The Lambert House
Lonelyville, New York, 1962
A 28-year-old Richard Meier received his first and by far most modest commission from the artist Saul Lambert back in 1962. “Lambert had purchased a very small site on the ocean, on Fire Island,” says Meier, “and said, ‘We don’t have very much money—actually, we have $9,000 to spend on the construction of this house. Could you design something for us?’ ” Meier enlisted a company that specialized in log cabins to create a precut contemporary structure. “They cut all the lumber in Michigan and shipped it,” he says, “and we slept on the beach and built the house in nine days.” The building’s clean, simple lines (forever altered by the home’s subsequent owners, Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, who added a second story, among other design sins) do bear some relationship to the clean geometry of Meier’s most well-known structures.