The first quality of the work of Richard Meier is that it is architecture in the strictest sense of the term, in a time when the notion of architecture has become rather confused.
There is a commonly held opinion that America did not experience the avantgarde, in the European sense of the term, and therefore misses it, in retrospect. The proof cited for this is the manifesto a group of architects from New York issued in favor of a form of architecture that belongs, at this point, to history. Styles pass, as do fashions: in the case of the “international” style the work of time is augmented by a process thought to be irreversible. If an American architect, today, believes there is something to be conserved in the model developed by Le Corbusier in the 1920s, attempting to give it meaning, to update and reactivate it, calling it back into discussion in his design practice, with different aims, in a different context, he is seen as an aesthetic and critical absolute. The first quality of the work of Richard Meier is that it is architecture in the strictest sense of the term, in a time when the notion of architecture has become rather confused. But this work also has another, no less important virtue: that of reminding us what “history” means when we talk about architecture, a meaning quite different from what many would have us believe.