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KKB Talk: Chatting with architect Richard Meier

richard meier

richard meier Photo Credit: Richard Meier (Ingrid von Kruse)

The MANA museum in Jersey City is a new cultural center and destination for artists.

“Remember what we did with the Meatpacking area? Well, we are going to do it here with art at MANA,” said Moishe Mana as we recently watched dancers perform an Armitage-inspired presentation.

And one of the most influential architects of the 21st century, Richard Meier, has moved his models from Long Island City to MANA.

Known for his modern design and iconic museums, homes and even the proposal for the Twin Towers, Meier’s extensive scope of work is available for anyone to view. With the new model museum in place at MANA, students and enthusiasts can see Meier’s work, from the intricate furniture models he created for Avery Fisher Hall’s proposal to the enormous and complicated model of his acclaimed Getty Museum in Los Angeles. He even has his collection of collages and sculptures that are made from the scraps of the models on display.

Everything has a function for Meier. During the opening in Jersey City, Meier took us on a private tour of his model museum.

Why keep all the models?
Someone else keeps the buildings.

What is the model museum?
It is an art/architecture library.

Why did you decide to move from Long Island City to MANA?
We needed more space for all the models. There are still a lot in my office. Now there is room to grow. We have collages, sculptures, models, study for skylights, interiors proposals, [My daughter] Ana’s furniture and journals and art books are here for anyone to see and learn from.

What’s the most difficult part of creating a model?
Creating the models takes over two months and you need a lot of patience.

You are from Newark, N.J., so you are back to your roots.
Richard Serra is around the corner. It’s a great area.

How did you get the models here?
We had to take the roof off the building ... for they were too big to remove. Some of the models are on the open shelves and the bigger ones are on the floor with rollers.

What was your inspiration for the Twin Towers proposal?
I wanted to create a piazza as a gathering place and the gardens are the shadows of the World Trade Center.

Why is the Getty Museum model left in natural wood and not white?
The wood for the model is left in its natural habitat.

What are the sculptures and wall pieces made from?
They are steel made from the scraps and discarded pieces from the Getty Museum model.

Would you say the Getty Museum was your most complicated to design?
Yes, because there are seven different entities and seven different personalities and seven different clients.

Do you have any advice on how to be you?
I was born that way.

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