Weishaupt Forum | Richard Meier | pettydesign

I have been (ill) fortunate to visit many projects by Richard Meier in various cities and countries over the past 5 years. I have seen Richard in Dallas, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, New York and many others I have since forgotten due to their… unforgettableness. Apparently unforgettable enough that the mayor of Rome is attempting to rid the city of his highly published 2006 Ara Pacis Museum. I have never really been that enthused when turning a corner and coming face to face with another project of his. The most excitement I had gotten out of one was breaking into the Euregio Office Building in Basel one very dark, quiet night. From where I live in Southern Germany, a small town of only 30,000, there are 3 Richard Meier projects within a 20 minute drive. While this American may have a German namesake, this is a bit excessive. I had casually walked past the Stadthaus in Ulm a few months ago, paying more attention to the local Christmas market rather than this excessive white noise in my way.

Weishaupt Forum | Richard Meier | pettydesign

A few weeks ago I visited the Weishaupt Forum in Schwendi. For the first time in my life, I was actually quite satisfied with a Richard Meier project. It had all the signs of Richard Meier and could have easily been any one of the projects I had seen anywhere else. The geometries and relentless use of white panels were just the same as all of the others.

Weishaupt Forum | Richard Meier | pettydesign

What changed this for me was the contrast. This was the second project I had seen of his outside of a dense urban context and the first where you could stand back far enough to understand that. The contrast between those white panels squished between a crisp blue sky and manicured green grass seemed to fit in perfect harmony. I was so used to those white panels clouded with pollution and debris, but here in the realm of a controlled culture, this controlled building seemed to just fit. All of a sudden I began to notice the space created by these geometries and appreciated it all the better.

I suppose location is everything.

About pettydesign

James Petty is an American architect experiencing and contributing to the Yale School of Architecture.