Bernhard Karpf, the short-lived top executive of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, has officially (and quietly) left the firm, according to The Real Deal (TRD). After nine months of leading the company post-Meier’s groundbreaking #MeToo moment, Karpf is no longer working there. It’s unclear whether this move means Meier is back in the office again leading more work or if other the principals Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, or Dukho Yeon will take over operations of the practice. It is extremely odd, however, that, as TRD noted, the spot where Karpf’s photo on the firm’s website has been replaced with Meier’s. A 31-year-career working at the practice resulted in his stepping away with no major recognition for his work or little-to-no immediate reports in the design media. The updated listing of the firm’s Partners page was all that indicated the abrupt change. The firm declined to comment on his decision to leave the firm and instead said: "We thank Bernhardt Karpf for his many years of dedicated service and his wide-ranging work that was part of what made Richard Meier & Partners the world-renown design firm that it is today.” The sequence of events that have occurred—or at least those that have been made public surrounding Meier’s stepping back—is what’s most opaque about the transition of leadership at the firm. Last October, AN reported the 84-year-old celebrity architect would “take a step back from day-to-day activities” after being accused of alleged sexual harassment and assault by his employees. The story broke in The New York Times in March of last year after which Meier, who founded the firm over 50 years ago, took a six-month leave of absence. After half a year passed, Karpf became managing principal, while Lee, Logan, and Yeon were promoted to their current positions. Design partner Michael Palladino continued leading the firm’s Los Angeles office and the other three executives, partner James R. Crawford, and associate partners Mark Sparrowhawk and Alex Wuo, remained in their roles. Despite the upward movement and enhanced leadership of the above, it’s common knowledge that Meier has still had some influence on projects over the last year and has been continuing to build and maintain his network of clients around the world. When asked about Meier’s whereabouts earlier this year by Bloomberg, Karpf said he is still around. “We talk, he’s available,” he admitted, although he's also admitted before that Meier comes into the Midtown Manhattan office twice a week. In February, Karpf told TRD that he was keen to stay at the firm despite the recent controversy for the sake of his clients and all his history there. That same month in the interview with Bloomberg, he said that Meier hadn’t been part of regular operations at the firm for years and that it’s largely the architects in charge and all the employees who deserve the credit for keeping his legacy as a leading designer alive. But Meier's accusers disagree, saying Karpf didn't do enough to stand up for them and that he was in self-preservation mode. At one point, Karpf said the entire story was "last year's news." In spite of Karpf's previous intentions not to leave, six months after these statements he was gone. The firm has yet to publically name a managing principal to replace him.
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Richard Meier & Partners Architects today announced that Richard Meier "will step back from day-to-day activities" at his firm after a year in which he was accused of exposing himself to young employees and groping people in public. Bernhard Karpf has been promoted to managing principal and will oversee the firm's operations. Michael Palladino will be in charge of the firm's West Coast office in Los Angeles. Richard Meier founded the practice in 1963, and the office has since completed over 130 projects around the world and won numerous awards, including the 1984 Pritzker Prize for Meier. He became the youngest person to receive the award. Meier rose to fame as part of the New York Five, a group of East Coast architects that included Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, and John Hejduk. Meier rose to national attention thanks to early residential and cultural projects, like the addition to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, but it was his design for the Getty Center in Los Angeles that propelled him to the highest echelon of architectural fame. Meier's reputation was clouded earlier this year when several female former employees accused the architect of sexual harassment and assault in The New York Times, after which Meier took a six-month leave of absence and left Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, Dukho Yeon, and Bernhard Karpf to oversee the firm's New York office and Michael Palladino to oversee work in Los Angeles. The firm was criticized for their response to the accusations, which alleged that Meier exposed himself to young female employees and publicly touched another inappropriately. The firm announced that after Meier steps back, Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, and Dukho Yeon have been promoted to principals. In a statement, Meier's office said that Meier "will remain available to colleagues and clients who seek his vast experience and counsel," and that "the firm will maintain and develop the rigorous design philosophy that Richard pioneered."
The fallout over the allegations facing Richard Meier in the wake of the bombshell report released yesterday has been swift, as several institutions have announced that they would be severing ties with Meier as a result. Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning has declared that it would decline Meier’s recent endowment and will be reviewing all of the architect’s past donations, while Sotheby’s has canceled its New York show of Meier’s artwork. Meier has long been a fixture at Cornell, his alma mater, having completed Weill Hall for the school in 2008 and sponsored the Ana Meier Graduate Scholarship, meant to encourage women in architecture. As of yesterday, Kent Kleinman, Dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell, released a statement explaining that the school would be declining Meier’s gift to name the chair of the architecture department. Furthermore, Kleinman announced that Cornell would be canceling an event planned to celebrate the gift and that the school “will swiftly explore what additional actions are appropriate with regard to endowments for professorships and scholarships previously donated to Cornell.” Sotheby’s has followed suit and has canceled a solo show of Meier’s artwork produced from 2014 through 2017 at their S|2 gallery in New York City. While the page has been scrubbed from the Sotheby’s website at the time of writing, the exhibition had been scheduled to run until the end of March and featured a collection of 36 collages, silkscreens, and encaustic paintings. As first reported in ARTnews, the decision to scrap the show was made “in consultation with the Meier family.” AN will update this article as further information becomes available.
Multiple women have come forward to accuse Richard Meier, founding principal of Richard Meier & Partners, of sexual harassment and assault. The allegations, mostly from women who worked at the firm, span four decades and detail inappropriate touching and indecent exposure. They also include a designer who detailed an attempted sexual assault by Meier. Speaking to the New York Times, multiple employees stated that Meier exposed himself to them at his home and suggested they pose nude for him. One former employee said Meier, now 83, grabbed her underwear through her dress at the firm's holiday party in 2003. One woman, who did not work at his firm, stated that Meier dragged her to his bedroom and laid on top of her, ignoring her "no"s and her attempts to push him away. When reached for comment, a spokesman for the firm sent The Architect's Newspaper (AN) a press release that responded to the allegations.
“I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions,” Meier said in the release. “While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior." Meier is taking a six-month leave of absence from the office. In the meantime, he is leaving operations to four partners: Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, Dukho Yeon, and Bernhard Karpf will oversee day-to-day operations at the New York office, while Michael Palladino, partner-in-charge of the firm's Los Angeles office, will supervise projects and operations.
Richard Meier has endowed the chair of the Department of Architecture at Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP), his alma mater. Andrea Simitch, associate professor and chair of architecture department who graduated with a B.Arch. in 1979, will be the first to work under the title. "Architectural pedagogy at Cornell is fundamentally rooted in processes of making, and Richard Meier's creative process—one that moves freely between art and architecture, drawings and sculpture, collages and models—is one that has deeply informed that pedagogy," Simitch said in a press release. "His capacity to imagine architecture both as abstract composition and occupiable space is a continuing part of his legacy today at Cornell." In addition to the endowed chair, which includes a disbursement for research grants, the architect has donated money towards an associate professorship he established in 2010. Along with his daughter Ana, Meier has also funded a scholarship for women in the M.Arch program. Way before he founded the firm that bears his name, Meier graduated with a B.Arch. from Cornell in 1956. While Richard Meier & Partners' work can be seen the world over, he has also designed one building for the school: Weill Hall, a 263,000-square-foot biology building—clad in the architect's signature white—that debuted in 2008.
A white building from one of the New York Five? That's hardly surprising, but it is perhaps fitting that Richard Meier's latest work has gone up in Israel's White City, an area famed for its modernist and Bauhaus architecture. Known as "The Whites," the New York Five comprised Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk and Richard Meier. Their work, bound together by the now career-defining "Five Architects" which was published in 1972, riffed on Corbusian ideals and produced white forms in their early careers and indeed much of Meier's career in general. Richard Meier & Partners' Rothschild Tower, which officially opened last week in Tel Aviv, is a continuation of that form. Located on Rothschild Boulevard in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of White City, the 42-story tower is a residential building that offers balconies on every corner as well as a swimming pool, spa, and wine cellar. This is the firm's first project in Israel. "The great thing about the site is that it's related to the whole city; it's related to all of the wonderful buildings of the 1930s and to the historic buildings of Rothschild Boulevard. It makes me very happy to be in such company," said Meier in a press release. Drawing on Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, Rothschild Tower sits above the street, supported by a set of piloti. A double-height lobby bound by a glass curtain wall facilitates openness at street level. White louvers horizontally span each level where residential units are located and comprise a double-layered facade. "The transparency and lofty openness of the ground floor lobby, garden and retail spaces contribute to a vibrant streetscape," said Reynold Logan, a design partner at Richard Meier & Partners who headed the project.
Who could possibly make Richard Meier work in anything but white? Someone with a good plan and a strong vision (well, also this guy). Deep in downtown Newark, New Jersey, Richard Meier & Partners, working for developer RBH Group, has put another round of finishing touches on a multi-building development called Teachers Village. Though technically "mixed-use," the Teachers Village spirit is more in line with a cheery contemporary mill town, or a little Columbus, Indiana. In a postindustrial twist, the project's affordable and market-rate residences were marketed first towards teachers and their families (though other workers are welcome, too). The complex's three apartment buildings by Meier feature 123 residential units. Each unit is sunny, owing to the ring of (to-be-developed) surface parking surrounding much of the Village and to the floor-to-ceiling windows in the common spaces. The scheme has proved popular so far—as of mid-February, the buildings are almost fully leased. Some of the residents teach at the development's three charter schools (two designed by Meier). On a recent tour, reporters ascended an outdoor stair on a skywalk between the two schools, topped by a few circular skylights, and filed along a catwalk above the spacious gymnasium. After school hours, residents can play basketball on the indoor courts, which barely need overhead lighting thanks to ecclesiastic south-facing windows. RBH Group wanted the project to integrate with Newark's beautiful but worn streets nearby. The design team worked with the city's Landmarks & Historic Preservation Commission to envision structures that would reflect Newark's scale and vernacular. The result: Meier used red brick for the first time since the 1960s. Well, not true red brick. The material, used on one of the schools, is inflected with iron, projecting a soft metallic glow in the right light, a still-earthy foil to white aluminum panel– and stucco-clad buildings nearby. Some of the window-adjacent brick is arranged in a sawtooth pattern, establishing visual continuity with the low-slung commercial storefronts nearby detailed with decorative brick and terra-cotta tiles. This is deeply intentional. Teachers Village harmonizes with the surrounding city, but it's more than a patch in the urban fabric. The project on target to receive LEED Neighborhood Development certification, a hard-to-get designation awarded to community-scale projects that evince sustainable design and smart urban development. Lined with street-level retail, buildings along the Halsey Street corridor are not more than four stories tall, in keeping with Newark's low-rise character and growth goals outlined in the latest master plan. Teachers are less than a 15-minute walk to the nearest PATH and NJ Transit stations, near the Prudential Center and three city parks. All told, the six buildings of Teachers Village's first phase include three schools, 65,000 square feet of retail, and residential programs spread out over 23 acres south of Market Street and west of Broad Street. The development is part of what could be, by 2050, a 15 million-square-foot development with a 200-room hotel, 550,000 square feet of retail and cultural programming, 4.75 million square feet of office space, and up to 8,000 residential units. The project broke ground in 2012, and buildings have been coming online for the past four years. A mix of residential and retail, Building VI (243 Halsey Street) has just recently opened its doors to new tenants. "Newark doesn't have the best reputation," said Meier, who was born in the city. "It needs this kind of development to help others realize that Newark's an important city. Any project we can do to help the whole city—we're proud to do it." Editor's Note: This article initially stated that 206 units were constructed in Phase One. There are 123. In addition, the article was updated to include the project's overall development capacity.
Located between 61st Street and 59th Street, and next to the Henry Hudson Parkway, the newly-announced multi-tower "Waterline Square" development will stand among an interesting set of neighbors. On the other side of 61st Street is One Riverside Park of "poor door" infamy; across 59th street is the IRT Powerhouse, a massive Stanford White-designed steam production facility operated by ConEd (it was originally a subway power station). And just south of the IRT building—with its massive 240-foot-tall smokestack, the last of six originals—is Bjarke Ingles Group's hyperbolic paraboloid Via 57. Waterline Square—which is being developed by the Boston-based GID Development Group, owner of two nearby residential developments—will feature three glassy towers: One Waterline Square (Richard Meier and Partners Architects), Two Waterline Square (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF)), and Three Waterline Square (Rafael Viñoly Architects). "Together, we are transforming one of the last remaining waterfront development sites on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, into a new, vibrant neighborhood," said James Linsley, president of GID Development Group, in a press release. Waterline Square will occupy the final large empty lot on Riverside Park South, which stretches from 72nd to 59th Street. The towers' luxury condominiums will be accompanied by "100,000 square feet of best-in-class sports, leisure, and lifestyle amenities, as well as a beautifully landscaped park and open spaces spanning nearly 3 acres," according to the press release. The new park will contain "a playground, fountains, and waterfalls." Construction actually began on Waterline Square in 2018 but this appears to be the first major release of the project's details and renderings. For more details, see the development's website here.
A luxury housing development in Nevada has started construction on the Lake|Flato-designed "Inspiration Home," one of seven homes in the new development designed by renowned architects to give "design inspiration" to future residents. ASCAYA is carved out of the hilly volcanic rock of the McCullough Range in Henderson, and is arranged so each lot has a view of the city and surrounding mountains. Its elevation at the highest point is 3,000 feet, and the remaining spots are sought-after: One of its 313 lots coming in at just a little over an acre recently sold for $2.6 million. Lake|Flato's inspiration home is a single story and measures 9,000 square feet, with four bedrooms and a four-car garage in addition to a large living space. The master bedroom opens into a private patio aimed at nearby Las Vegas. Sustainability and the landscape are integrated into the design of the house. Its walls are made of rammed earth, which blends into the surrounding rock as well as providing great insulation for the location's hot climate. The main living space also opens up into an outdoor courtyard. This is the third of seven inspiration homes to break ground on the site. Others were designed by Swaback Partners, SB Architects, Hoogland Architecture, Marmol Radziner, and Backen, Gillam, & Kroeger. Richard Meier, Pritzker Prize–winning designer of the Getty Center, contributed one of his signature all-white homes. Lake|Flato's philosophy of blending the house into its desert surroundings is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's own home and school in the desert, Taliesin West. When building the compound in Scottsdale, Arizona, he was mindful of integrating the house into the rocky landscape to the point of literally building its walls with local rocks. John Sather of Swaback Partners is a graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. All these homes are in a style that could be described as "desert contemporary," setting the tone for architects who will design buildings for the development later on. Adding to that aesthetic is a luxury clubhouse designed by Swaback Partners that will include a fitness center, spa, and pool.
Once a week, Richard Meier can be found at his model museum in the expansive Mana Contemporary arts complex in Jersey City. This is where he comes to work on collages, collaborate with screenprinter Gary Lichtenstein, and visit with his daughter Ana, who runs a furniture showroom next door. https://vimeo.com/131434676 The 15,000-square-foot Richard Meier Model Museum is filled with some 300 models of the architect’s work—from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to his proposal for the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. The museum also includes exhibition space for Meier’s sculptural work and a library with 1,000 books and magazines from his personal collection. The Architect’s Newspaper recently toured Mana Contemporary (a former tobacco factory) with its founder and director Eugene Lemay, and sat down with Meier himself to learn about the model museum and how his design process has changed over the years. More from our conversation with the architect is posted below. AN: Describe your typical day at the model museum. Richard Meier: First I have some coffee and sometimes I read the newspaper and then I start working on collages. I come out here—it’s nice and peaceful and quiet. It is very different from working in the office. Next door is Gary Lichtenstein’s studio—he is a print maker—and I make prints with Gary. We do things together that would not be possible if we did not have this space. Today, so much of architecture and design work happens on computers. To you, what is the importance of craftsmanship, drawing, and model making in a digital age? One augments the other. All of our drawings are done on a computer, but that does not mean that models are not also helpful. We continue to make models of every project as part of the process. What do you hope to do next? If I had my druthers, I would do more things in New York. It is a lot easier to get together, to meet, to talk about what we are doing. But today things happen and you never know where the next project might be coming from. Anything else people should know about the model museum or Mana Contemporary? It is an amazing sort of area. Within the building, there is a dance company, there are other artists, it is sort of a place to visit in the same way people visit galleries in SoHo or Chelsea. It is nice and quiet, and for me just a great place to work outside of the office. I can do things here that I would not be able to do in the office.
For Enclos' Alex Barmas, true innovation in facade design and fabrication is about more than the latest technological bells and whistles. Rather, it is about exercising creativity despite the restrictions posed by tight budgets, compressed timelines, and aggressive real estate markets. At Facades+ NYC later this month, Barmas will moderate a conversation on implementing innovation with AEC industry leaders including Cutler Anderson Architects' Jim Cutler, Arup's Tali Mejicovsky, Michael Stein, of Schlaich Bergermann & Partner, and Richard Meier & Partners' Vivian Lee. "My intention is to get the panelists talking about the possibilities of producing truly fantastic architecture while constrained by very real-world budgets and schedules," said Barmas. "They have all worked on projects where an intelligent and responsive approach to design, and an intelligence about materials and tectonics have allowed them to deliver great projects under tight constraints. The panel will focus on the commitment and perseverance required to execute and deliver such projects." New York is a hotbed of facade innovation exactly because of the particular constraints at play there, said Barmas. In much of the United States, he explained, the litigious nature of the building design and construction market tends to discourage integrated project deliver. But "the New York market is actually a counterbalance to this. Due to the complexity of building projects, compressed construction schedules, and the need for coordination throughout the design and construction process, projects must take on a more holistic design mentality." At the same time, said Barmas, the drive to build taller and faster for the top of the market "has meant that there are some very interesting building envelopes either recently built, or under construction." As a case in point, he cited BIG's 625 West 57th Street (W57), calling it "a fantastic example of a really interesting curtain wall." All of this is not to say that new technology is not compelling—especially when made a part of built projects. "I'm very excited about the continuing integration of sensors, actuators, and other electrical components with the building envelope to create active and responsive facades," said Barmas. "This seems to be turning into a virtuous cycle where integrated systems are becoming more robust, system integration is improving, and all the parties to a building project are becoming more comfortable implementing these systems. System intelligence and integration enable us to achieve better performance with traditional building envelope components." To hear more from Barmas and panelists on bringing facades innovations to fruition, register today for Facades+ NYC. More information, including a complete symposium agenda, is available online.
Richard Meier has returned to his roots with the opening of his latest project in the heart of downtown Newark, New Jersey. Government officials gathered Thursday to cut the ribbon on the first phase of a mixed-use development called Teachers Village. The 90,000 square foot structure is now home to two charter schools, with retail planned for the ground floor. The sprawling development—part of of revitalization program to revive downtown—will consist of retail space, a daycare center, three charter schools, and 200 apartment units for teachers. The Newark-born architect was tapped to design five of the eight buildings in the complex with KSS Architects in charge of the remaining three. "Project Teachers Village was conceived and started in 2008," said Vivian Lee, project manager at Richard Meier & Partners. "The original context of this area was mostly parking lots and a lot of abandoned buildings, and Ron [Beit] really had a vision to revitalize this part of downtown Newark and provide housing as well as retail to really liven up this part of the city." AN took a tour of the four-story, brick-and-metal-clad building, which is a departure from Meier's signature glass and stark-white buildings. "From early on the project we understood that this is not the typical project that our office does," said Remy Bertin, project architect. "We really wanted to integrate it into the fabric of Newark—not just in plan, not just in making things in line, but also through the material. Newark is the brick city. It is a very vernacular material for the city traditionally." The firm worked closely with a mason to create a sawtooth brick design on the facade. While Meier & Partners experimented with a new palette of materials, they still made light a priority in the overall design scheme. "In keeping with Richard Meier's design philosophy, we wanted to bring in a lot of natural light, and obviously it promotes learning," said Lee. Bertin said that zoning, specifically the height limits for buildings in the area, presented initial challenges to the design. "When we were designing the school, the big issue that we were dealing with was all the programs, all the schools that were in the space," said Bertin. "We really wanted to create a sense of inter-connectivity with public spaces within the building even though we had so much to pack into a 60 foot package that limited us."