A Look Back at Architecture Great, Richard Morris HuntColby Morrell
My obsession with Richard Morris Hunt began in Newport, Rhode Island when I was about 15 years old after a tour of the Breakers Mansion, designed by Hunt for the Vanderbilt family. The Breakers is the architectural and social archetype of the “Gilded Age,” a period when members of the Vanderbilt family were among the major industrialists of America. This french chateau inspired architecture is the look that surrounds Richard Morris Hunt’s legacy.
If you weren’t familiar with his name before now, you’ve almost certainly seen his splendor. Outside of his work for the Vanderbilts, which includes the famous Biltmore Estate, he his known for shaping New York City’s architectural style during the 1800’s. From the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the base of the Statue of Liberty, his fingerprint on the city remains today.
His philosophy of architectural work may be summed up in his quote “The first thing you’ve got to remember is that it’s your client’s money you’re spending. Your goal is to achieve the best results by following their wishes. If they want you to build a house upside down standing on its chimney, it’s up to you to do it.”
During his career he was hired by competitive millionaires who wanted to build bigger and grander mansions to show off their wealth and status. Here’s a look back on some of his most famous projects…