High Museum of Art
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Architect Richard Meier
Location Atlanta, Georgia   map
Date 1983   timeline
Building Type art museum
 Construction System concrete frame, enameled steel cladding
Style Modern
Notes curved facade to sunny atrium






Plan Drawing

More drawings available on The GBC CD-ROM.  Contributions appreciated.

3D Model
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Discussion High Museum of Art Commentary

A classical four square parti is manipulated to create spatial distinctions worthy of the museums important placement and public function within the cultural scope of Atlanta. One of the quadrants is carved out to create the monumental and orienting atrium space whose edge-defining circulation ramps pay homage to the swirling Guggenheim. Meier's characteristically white building houses an auditorium, a ground level court, cafe, museum shop, members lounge, required staff support spaces, and varied display spaces featuring painting, sculpture, and furniture. Natural light is prevalent and adjustable to meet specific exhibit needs.

— Darlene Levy. drawn from Richard Meier. Richard Meier: Architect 1964-1984. p311

"The structure consists of steel columns and frame and concrete slabs. The granite plinth acts as a horizontal datum for the ramps and, in elevation, as an anchor for the white porcelain-enameled steel panels cladding the galleries below. Light, whether direct or filtered, admitted through skylights, ribbon glazing, clerestory strips, or minimal perforations in the panel wall, is a consistant preoccupation throughout: apart from its functional aspect, it is a symbol of the museum's role as a place of aesthetic illumination and enlightened cultural values. The primary intention of the architecture is to encourage the discovery of these values, and to foster a contemplative appreciation of the museum's collection through its own spatial experience."

— Richard Meier. from Richard Meier. Richard Meier. Richard Meier: Architect 1964-1984. p311.

The Creator's Words

"My area of study is architecture and its cultural manifestations, and such a quest for historical knowledge, especially of the arts, arises from my own need for a deeper understanding of the essence of architecture. Too frequently, the merely historical understanding of architecture is considered the complete and authentic understanding: whereas the sense of spiritual activity expressed in architectonic forms should be related to speculative interest in the nature of architectural forms more directly than to a historical interest in forms already realized, already claimed by the past. The one affords us the promise of architecture; the other, too often, ends in historicist ideology.

— Richard Meier. from Richard Meier. Richard Meier Architect: Buildings and Projects 1966-1976. p6.


total building floor space: 130,000 square feet
total museum floor space: 52,000 square feet

Sources on High Museum of Art

"Piano Tone", by Lisa Ashmore, ArchitectureWeek No. 266, 2005.1130, pND.1.

"High Museum Reilluminated ", by ArchitectureWeek, ArchitectureWeek No. 176, 2004.0107, pN1.1.

Richard Meier. Richard Meier Architect: Buildings and Projects 1966-1976. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. NA 737 .M43 A35. LC 75-38096. p6.

Richard Meier. Richard Meier, Architect: 1964-1984. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1984. ISBN 0-8478-0496-8. LC 83-42911. NA737.M44A4 1984. p311.

William S. Saunders. Modern Architecture—Photographs by Ezra Stoller. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3816-2. exterior photo, p189, 190. interior photo, atrium, p191. — A wonderful & inspiring book of beautiful photographs by the master of architectural photography. Available at Amazon.com

Helen Searing. New American Art Museums. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1982. ISBN 0-520-04896-2. discussed p106 to 114.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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