06 August 2015

Review: Richard Meier & Partners: White is the Light by Philip Jodido

On Thursdays from now on, I'll be trying to tackle my massive backlog of unreviewed books, which goes back to December 2012! I'll be prioritizing books without very many reviews on LibraryThing because, why not? Oddly enough, that leads me to reviewing a book I just read, since it has 38 copies on the site but no reviews:

Trade paperback, 96 pages
Published 2012

Acquired January 2015
Read July 2015
Richard Meier & Partners: White is the Light
by Philip Jodido

Over winter break this year, I traveled to the greater Los Angeles area on a trip that was a combination of business (doing research in the Eaton Collection at the University of California, Riverside) and pleasure (seeing my sister who lives in Costa Mesa). One weekend where my sister was otherwise engaged, I spent in the Getty Center, an incredible (and free!) art museum. What I loved was not just the works of art contained in the museum, but the museum as a work of art. Designed by Richard Meier, the museum is white, full of light, and constructed out of a number of straight lines. It looks like it comes straight out of a utopian future, and indeed, its entrance hall (pictured on the cover of Jodido's book) was used as part of Starfleet Command in Star Trek Into Darkness. I spent a lot of time just walking around looking at the buildings themselves, and I even went on an architecture tour (me and a bunch of old ladies).

Therefore I spent some time scouring the museum bookstore, looking for a good book on Richard Meier, ideally with a lot of pictures, and I found this gorgeous little volume from Taschen. Philip Jodido provides a nine-page overview of Meier's life and career, and then writeups on 21 different buildings, each with a page or two of text, and 2-4 pages of high-quality photographs. It's exactly what I wanted out of a book on Meier: there are a lot of amazing buildings to pore over, and I appreciated the insight into his process. Meier's works, from a 1965 Connecticut house to the 1998 domed San Jose City Hall, from 1978 Arp Museum in Germany to the 1996 Jubilee Church in Rome, share a consistent design aesthetic without ever feeling repetitive. The book is filled with great photographs (the majority are by Scott Frances and Ezra Stoller) that really show off the majesty of Meier's vision. I'd love to visit more of these places and just walk through them, but for now this book is the best substitute I've got.

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