Friday, September 25, 2015

An analysis of Architectural Elements of Architect Richard Meier’s Buildings

By Kristina Shrestha

During our Comprehensive Design Studio, I had researched about the beach houses which is situated in Jesolo, Lido, Italy. The building was designed by famous Architect Richard Meier. Richard Meier was born in October 12. 1934. He won Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1984 [1]. The first thing that came in to my mind when I thought about him was the white color of his buildings. I wanted to know about uniqueness of his design that separates him from hundreds of other architects. Despite using similar elements in buildings like ramps, windows, louvers like other architects do, his designs are still extraordinary.
With the quest to get the answer, I researched further and started analyzing his designs and started browsing through the pictures of his buildings. I found out that he used different elements according to building type, style of the building, and site. His buildings have many characteristics that enhances his design. One of the major elements is use of openings for light. There is also predominant use of mass and void concept. It can be seen in some of his buildings as well as in elevation of some buildings. It creates the effect of lightness in his building. His buildings have large windows in living spaces so that the client can have maximum daylight and beautiful view as well. He uses louvers in the building to protect from sunlight. He used lightweight louvers that are seamless and this element is not only functional but aesthetically pleasing as well. The other striking feature of his designs are the use of ramps. He used ramps that have seamless finishing.
Now, I will give examples of the buildings which has beautiful lighting, louvers and the use of mass and void concept.

Jubilee Church

“Jubilee Church (La Chiesa del Dio Padre Mesericordioso), conceived as part of Pope John Paul II’s millennium initiative to rejuvenate parish life within Italy” [2]. It is located in central Italy. It is white in color with curve walls. There is the use of glass to separate the walls. The interior space has sitting areas. The interior space is bright and has adequate amount of light. There is an interesting pattern of light in interior space. The light changes the interior space in different time of a day.

United States Courthouse, San Diego
The United States Courthouse is located in San Diego. The buildings consists of a circular base and one elegant slender 16 storied building. The circular part of building is made up of large glass windows and it is enclosed in a mass like louvers. ‘The tower is clad in wafer like layers of terra cotta and glass composed in response to the program and orientation.’ [3] The louvers gives the feeling on lightness in the building.

The Getty Center
The Getty Center is located at Los Angeles, California.  This center is the part of Getty Museum and Getty Trust. It was completed in Dec 16, 1997 [4]. The concept of mass and void can be seen in this building. The circular building has walls like a mass and has windows which acts like a void. Also, the image shows the circular wall has void. Similarly, the concept of mass and void can be seen in shading device of Getty center too.  The interplay of mass and void has been used throughout the buildings.

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