Constructed in 1961, Richard Meier’s first residential project is a nascent example of the modern prefab typology.

The Lambert House is named for its first owner, Saul Lambert, a New York City artist and illustrator who shared many of architect Richard Meier’s modernist ideals. Lambert’s widow, Joanne Underwood, recalls the early design process: “Saul had a strong idea about what he liked and didn’t like. Plain and geometric, light and clean proportions—and that’s what Meier was able to do.”

The architect met Lambert’s needs by keeping things functional for the modest 1,425-square-foot beach house, using walls of windows to bring in natural light and sticking to a simple floor plan. The home is the pinnacle of affordable living, with its built-in kitchen and beds. “All you need is a few chairs,” Meier says.

When illustrator and artist Saul Lambert approached Richard Meier with a budget of about $10,000, the architect turned to a Michigan prefabricated log cabin manufacturer:

Looking back, the architect still feels “very proud” of his early project, and, as for the future of prefab, he remains optimistic. “It depends on where it is and what it’s for—it can be very appropriate in some parts of the world.”

The wall of windows and simple floor plan appealed to Lambert so much that he kept a snapshot of the house on his studio’s bulletin board for years after selling it. Photo courtesy Richard Meier & Partners Architects.

See the full story on A Look at Richard Meier’s Iconic Lambert House
Related stories: