2)



    © 2006 Spiegel Online


    Interior Views



    © Le Monde


    Left to right: © Catholique diocese de Saint-Etienne / Photos Maurice; Bonhomme © 2006 Spiegel Online


    © 2002-2007 Professionipuntonet Srl
    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:36 AM.

  11. #26
    The Dude Abides
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    Default

    Question: what is (are) the function(s) of the silo in either of those buildings by Meier? I ask because, if he chose to use the form simply as an homage, it would've come off somewhat hypocritical, no?

  12. #27

    Default

    To give you a thumbnail:

    • Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. The silo-like structure functions as a gigantic top-lit rotunda. A rotunda that has no windows, echos noticeably, and gives a sense of space. This rotunda is also used as an exhibition area.

    • Arp Museum. The silo-like feature operates as the visible top of a lift/elevator. The actual lift/elevator within, connects at the bottom to a "subterranean corridor" that comes from or leads to the train station. At the top again, the other connection from the silo-like tip is via a bridge to Arp Museum itself. All of this relates to a secondary, or back entrance/exit.

  13. #28

    Default Richard Meier and 'The New York Five' - Part Two

    Below is another abbreviated segment from a larger essay written some years back (1). Citations have been excluded. (Part One is located in Post # 13 of this thread.)


    "Architects can no longer afford to be intimidated by the puritanically moral language of orthodox modern architecture. I like elements which are hybrid rather than 'pure,' compromising rather than 'clean,' distorted rather than 'straightforward,' ambiguous ... and equivocal rather than direct and clear. I am for messy vitality over obvious unity ... I am for richness of meaning rather than clarity of meaning."

    Robert Venturi

    Meier vs. Stern - The Great Divide begins

    One year later in 1973, Five On Five became the book that directly challenged Five Architects. This was the beginning of the ‘Post Modernist versus Modernist Debate' – Grays versus Whites – that took place across several venues from print to live-discussion. If Richard Meier could be considered the reluctant lead of The New York Five, Robert Stern seized the lead of the opposition. None of this occurred in isolation... in the critical period prior to Five On Five, in which the battle took form, there were several indications of a coming break...

    Meier and Stern had known each other ... before. Just after he received his Master of Architecture degree from YSOA, Stern was hired by Meier to work as a designer at his fledgling firm. … Ultimately, Stern’s tenure was brief, but one can speculate that Stern had been predisposed to be at odds with Meier’s views prior to coming to Meier’s firm.

    While at Yale, … Stern … attended several classes that exposed him to a different way of thinking. … The venerable (Art and Architecture Historian Vincent J.)... Scully, provided (him) … with a thoroughly acceptable raison d’etre for questioning the dominant ‘International Style’. … Scully often compared and contrasted Frank Lloyd Wright to Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier from the main European schools that made-up the International Style. … Stern appeared to have listened carefully based on his reminiscing about his years at Yale. ... Stern was also aware of Robert Venturi's musings on the role of history and imperfection versus the quest for rules and pure form that characterised the European Architects of that loosely labeled ‘style’... This was apparently interpreted then and later as a rigid approach to Architecture by this growing American school of interpretation …

    Meier’s words and imagery in this period could have been drawn directly from Le Corbusier’s Vers une Architecture (...Towards An Architecture) - meaning in this case a new type of Architecture - published back in 1923. Like the great man himself, Meier used such equivalents as: role of light in defining space, the use of contour and surface as the latter two related to perception of mass... Above all, Meier declared that decorative ‘appliqués’ were out in his firm. … Stern was not amused by these positions, as evidenced by what he communicated to his friends at that time … Stern refuses to speak publicly on these matters today ...

    Who were the authors of Five On Five? …. Like the "big three" of the Five Architects, there was a corresponding big three within the Five On Five: Robert Stern, Charles Moore and Jaquelin T. Robertson. Of these latter three, Robert Stern was the most formidable in the debate format. …

    The man that labeled them ‘The New York Five,’ according to Meier, was New York Times Architecture critic Paul Goldberger. … Goldberger became a friend of both Meier and Stern, finding himself in the middle of the debates between the so-called Modernists and Post Modernists; he was often uncomfortable with both. …

    Another who was in the middle was Philip C. Johnson. Johnson practised on both sides of the debate in his career, and was torn between his positions and his genuine desire to befriend, what he called “my kids”. ... Stern and Meier, who were on starkly opposite sides, did not seem bothered by Johnson’s 'flip-flops,' nor did Johnson become an enemy when he suddenly appeared on the other side of Meier or Stern. … A darker side to Johnson was his anti-Semitism. ... Both Meier and Stern were Jewish, and were well aware of Johnson’s views, but neither outwardly challenged him nor distance themselves – it was a curious acceptance of the aging Johnson as a product of his times, although it certainly was not an excuse …


    "American architecture is going all over the place, like pellets sprayed from a shotgun. ... You cannot evoke the past by simply taking historical symbols ... What does it mean to put a Roman arch over someone's house in Connecticut? Nothing. Architecture has to do with the totality of the building, not the application of illiterately assembled elements."

    Richard Meier (2)
    ____________
    1. Please note that these included quotations - highlighted at the top and bottom of this post - were never used in the original essay.

    2. Robert Venturi's quotation earlier, made this counter-balancing quotation inevitable. I am well aware that this same quotation, from Richard Meier, is also used in the "15 Central Park West" thread, elsewhere on WNY.

    .

  14. #29

    Default Meier's Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art - Exteriors



    Once a monastic enclave, but becoming another rundown area within the notorious Raval district of Barcelona, this museum was seen as a potential anchor to start a recovery of this crowded place. Richard Meier came up to the challenge and designed another one of his white structures, that combined ideas he used in houses, with those he used in museums.

    The contents to be stored in the museum consisted primarily of twentieth century artwork in the beginning. There were also facilities for workshops and classes built into the structure.

    We refer to this in English as the "Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art." Locals prefer to call it MACBa or MACBA - an acronym derived from "Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona" (which is on the building and in the Catalan regional language - not Spanish).

    Exteriors will be displayed in this post, interiors in the next.


    Richard Meier's
    Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona [MACBA]
    1988-95
    Barcelona, España



    Aerial Shot

    (with MACBA naturally highlighted
    due to its white finish and enormous size}



    Courtesy The Architect Painter


    Exteriors


    Courtesy flickr / marcelgermain


    left - Courtesy flickr / marcelgermain; right - Courtesy flickr / Mor (bcnbits)


    left - Courtesy Barceloca; right Courtesy e-architect


    flickr / marcelgermain


    flickr / Laurent Chicoineau


    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:40 AM.

  15. #30

    Default Meier's Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art - Interiors

    Interiors of MACBA

    A play of light and shadows, colour and depth


    Courtesy Barceloca


    left - flickr / goandgo; right - Courtesy flickr / dhammza


    Courtesy OJODIGITAL / onstage


    Courtesy flickr / Laurent Chicoineau

    .

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