A Tour of Richard Meier’s Summer House in the Hamptons


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Richard Meier in the study of his summer home, a farmhouse built in 1907.

Credit
Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

Name Richard Meier

Age 82

Occupation Architect

Location East Hampton, N.Y.

Favorite Room The man known for his modern, white, geometrically intricate buildings spends his summers in a simple, cedar-shingled farmhouse built in 1907 that he bought from the family of the original owners in 1984. On a July afternoon, Mr. Meier was in his study there, painting watercolors.

What are you painting?

I do all kinds of things: sunflowers, giraffes, views of the ocean. It’s something I enjoy. I’m not working with other people. There’s no deadline.

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A Hans Wegner chair that belonged to Mr. Meier’s parents.

Credit
Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

Are visitors surprised to find you in such a traditional house?

Yes. If I were to build a house, it wouldn’t look like this. But this is easy. It’s a very relaxed place to be. I think I go into town once a summer. For the most part, I’m here.

Do you go to the beach? Garden?

Well, I used to go to the beach every day. I don’t anymore. We have a vegetable and flower garden. I’ll give you some zucchini and cucumbers to take with you. We went to the garden this morning, and there are quite a few. The tomatoes aren’t ripe yet.

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Mr. Meier uses the study as a place to paint.

Credit
Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

These look like Hans Wegner chairs. Do you collect furniture?

No. They belonged to my parents. They were in the house I designed for them in Essex Fells, N.J. I think I picked the chairs out with them. This was 1963.

Were your parents good clients?

They were great clients. We all came out of it gratified by the experience. My mother always said, “We were happy to have our son design a house for us, but instead of closet space, we got art.”

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A photograph of Winston Churchill that may have come with the house.

Credit
Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

Are objects meaningful to you?

No.

What about that photograph of Winston Churchill on the shelf?

I think that came with the house.

You’ve been inside many spaces in your life. What’s one that stays with you?

The church by Borromini: Sant’Ivo. It’s just an incredible space, the way light comes in, the human scale. All the things that make great architecture are personified in that building. Rome is filled with great architecture. I’ve done buildings there myself. I’ve had an opportunity to spend some time there.

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