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This essay is in relation to RICHARD MEIER architecture work that effectively constructs the buildings that are often white in colour. He is also known for his fine-tunings, innovations, inexorable own designs philosophy. This essay effectively identifies the architecture of the twentieth century. It contributes to the creation of the capability of reflexive thinking. It assesses the work of the artist and architect popularly known as Richard Meier in the period of 20th century. In this essay, his two famous architecture works that are Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (1987-1995) and The Hague City Hall (1986-1995) will be discussed. The comparison of these destinations will be performed in order to analyse their differences for the purpose of enhancing understanding of the architecture, planning and development of the architect’s work. In conclusion, the approaches and notions of Richard Meier to the planning, materials, culture and theory in his work will be discussed and considered for the evaluation.

Architectural Development in the Twentieth Century

The architectural development in the 1920s and 1930s is known as International Style which laid emphasis on volume over mass, the utilisation of the lightweight elements, lacking the use of colours and the enhanced use of glass and flat surfaces. “The integration of cultural patterns with the technological advancement enhanced the structural form of the buildings”.

The significance of the simplicity, clarity is presented in the designing in order to construct the buildings that have the orientation as per the usability of the visitors. In the 20th century, the great change and variation have come in the architectural style of the development. The modernisation in the architectural design and development of the infrastructure enhances its beauty and significance”. The emphasis on the balance in the styling of the architecture of the building is started with this 20th century.

“The theory of architectural involves the act thinking, conferring and writing related to the architecture”. The practises of the leading architects across the globe from the worldwide are included in the theory of architectural.

The design styles have been changed with the arrival of realism. The modernisation in the architectural development is started with the twentieth century. It has many theorists and supporters. 

Richard Meier introduces a different concept of architectural styling with the high up usage of the white colour. The use of advanced technology in its architectural creation and design enhances the functions of the building which is user-oriented.

“The principal concerns of the Meier for the architecture design include program and site, inclusion and configuration, movement and entry”. The emphasis is on the light in case of the architecture design of the Richard Meier. “The adoption of the style of other architects improvises his design patterns. The sharp contrast is provided to the natural setting”.

Richard Meier’s Architect work

Richard Meier is an American artist and architect born in the year 1934, New Jersey, U.S. The structure developed by him has aspects of geometric clarity and order. There are characterized by a contrast between the light-filled. The formal beauty and purity in its design support in the enhancement of his prestige. The awardslike Pritzker Prize (1984) and AIA Gold Medal (1997) have been rewarded to him for his enticing and extraordinary architect work. The white colour that has been chosen for his infrastructural development depicts the outstanding usage of this colour.

The focus is on the location, colour and light in case of the architectural development by the Richard Meier. These basic elements are further divided into the smaller form from which the potentials are effectively extracted. “[6]The division of the light into the simpler form is the philosophical foundation stone of architecture”. He often connects the structure to the surrounding. The different art studios, performance spaces, Museums and more structures are developed by the Richard Meier. The aesthetic architectural design which is constantly in white colour contributes to the attraction of visitors.

In the year 1972, his identification is the one of The New York Five which is a group of newest and modernists architects. “[7]In the year 1997, the Getty Centre is an enormous museum complex in Los Angeles, California is opened propelled his esteem into the mainstream”. He believes in an idea that the architecture is the mother of arts that effectively makes the connection between the present and the past. The fame of the Meier is established as he had contributed to the growth of the contemporary American Architecture. He has mastered the light, space and volume. He has adopted efficient strategy to design and effective styles depending upon the place and location. The building of the Richard Meier constitutes rectilinear essentials in his trademark white metal board and key essentials expressed in a white render. 

The Museum of Decorative Arts (1979–85), the City Hall and Library (1986–95), the High Museum of Art (1980–83), the Museum of Contemporary Art (1987–95) and more are some of the structural and architectural development of the Richard Meier in the twentieth century. The structures of this architect are often interposed by curving ramps and railings. The white surfaces of the inside support in the effective reflection of the lights which illuminates the halls, galleries and museums. “In the midst of the twentieth century, the attraction is the Getty Centre which is constructed of honey-coloured travertine balanced by aluminium sheets”. Richard Meier researches the contrast between the public and private galleries. The effects of lights are effectively discovered by the architectural style of the Meier. He has won several rewards for his architectural work by the different architectural alliances like American Institute of Architects (AIA) and more.

Variations in the work of Richard Meier with the changing period

“With the changing period and growth in technology, the Richard Meier changed his focus and laid his attention towards resolving the issues of sustainability”. He started adopting advanced technology in order to make its structure more functional and operational. The Museums are the best examples of its architectural design that has changed with the changing era. The effective reflection of light is possible with the colour white, this concept of physics was effectively utilised by the Richard Meier. With the changing time, the design patterns changed in the architectural development and along with this the usage of material also gets changed.

The shifts and variations in the development process of architecture are affirmative as the utilisation of technology enhances the convenience and flexibilities of the users/visitors. “The possible reasons for the variations include the inclusion of advanced technology in the field of architectural development”. The civilisation is another purpose of making variations in the process of development of the buildings. The changing culture and enhancement in the standard of living lead to the change in the architectural development.

Materials utilisation and planning phases

The first and foremost building of the Germany which is the Museum of Applied Art was built by the Richard Meier. Usage of white colour in his designs is the most common in his designs. “The usage of stone, tons of travertine sheets and other materials supports in enhancing the structural design of Richard's artworks”. The materials chosen for the development purpose by the Richard Meier are resistant to weathering and highly reflective. He utilises the metal plane system for the construction purpose and the shades of white colour for the maximum reflection of light. “He had started using the metal, concrete and panels in the 20th century in order to effectively express the 3-D grid arrangement of this structure”.

The planning phases of his architectural development of the Museums and other buildings are as follows:

  1. Determination of the requirements and intended utilisation of the architectural development.
  2. Effectively determine the scope of the building that needs to be constructed.
  3. The support for the architectural development is determined.
  4. Correlation of the architecture data and effective analysis of the surrounding.
  5. The over-ground bridge was constructed earlier and now the tunnels are used for connecting the Museums with the transportation system.
  6. The effective building up of the lane or path or the visitors to enter into the building.

Cultural and Political factors impacts on architectural development

The civilization leads to the progression in culture and tradition. It impacts on the development of architecture. The varied changes in the policies and approaches of the government impact on the design and development of the building. “The conflicts among the people due to the cultural and political issues results in the destruction and devastation of the architectural building”. The threats of political rules and regulation impact on Meier's process of development. The discrimination among people on the basis of cast, creed and culture, the lack of education and other factors influence a lot on the structural and architectural development. The economic and social development of the location effects on the designing of architecture. “The resource planning of the Richard Meier for the development of the architecture is influenced by the political propaganda”. It affects the performance and effectively meeting up of the needs of the architectural development.

Architectural development and its analysis

Modern architecture or Modernist architecture is a stint applied for the collection of sophistication of the architecture which was ascended in the first half of the 20th Century and turn out to be prevailing after WWII. The features of 20th-century architecture embrace no ornamentation, an insurgency on the traditional styles, man-made materials and factory made parts. The modern century architecture was a prevailing architectural style primarily for commercial buildings and institutions in 1980s.

Richard Meier is an American architect whose projects make a practice of white color prominently. He has designed many buildings which embrace Getty Center and The Hague city hall. The Getty Center and Hague Hall are the prime projects which were accomplished by Richard Meier. Getty Center is a campus that incorporates museum preservation programs, libraries and administrative offices along with an art gallery which is exposed to the community. The partial building of the Getty center is beneath the ground just because of the height restrictions and three storeys are above the ground as well. Richard Meier used curvilinear design elements for the project. “Materials used for the project are Beige Coloured travertine stone from Italy, enamel clad aluminium sections and extensive pieces of glass”. The architecture of Getty Center is imminent and still, it is one of the prevailing architectures in the world. Hague City Hall is also one of the prominent works done by Meier. It is the only project of Netherlands endowed with the perfect canvas for the blocks of red, blue, yellow and black lines.  Richard Meier was considered as one of the New York Five, which was a group of advocates of new modern architecture.


The architectural theory is an act of judging, conversing & inscribing in relation to the architecture. Every architect has their own set of characteristics and features. The progression of “Richard Meier Architecture acquires its own set of patterns whose features embraces: Form, Colours, Materials, Lighting”.  Richard's architectural pattern strictly trails these features to ensure the best. Some of the basic things which can be noted in Meier's architectural works are Basic Shapes, Using Grid visually & physically, Layering, Openness, White colours (Internal & External), White Alucobond with Glass and Lightening.

Characteristic features and philosophy

According to Meier, there are some factors that connect s a building to its environment, from which one or more among the 10 factors must be present to make a space into a place. The first among the ten factors would be the one which causes the mode of being. The second factor should highlight the occurrence of the building as an autonomous object. The third factor focuses the existence of building in the given environment.  The fourth factor should connect the building to its past. The fifth factor should promote the fantasy and play. The Sixth factor articulates that, ecstatic exuberance should be encouraged. Seventh, mystery and adventure should be sensed. Eighth, People's personality should be avowed.  Ninth, there should be an ingredient that hooks up to the reality and the tenth factor is spontaneous exchanges must be facilitated. These are the 10 factors that embrace the philosophy of Richard Meier.

The characteristic features of the work done by Richard Meier embrace, Neo-Corbusier style, proportionally designed proportions, buildings with light according to the varying colour of the sky, superiority and eternalness, twice over heights and eminent designs. A symphonic array of geometric volumes which are poised of solids, voids and glazing with clogged surfaces are usually seen in the projects by Richard Meier.  Meier's architectural style was exceptional and the projects which are accomplished by him reflect the eminence of his work. He has his own set of principles and philosophies for which he works on. In the contemporary time, his works are well recognized and are a part of history.

Comparison of the architect work of Richard Meier

Architecture of Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (1987-1995)

Barcelona is in a region of Spain. His lyrical forms in the design pattern, when viewed from different angles, look perfect and outstanding. On different extent, the structure appears very similar to his other designs in different cities. The breaking of a texture of the Barcelona Museum is appropriate. The form of architecture of the Barcelona Museum is aesthetically distinctive. The artwork of the building is unique in its own manner. “The Richard Meier adopts organisational principles and spatial themes for the purpose of construction of this Museum”. It tackles the intellectual dimension and has an aim to effectively actualise abstract perceptions. The white steel is covered around the massive surface of the Museum and the exterior of the building is cast by the dramatic shadows. The composition of curved geometric shapes is also included in its structure.

The architect Richard Meier has designed the Museum of Contemporary Art which was opened in the year 1995. He has constructed a building that marvellously displays a range of contemporary artworks. It is the "pearl" among the old infrastructure and its style is relating to the modernism. It effectively permits the profusion of natural light in order to light up the art galleries. “The cause of its timeless beauty and popularity is its modern architecture that involves the process and vision of the architect Meier”. The classical design of the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary art includes the architectural drawings, sketches and different models. Its design itself provides efficient design solutions which are pragmatic in nature.
Figure 1.1: Richard Meier, Site plan of Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, 1995
(Source: Academia, 2017)

The Museum has a historic surrounding that constitutes different geometrical elements along with the rectangular white prism. The ramp hall provides a space for the interaction and communication where the boundaries are blurred. The uncompromising white colour of Barcelona Museum and its abstraction contributes to its beauty. Its design regenerated the region that has southern elevation finished.

Its entry is through a cylindrical foyer to a glazed gallery space. The tourists or visitors of the Hall use the six consecutive loft-like spaces. The essential galleries are illuminated by the lights especially from the top. At some points, the light is poured from a glass block floors in order to light up the lower floors. “The different freestanding screen walls help in enhancing its design and detailing. The sculptures elements, cut out plane are all included in its design patterns”.

Architecture of The Hague City Hall (1986-1995)

The Hague City Hall was designed in the year 1986 by the Richard Meier that is famous for its spectacular architecture. It is painted from the top to bottom in the snowy pigment. It is a perfect canvas for the world's largest Mondrain painting.

Its design represented like a big blank canvas that is all covered in the white colour. It's the worldwide largest Mondrian painting.  The rationalist design of Richard Meier is known for its minimalist structure. The prominent utilisation of the white colour, choice of materials and use of appropriate elements supports in the enhancement of structure of a building. “The purity and perfection in the structure of Hague City Hall are due to the effective use of surface and light”. The glass roofs of the Hall supports in its illumination which is fantastically reflected by the interior space of the white colour.

The popular design of the straight black outlines and smacking red, blue and yellow blocks supports in the amplification of its aspects. The size of around 800 by 250 feet has covered by The Hague city hall. The deficiency of colours makes the representation and appearance of the building simple, bright and modern. The architecture of the building is based on the concepts of user-oriented which are more functional and effective.

The styling of the artsand architecture of The Hague city hall is different from the Contemporary Art Museum as the architectural development depends upon the location and situations. The difference is in its mass, materials and development process is due to the change in the culture of destined nations of the building. The Contemporary art museum of Barcelona is in Spain and The Hague City Hall is in Netherlands. The difference in the culture leads to its different architectural design. “The Hague City Hall has been highlighted in the style of Piet Mondrain”.


It has been concluded with this essay that the twentieth century leads to the great modifications in a field of architectural development. The artworks and buildings of the Richard Meier have been analysed in this report in order to understand the usage of materials, colour and other resources for the development of the buildings. His two different works have been taken that is The Hague city hall and the Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona for the purpose of analysing the differences in his work. It has enhanced the understanding of the architecture development and has effectively discussed the impacts of the surrounding, culture and politics on the design of the buildings


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