1988 - Richard Meier 1934 –

J Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles

Designer: Richard Meier & Partners
Copyright: Danielle Tinero/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (2000)

Richard Meier is well known for his white architecture. He has been awarded major commissions in the US and Europe including courthouses, city halls, museums, corporate headquarters, housing and private residences. Some of his best-known projects include The Getty Center in Los Angeles, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Frankfurt Museum for Decorative Arts in Germany, the Canal Plus Television Headquarters in Paris, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, and the Atheneum in New Harmony, Indiana.


Meier was born in Newark, New Jersey and studied at Cornell University before working for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill briefly, then for Marcel Breuer, prior to starting his own practice in New York in 1963. Known as one of The New York Five in 1972, his commission of the Getty Center in Los Angeles catapulted him to fame.


Much of Meier's work builds on the work of architects of the early to mid-20th century, especially that of the early Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Designer: Meier, Richard (1934-)
Copyright: Alastair Hunter/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1983)


Peter Cook, one of the Gold Medal Jury wrote in the RIBA Journal at the time of the award: ‘The celebration of white architecture (is) an antidote to the witlessness and meanness of prissy pink pediments and the humdrum repetition of striped brickwork. The celebration of white architecture nonetheless brings with it both attraction and unease. It forces us back on to the wall of fundamentals without those scintillating decoys of colour or embossed surfaces. There is the cartographic quality that forces our immediate assessment of placement and edge, a perfect edge. There is no fudge of string, cill, cove, skirting or pigment and therefore the need for precision. Eye, experience and compositional nous are Meier’s strengths.'