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Richard Meier - The problem with organic architecture (11/36)

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To listen to more of Richard Meier’s stories, go to the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVV0r6CmEsFzmNPmAOyyFrOfcKeMl-2Wv Born in 1934, the prominent American architect Richard Meier is best known for the Getty Centre in Los Angeles. In all his work he refuses to bend to the trends of modern architecture. He has won many awards including the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, considered the field's highest honor. [Listener: Massimo Vignelli] TRANSCRIPT: Architecture is about making of space. It’s about how you show what... how you create places that people move through and live in, and work in and exist in. And going back to the early work and in some ways, my parents' house was very much influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. I’d been to Fallingwater, you know, the most extraordinary building in the world. I mean, it was nothing like it and Frank Lloyd... and Frank Lloyd Wright... as a student I’d read everything that he’d ever written and you know, you become enamoured with Wright, no matter. You can’t help it. And when I did my parents' house, I had brick walls which began in the living room and then extended out into the garden. It seemed to me that this was in keeping with Wright’s notion of the extension of space, you know, from interior to exterior. And the walls would then become garden walls and the interior walls would become elements which defined the living room, a dining room and bedroom spaces. Each space then opened out to a garden... these walls and when the house was all finished, I looked at it and you know, I liked it but I said, you know, interior is different from exterior. The minute you put up a glass membrane that wall, which is on the inside, doesn’t weather and that wall which is on the outside does weather. You know, moss grows on the brick. It changes color slightly. The outside is not the same as the inside and this notion of organic architecture although it sounds wonderful, is wrong. It can work in certain climates, you know, perhaps in Southern California but in the Northeast, you have to protect the materials. The wood, which you cut down and use as a building material is no longer organic, the tree is dead. You have to protect that wood. You can protect it by staining it or by painting it, so after that I said, you know, architecture is manmade. That which is organic is around us, the changing light of the day, the trees, the... that’s organic, so there’s a relationship between what’s manmade and what’s organic. And as an architect, I can only deal with that which is manmade and therefore the painting of white to show that it’s manmade, the articulation of space. The whiteness in the way it shows the difference between opacity and transparency, between planar surfaces and linear surfaces are all part of, sort of, the philosophy that began, say, with the Smith house and then developed over the years.
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