The Richard Meier Model Museum, located in a converted warehouse in New Jersey, is like a carefully curated retirement community—a leisure palace, if you will—for mini versions of the work of renowned American architect Richard Meier. As part of the Jersey City's Mana Contemporary art museum, this privately run annex is a mini world done up entirely by the 79-year-old minimalist, famed for his unique breed of glass fortresses and sleek, spare private homes.
The 400-piece collection inside the museum, which opened earlier this month, spans almost half a century, harkening as far back as his own hand-made model of the 1965 Smith House, a project that helped establish him as a major player in the glassy house circuit, and continuing into 2011, when his Arp Museum in Remagen-Rolandseck, Germany, was built. Of course, none compare to his Getty Museum model series, which includes the big kahuna; a basswood structure measuring five feet tall, 21 feet wide, and 37 feet long. To get it inside, the museum had to remove the gallery windows and hoist it up by crane.
This is not Meier's first model museum; in fact, this venue, a suite of open rooms totaling 15,000 square feet, subs in for the 3,600-square-foot outfit he had in Long Island City. And the move is no real surprise: while Meier's firm is based in NYC, the architect is a New Jersey native, and his daughter, furniture designer Ana Meier, occupies a showroom and studio in the building. Plus, according to the Times, "Mr. Meier, whose grandparents had a leather factory in Newark, has talked about his pride in bringing his knowledge and expertise back to his birthplace."
Of course, almost quintupling one's space means figuring out what else to put inside. Meier told the Times he intended to create a studio and work there, adjacent to his daughter, around once a week. He's also brought in some 1,000 books and magazines from his personal collection, which makes sense considering Meier once said in a statement that the museum intends to be "part of a larger cultural complex," ultimately boasting "a library, space for exhibitions, and an archive."
Also on display are his collages (about 50, or "just a portion" of the collection), drawings (200), and metal sculptures that rise from white pedestals like jagged bits of machinery, rough and brutal in Meier's world of crisp lines, imperceptible curves, and glass façes. As he explained to the Times, "These are made from discarded pieces of the Getty models ... I was just having fun."
The museum is open by appointment (by emailing his firm) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily. Photos below:
· Richard Meier Model Museum Opens at Mana Contemporary [Arch Daily]
· Architect Goes Home, to Recall and to Work [NYT]
· All Richard Meier posts [Curbed National]
· All Miniatures posts [Curbed National]