Only a month-and-a-half after a colorful Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown-designed house in Shadyside, Pittsburgh was put up for sale, AN has learned that the new owner plans on tearing it down. The Abrams House, commissioned by Irving and Betty Abrams and completed in 1979, is a striking example of Venturi’s playful postmodernist style. One-half of the roof curves and swoops like a cresting wave over the more traditionally-shaped rectangular portion, with a 20-foot-high vaulted ceiling below. The house’s front facade is capped with a window arrangement that resembles both a ship’s wheel as well as the rising sun and is accentuated with green-and-white “rays” emanating from the window assembly. A ribbon window wraps around the house and illuminates the interior, allowing the primary colors used everywhere from the soffits to the furniture to stand out. A mural by Roy Lichtenstein in the living room accentuates the house’s pop art aesthetic. Other than the colorful flourishes, the Abrams House is particularly notable for its location; the house is surrounded by midcentury work from well-known architects, including the Frank House by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and the Giovannitti House by Richard Meier. The two-bed, two-and-a-half bath was put up for sale in mid-June of this year for $1.1 million, and the new buyer, Bill Snyder, closed on the building on July 20. Preservationists had briefly hoped that Snyder, who also owns the Giovannitti House, would restore the building, but a demolition permit was filed on July 23. Pittsburgh requires a 15-day wait period between the filing of a demolition permit and the start of work, but an anonymous source has informed AN that the interior of the house has already been gutted. The large Lichtenstein piece has been covered and removed, either causing or revealing significant degradation in the wall behind, and fixtures throughout the house have been cleared out. Snyder had purchased the Giovannitti House from its original owners, Frank and Colleen Giovannitti, in 2017 and is currently restoring the exterior of the home to its original condition. With the demolition of the Abrams House, the entire lot may become a landscaped addition to complement Meier’s building. Brittany Reilly, a board member at the nonprofit Preservation Pittsburgh, has been trying to raise awareness of the house. According to Reilly, the home is a unique piece of architecture for Pittsburgh in a neighborhood full of architecturally-significant houses. The problem? The Abrams House isn’t visible from the street, and Reilly believes that seclusion has led the public to overlook it. The next step for preservationists is to “respectfully” drum up community attention to the demolition. Preservation Pittsburgh has reached out to VSBA Architects & Planners, who were unaware of the demolition, as well as other Pittsburgh-based preservation groups, and is currently trying to establish a dialogue with Snyder. Update: After this story was originally published, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) has been working to mount an individual landmark nomination with the Historic Review Commission, planning commission and Pittsburgh City Council before the 15 day period elapses. Denise Scott Brown expressed her displeasure with the demolition reached for comment by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Why does he need to do that? Why doesn’t he save it,” said Brown. “This is not very honorable.” AN will follow this story up as more details become available.
Posts tagged with "Richard Meier":
Bob Gatje, an architect who served as a partner of two AIA Gold Medalists and whose work is to be found in half a dozen countries, died on April 1st, 2018 in New York City. He was 90. The cause was a stroke according to Susan R. Witter, his companion and partner of 35 years. Bob worked with Marcel Breuer and Richard Meier as well as his own partnership, Gatje Papachristou Smith, during a career of over 50 years, largely overseas. He is best known for his role in the design of two "monuments of French Modern architecture," IBM’s La Gaude Research Center, and the ski town of Flaine. In the U.S., he was responsible for the award-winning Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Bob was president of its New York chapter from 1975 to 1976. As a student, Bob broke academic records at Brooklyn Tech and Cornell University, where he received his B. Arch in 1951. He served in the U.S. Corps of Engineers and studied at Deep Springs College, an institution to which he returned as Trustee and received its medal in 2008. He was a Fulbright scholar at the Architectural Association (AA) in London from 1951 to 1952, president of Telluride Association, and Trustee of the New York Hall of Science and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. I first met Bob at Marcel Breuer’s office in 1960, which in those days, along with Ed Barnes and Philip Johnson's offices, was the place for a young, ambitious architect to work. The office was right above Schrafft’s at 57th Street and 3rd Avenue. Bob and his partners ran the office. Breuer or Lajos, pronounced ‘Laiko’, was not always easily understood, and was often away. Bob was the steady hand in the office, forever patient and in good spirits. I sat between Richard Meier and Paul Korelick, who went on to win the Dublin Library Competition, while in the office. Bob and Breuer made a great team. Bob had an excellent handle on design, with a strong passion for the visual product. His graphic work, as well as the several books he wrote on design, showed this. He was the author of Marcel Breuer: A Memoir, co-written with I.M. Pei, and "Great Public Squares: An Architect's Selection," a book that sets international standards for urban space. We remained good friends over the years, as he did with so many others who worked with him over the years. His friendships reached out to many, even outside the world of design. An evening at the Gatje/Witter household was always a broadening experience.
Four more women have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Richard Meier, adding to the five who already came forward in a March 13 report by The New York Times. All four are former employees of the firm, one of whom told the paper that she reached a settlement with the company for $25,000 in 1992 after Meier threw himself on top of her. Beyond a recounting of their experiences with Meier in the office and at his Upper East Side home, the latest news focuses on the firm itself and a culture where, according to many employees, Meier's behavior towards women was an open secret that no one took any action to address. Responding to the earlier allegations, Richard Meier announced a six-month leave from the office and released an apology prefaced by the words, "While our recollections may differ," which some readers called a non-apology. The firm's latest statement to the Times similarly avoided directly engaging with the allegations, instead distancing them as decade-old, "personal" allegations that should not sully the reputation of the firm:
“The allegations involving Richard Meier, the most recent of which were nearly a decade old, do not reflect the ethos and culture of the firm, and it would be irresponsible to allow these personal allegations to tarnish the company.”But it is the firm's senior management who really takes the cake in demonstrating how the firm may have viewed Meier's alleged misconduct. A senior associate who was with the firm for 20 years, and who was told about Meier's inappropriate touching of an employee by the woman herself, admitted to the Times,
“It’s not something that was a secret."In response to the allegations, Robert Gatje, one of Meier's former partners, stated:
“That was 25 years ago. Things were a lot different back then.”A former partner, Gunter R. Standke, who worked at the firm for 12 years and told the paper he knew Meier "was attracted to young women" and invited them to leave the office with him at the end of the workday, explained his inaction to the Times:
“I had all the European projects...I had no time to watch what Mr. Meier was doing.”Yikes.
In a sign of how the #metoo movement is reverberating across the field of architecture, today AIA New York (AIANY) announced that it would be stripping recent awards from Richard Meier and Peter Marino, two New York City architects accused of sexual misconduct. The AIANY Board of Directors rescinded Meier and Marino’s 2018 Design Awards. Meier’s serial harassment—as well as an alleged assault—were exposed in a New York Times story last week. Though Marino’s conduct hasn’t been covered extensively in the media, the architect is facing a harassment suit. AIANY Executive Director Benjamin Prosky explained the board’s reasoning in a short statement. “Our decision does not speak to the design quality of the projects or the contributions from the respective firms’ design teams. Rather we cannot in good conscience confer these awards under these circumstances.” The 2018 award winners, minus Marino and Meier, were announced in January, and will be fêted at an April luncheon. Peter Marino Architect was expected to accept a Merit Award for the Seagram Building’s Lobster Club restaurant, while Richard Meier & Partners Architects was to be honored with the same for its work on the Leblon Offices in Rio de Janeiro. There were 32 (now 30) award winners in all. The AIANY is far from the only professional organization to distance themselves from Meier following the Times report. Ben Derbyshire, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has condemned Meier's behavior (he was honored with the association's Gold Medal in 1988), while AIA National stated it was "deeply troubled" by the allegations. In a statement, AIA president Carl Elefante, FAIA, reiterated the organization's stance against sexual harassment. “AIA stands by a set of values that guide us as a profession and a Code of Ethics that define standards of behavior for our members. Sexual harassment is not only illegal, it flies in the face of our values and ethics,” said Elefante. “We are deeply troubled by the allegations in The New York Times today, and believe that sexual harassment—in any form and in any workplace—should not be tolerated and must be addressed swiftly and forcefully.” Peter Marino Architect has provided the following statement to AN in response: "PMA is committed to eliminating harassment from the workplace as is any other member of AIA New York. But AIA's new policy goes too far. According to AIANY's new policy, if there is any allegation pending - regardless of merit - AIANY bars a member from being honored. In the case of Peter Marino, had AIANY just read the public record, it would have learned that PMA has disputed the sole hostile work environment claim against the firm, a claim raised by a claimant who quit her PMA job and is trying to use the courts to have her employment reinstated. In fact a pending motion seeks sanctions against the claimant, who has been countersued by PMA for malfeasance and insurance fraud. That dispute with a former PMA employee bears no resemblance to the type of misconduct that has garnered much recent public attention. Nor does it merit any public rebuke from the AIA or any other professional colleague."
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.
When Frank Stella moved to New York in 1958 he frequented the Cedar Tavern, a University Place hangout of the Abstract Expressionists and Beat writers. At the same time, he met Richard Meier, and he agreed to let the young architect draw and paint in his painting studio while he was at the tavern. This studio share began a nearly sixty-year friendship between the two that has lasted to this day. A small but captivating exhibition, Richard Meier And Frank Stella: Space And Form documents this friendship and traces their professional collaboration. The exhibition was organized and curated by Terence Riley and is currently on view at the Meier Gallery, a small white box exhibition space in The Surf Club, the architect’s new residential building in Miami Beach, Florida. Riley begins the exhibition with a reproduced rendering of a jointly designed water fountain and public sculpture submitted for a 1963 Philadelphia competition. This project was never built, but Riley makes the point that Meier, at his own insistence, continued to place Stella wall reliefs, paintings, or sculptures in his presentation renderings, even though clients never purchased the works along with the completed building. Later, Stella took up residence in Meier-designed apartment, and the architect hung his friend’s work in prominent spots in both his office and home. They did collaborate on the Giovannitti family home in Pittsburg where Meier’s rigid white geometric facade included a series of Stella designs that look like an architect’s French curve. Another project, Meier’s 2000 Church of the Year sketch for Rome, clearly shows the influence of Stella’s abstract drawings. Riley focuses on their years-long dialogue with displays of photographs of joint projects, drawings, collages and a model of a Stella museum proposal. A black maquette by Stella is, Riley claims, a preparatory object that might be a museum. The model is more sculpture than finished building, but is it a physical proposal? “That is the $64,000 question,” Riley said. “Frank refers to it as a sculpture and architecture interchangeably. I think, as a maker, he sees things incredibly fluidly until it becomes something.” The exhibit has several of Meier’s architecturally-themed collages and several fuzzy photographs of old renderings of building projects, but never mind the lack of archival material in this show: what matters is Riley’s commitment to showing how the two masters have influenced each other throughout their careers. The small exhibit was a highlight of the recent Art Basel and Design Miami week, and it will remain open at the Surf Cub through March 4, 2018. Richard Meier And Frank Stella: Space And Form The Meier Gallery at the Surf Club 9011 Collins Avenue, Miami Through March 4, 2018 More information is available here.
At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Richard Meier & Partners unveiled a dual pedestrian and vehicular bridge in Alessandria, Italy, suspended from an enormous white steel arc. Sleek, Richard. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZgzzhAAhEe/?taken-by=richardmeierpartners Adjaye Associates released new, more detailed renderings for the new home of the Studio Museum in Harlem this week – along with this gorgeous model (via Field Condition). The five-story building block structure will increase the museum's space by 115 percent. It will break ground next year. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZg5koFFWWi/?taken-by=field_condition Not to over-saturate your feed with Iwan Baan, but he's just ... so good at what he does. Here, an aerial of BIG's big new LEGO House in Billund, Denmark – a terraced, colorful playground for adults and children alike. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZl7egsBk2t/?taken-by=iwanbaan Any excuse for a garden wall. Steven Holl Architects here tried a mock-up vertical sedum for the Kennedy Center expansion. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZWMirrAprB/?taken-by=stevenhollarchitects You thought you could escape Thomas Heatherwick for a second – but here he is again, haunting your weekend. The Heatherwick-designed Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa opened in Cape Town last week, featuring immense sections cut out of concrete grain silos to form a central atrium. We demand receipts. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZV0CXohcx9/?taken-by=zeitzmocaa Finally, from Mexico City-based architect Michael Rojkind and his firm Rojkind Arquitectos, a sobering view of the future of reconstruction needed in the aftermath of the city's most recent earthquakes. He will be at a MAS Context fundraiser in Chicago to provide an update from Mexico City. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZha3qXF0M_/?taken-by=rojkindarquitectos That’s it for today, hashtag archilovers and quote-on-quote gallerinas. See you next week for more drama.
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.
When we saw the "Rare Albino Graves" proposal for Miami surface last year, one wonders if perhaps Richard Meier too had his eyes on bucking his own trademark color palette. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect did offer some explanation as to why his design for 685 First Avenue—his firm's tallest residential building in New York—dons a "Terminator-black" facade. “We asked ourselves, can formal ideas and the philosophy of lightness and transparency, the interplay of natural light and shadow with forms and spaces, be reinterpreted in the precise opposite—white being all colors and black the absence of color?” said Meier in a press release. “Our perspective continues to evolve, but our intuition and intention remain the same—to make architecture that evokes passion and emotion, lifts the spirit, and is executed perfectly." Developer Sheldon Solow has owned this site since the turn of the century, but plans have been a long time coming. Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) initially worked on a masterplan for the five-acre site in 2008 which involved an office block, six residential towers, and public parks. Some of that land had since been sold off by Solow and now construction has finally started on the site (initial exterior renders were revealed in May earlier this year). Back then, the Wall Street Journal was far from complimentary in describing Meier's work as “a plain rectangular slab." "The new building, except for its color, is vintage Meier inside and out, a polished specimen of neo-Modernist simplicity.” Sources close to AN also poured scorn: “A cheap lighter.” “Nice gap tooth.” “Looks like they hired no one to design it.” “Should have stuck to white.” The 556-unit tower will rise to approximately 460 feet (42 stories). 408 of these units will be available to rent while the remaining 148 will be condos. This programming is expressed through 685 First Avenue's facade with a double-height divider—emulative of a rogue Tetris piece—that can be found on the 27th floor. Above that gap is the project's 148 condos, of which 69 will provide balconies and views of Midtown Manhattan. Renders of these luxurious interiors can be seen in the gallery above. Along with the living units, amenities include specific rooms for games, yoga, work (on laptops/tablets), dining, as well as a children's play area and a 70-foot swimming pool and fitness center. These will be located on the building's second floor, while at ground level, residents at the public will have access to retail services.