Richard Meier, the architect, works on a collage at his Upper East Side apartment.
By ELISA MALA | Published: April 1, 2011
The professional portfolio of Richard Meier, 76, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, includes dozens of geometric designs spanning decades and continents. On Sundays, he contributes to another body of work, using scraps of found paper to create collages, a collection of which will eventually appear in a book. Mr. Meier lives in a duplex on East 72nd Street and owns a house in East Hampton, N.Y. ELISA MALA
RISE AND SHINE, MAYBE Usually somewhere around 8 or 8:30. Well, it depends on the weather. If it’s still gray and unpleasant-looking, maybe I’ll stay in bed until 9. I usually have just coffee, with milk and sugar.
TO THE PARK When the weather permits, I go to Central Park and sit on the bench for a couple of hours, watch the people go by and read a lot of newspapers and books. I read “A Life of Picasso,” by John Richardson. There are three volumes, and I can’t wait until the next one is published. I read “Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg,” by Calvin Tomkins, which was a terrific book. Occasionally, I see an old friend or someone I know, and we’ll stop and talk. That’s always nice.
REGULAR SEAT I sit in the same seat. There’s a row of benches on the north side as you go into the park from East 72nd Street — it’s kind of in the middle. The sun hits that area until at least 4 or 4:30. When the sun goes down, I leave. If I get hungry, I go home.
SMOKE A CIGAR? Not anymore. Not since Mayor Bloomberg banned it with his new law.
AVOIDING THE KITCHEN I just heat something up — whenever I cook, I burn it. Sometimes I just wait and have dinner. For sushi, it’s Sushi of Gari.
MUSICAL INTERLUDE I listen to classical music, read and do collages. I have a variety of different composers. Besides Beethoven, I listen to Brahms, Bartok, Bernstein and Mahler. I listen to them on CDs. Just this morning, I was talking to someone who wanted to get me an iPod. It can be white or black — I hope it’s not a color!
BITS OF INSPIRATION Whatever I have at hand, whatever I pick up: cards, tickets, photographs, things I cut out of magazines, things people give me, business cards, invitations. Whatever passes through my hands during the day, I kind of put in an envelope. It finds its way into a collage, sometimes years later.
SCRAPBOOKS I sometimes do them in blank-paged books, A4-sized Sennelier’s. I’m doing a book of collages with Rizzoli, with my friend Massimo Vignelli. Between collecting the stuff and working it out, I spend an hour and a half on each collage, and sometimes finish six or seven or eight in a night.
SPECTATOR SPORT I like the New York teams. I’m both a Jets and a Giants fan, and I like to watch the Knicks.
SUMMER SWIMS In the summer, I will go to the Hamptons. Every day when I am there, I go swimming, usually in Georgica Beach. I freestyle. Everyone should know how to swim: someone threw me in the pool and said, “Swim!”
TAKING NOTES Years ago, I used to work on Sundays. I stopped going to the office on Sundays right around the time that we finished the Getty Center. Now, I jot down notes on what I need to do on Monday.
BEDTIME I try to stop by midnight, but sometimes I’ll go to bed at 2 a.m. I try to sleep seven or seven and a half hours a night. If I could, I would like to have more than one Sunday a week.