Ackerberg house and addition
Richard Meier is one of the most important architects of the postwar generation. He opened his New York office in 1963 and, in 1984, became the youngest recipient ever of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture. Meier has built a series of masterful modern houses and a great number of educational, commercial, and cultural facilities, including the Getty Center in Los Angeles, one of the most important commissions of the late twentieth century.
The Ackerberg House, begun at the same time as the Getty Center, explores various responses to California's unique climate and character. Situated between the mountains and the ocean, the house has remarkable views of both. Courtyards refer to the Spanish-colonial court typology of Southern California. While a ceramic-tile-clad facade separates the house from the Pacific Coast Highway, the ocean front is a more dimensional assemblage of posts and sunscreens that blurs the distinction between interior and exterior and invites casual passage to the out-of-doors.
In 1992, six years after the house was completed, the Ackerbergs asked the architect to return. Despite his initial misgivings, Meier added a third story to the guest quarters, keeping the scale and proportions of the original composition but adding a new spatial progression and sense of expansion. He discovered, he writes, that he was able "to change a house for the better and to infuse it with new life."
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