The National Park Service has added one of architect Richard Meier’s most celebrated residential projects to the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Pritzker-winning architect’s eponymous firm. A historic preservationist nominated the Douglas House for a spot on the National Register last April.
Meier designed the 4,500-square-foot home for Jim and Jean Douglas after denying their initial request to buy his blueprints for the Smith House, a 1967 residence in Darien, Conn. which the couple spotted on the cover of Record Houses. The architect's new design garnered national recognition for its ultramodern, geometric shape when it was completed in 1973.
Like the Smith House, the Douglas House is painted almost entirely white—a characteristic which the architect is known for—overlooking Lake Michigan atop a hill so steep that it can only be entered at roof level by way of a buttressed bridge. The current owners of the house partnered with Meier’s firm in 2007 to perform a much-needed restoration and in the same year, the Douglas House was named one of America’s Favorite Architectural Structures by the American Institute of Architects.
Richard Meier released the following statement regarding his project’s historic designation on July 12:
Reflecting on the history and the design of the Douglas House I believe the architect is really the facilitator of creating something which goes on to have an existence that is much greater than itself and has a life that is longer than any of the people involved in the creation of it.
In thinking about the ideas that go into making architecture one has to think about not just the context, the circumstances of the site, its history, the surrounding buildings, the topography, and the nature of the place in the public realm, but also about what it can be, what it will be, and how it will be meaningful for future society.
We are deeply honored by this historic distinction of the Douglas House, and we are very grateful for all the dedication, care and supervision given by the current owners of the house. Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers have returned the house to its original intent.