Richard Meier, architect of the recently acclaimed High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as many other world-wide public projects and private residences over the past two decades, was today named the 1984 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is the sixth architect in the world to be so honored.
Consisting of a $100,000 tax-free grant and a bronze sculpture by Henry Moore, the international Pritzker Architecture Prize was established in 1979 to reward a creative endeavor not honored by the Nobel Prizes. Jay A. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation, which established the prize, presented the check today, and will present the sculpture in a ceremony at the National Gallery of Art on May 15.
A prestigious panel of jurors reviews nominations from around the world each year to make the selection. The jurors this year were Giovanni Agnelli, Chairman of Fiat, Torino, Italy; J. Carter Brown, Director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; Arata Isozaki, noted Japanese architect; Philip Johnson, 1979 Pritzker Prize Laureate; J. Irwin Miller, Chairman, Executive and Finance Committees, Cummins Engine Company; Kevin Roche, 1982 Pritzker Prize Laureate; and Thomas J. Watson, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, IBM Corporation. Jurors in years past have included the late Lord Clark of Saltwood, England and Cesar Pelli, Dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University.
Carleton Smith, secretary to the jury and chairman of the International Awards Foundation, who announced the name of the Laureate at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum today, stated that Meier was the unanimous choice of the jury.
He quoted the jury's citation as follows: "We honor Richard Meier for his single-minded pursuit of new directions in contemporary architecture. In his search for clarity and his experiments in balancing light, forms, and space, he has created works that are personal, vigorous, original.
"His houses, seminary, museums and public buildings have stretched and enriched our imaging, our thinking, our wanting, and perhaps our doing. They are intended not to overwhelm but to celebrate."
He concluded, "What he has achieved is only prologue to the compelling new experiences we anticipate from his drawing board."
At 49, Meier is the youngest architect to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In addition to the Laureates already named as jurors, other previous winners have been Luis Barragán of Mexico in 1980, James Stirling of Great Britain in 1981, and Ieoh Ming Pei of the United States in 1983.
Meier, whose firm is in New York, has built museums, commercial buildings, housing, educational and medical facilities, as well as residences. High Twin Parks Northeast Housing in the Bronx, Smith House, Westbeth Artists' Housing, Douglas House, Bronx Developmental Center, Hartford Seminary and the High Museum of Art have all won National Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects.
Meier's numerous other awards include the Arnold Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1972, the R.S. Reynolds Memorial Award in 1977, and awards of excellence from both Architectural Record and Progressive Architecture magazines.
His projects, furniture, collages and architectural drawings have been widely exhibited throughout the world, and he has lectured extensively in this country and abroad. His work has been published in many books and periodicals. He became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1976, and this past year was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.