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Why I developed the metal panels


A chapel in a meeting room
Richard Meier Architect
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It's interesting because as an architect you sort of react to what is brought to you in a way, you know, so when I was asked to go to Hartford to do a building at the Hartford Seminary, originally, I think they wanted to do a renovation and that didn't seem to be interesting. And they said, well, we own this little piece of property across the street. We can build a new building there, which we did and they had quite a limited budget. And they had office space, and a library and meeting room; and they said, well we don't have room for a chapel. I said, wait a minute, it's the Hartford Seminary, I mean, the chapel is the heart of the building it seems to me. Well, I know but we just don't have funds. I said, well, why don't we make a meeting room into a chapel and you can use the chapel for a meeting room? Rather than making a nondescript space, you know, and you using that. So we made the chapel but it... it sort of was, you know, trying to make ends meet, as it were, in that situation and it's still used today and, I think, quite successfully.

But as I was saying, you never know what something going to... what you're going to be able to do with something when you begin. You say, gee, that's a great project and it turns out that for reasons that you never knew in the beginning, it wasn't such a great project and you say, gee, how did I get involved in this? And then there are other things, you say well, that's not so interesting but I'll give it a try and it turns out to be a great experience, so it's... it's something you should learn with age, but I never learn, you know, are the things that are not worthwhile because there aren't many things I think that are not worthwhile. I said I would never do a prison, not interested in doing a prison. A prison lacks life. I'm not interested in doing a petrol station. You know, I'm not into... there are many things which are easy to say no to but then there are others that are, gee, I can make something out of that. You know, that... that could become something of interest and I've been fortunate in, you know, actually in having a lot of, you know, really good, interesting projects to do.

The prominent American architect Richard Meier (b. 1934) is best known for the Getty Centre in Los Angeles, one of his many public projects which broke from his usual style of sleek, white buildings. In all his work – carried out with characteristic refined style – 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 honour.

Listeners: Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli was born in Milan and studied architecture in Milan and Venice. He is the co-founder and President of Vignelli Associates and Chief Executive Officer of Vignelli Designs in New York. His work includes graphic and corporate identity programs, publication designs, architectural graphics, interiors, furniture, and consumer product designs. His work has been published and exhibited throughout the world and entered in the permanent collections of several museums. He has taught and lectured on design in the major cities and universities in the United States and abroad. Included among Massimo Vignelli's awards are the Gran Premio Triennale di Milano, 1964, the Compasso d'Oro, awarded by the Italian Association for Industrial Design (ADI), 1964 and 1998, the 1982 Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, the 1983 AIGA Gold Medal, the 1992 Interior Product Designers Fellowship of Excellence, The 1995 Brooklyn Museum Design Award for Lifetime Achievement and The 2001 Russel Wright Award for Design Excellence.

Tags: Hartford Seminary

Duration: 2 minutes, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2007

Date story went live: 23 December 2008