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The Smith House


The Bronx Developmental Center
Richard Meier Architect
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That too was, as I remember, they were building different hospitals around the state and it was a state-financed project and which I remember going up and they said, would you be interested? And I said, yes. But actually, initially that project was designed to be twice as big, but because of budget restrictions, they cut it back, which was just as well.

[Q] It's huge already.

It's huge.

[Q] And it's interesting the way you approached from a very industrial point of view, you know, the windows...

Well, it seemed to me, you know, that was the beginning of a whole investigation into pre-fabricated parts in terms of building materials.  Because it had seemed quite natural that, I mean, we were not going to build it out of brick. We'd need a bigger brick and so the metal panels started to be sort of like a unitised way of building. And we had developed, actually for a building not built... I had it in the back for a long time... at Fredonia, a physical education facility, a five by nine metal panel and outside was painted steel and inside was natural steel. It was an insulated panel. Weighed... it weighed a lot but there it is, just put it up, boom, you got the whole cladding of the building. So you have the structure and then you have the skin.

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: finance, budget restrictions, pre-fabricated building, panel, cladding

Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2007

Date story went live: 23 December 2008