Democratizing Design: Michael Graves’ Legacy On Display in the “Past as Prologue” Exhibition

Often Graves’s tableware takes on the proportions of a building. In turn, buildings are often simplified to the level of tableware. Above: Denver Central Library, South Facade (1993). Image Courtesy of Michael Graves & Associates

On show until April 5th at the in New Jersey, Michael Graves: Past as Prologue celebrates the fifty-year career of one of the United States’ best-known and prolific architects. Graves is known for his unapologetic which often divides opinion the profession. However in this review of the exhibition, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Shape Shifter,” Samuel Medina finds that while it is easy to criticize in Graves’ design style, it is hard to find fault with the noble intentions underlying his work.

“It’s been fifty years of more is more,” says Karen Nichols, a principal of Michael Graves & Associates, reiterating an aphorism Graves has taken a liking to in recent years. She is standing in front of an exhibition board in the retrospective, Michael Graves: Past as Prologue, which is currently on show at the Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey. Nichols joined the firm in 1977, precisely the time when her employer made the fateful and rather lucrative pivot towards Postmodernism. The text on the exhibition wall behind her pinpoints The Big Break to the same year, depicting it with two like-minded projects. The first is the built Plocek House (1977), which originated the hide-the-keystone game Graves has been playing ever since. The other, the unrealized scheme for the Fargo-Moorhead Cultural Center Bridge (1977–1978), intended to enlighten the twin midwestern communities with a dose of the Enlightenment architect Claude Nicolas Ledoux’s architecture parlante.

To hear Nichols (and Graves) tell it now, it’s as if Graves were always more Venturian than Venturi, from his earliest neo-Corbusian villas, up through the pedimented temple he built for Disney in 1988. The truth is, Graves—the Cubist, the classicist, and the caricaturist—has always had a hard time saying “No.”

The Portland Building Won’t be Demolished, says Michael Graves

© Steve Morgan via Wikimedia Commons

The Portland Building will be saved from the wrecking ball and undergo renovation, Michael Graves, the architect behind the postmodern masterpiece, told A/N blog. “It’s going to be saved,” Graves said to AN. “They told me… They said they are saving the building and not only that but we want you to sit on a committee for the redesign. I would imagine in the next year we’ll do something.”

In Honor of Michael Graves, The Architectural League Revisits 200 Years of Drawing

Denver Library, South Elevation, 1994, pencil and colored pencil on yellow tracing paper, 14 x 26 inches. Image Courtesy of Michael Graves & Associates, photo: Ken Ek

With their “Past as Prologue“ symposium – a day of lectures celebrating fifty years of Michael Graves‘ career - approaching tomorrow, the Architectural League of New York is taking a look back at one of its seminal exhibitions which heavily featured Graves’ work. When “200 Years of American Architectural Drawing” launched in 1977, New York Times critic Ada Louise Huxtable said “By any definition… a major show,” adding “here is architecture as it comes straight from the mind and the eye and the heart, before the spoilers get to it.” In memory of the show, the Architectural League has published a selection of essays and images from the accompanying book, including the work of Graves, Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk and Richard Meier.

Check out the Architectural League’s collection of 200 Years of American Architectural  here, and don’t forget to tune in to the livestream of the Past as Prologue symposium here at 9.30 EST on Saturday.

Michael Graves School of Architecture to Open in 2015

Graves-designed University building planned for Wenzhou. Image © Michael Graves School of Architecture

Kean University has announced plans to open a new architecture school based on the design philosophy of Michael Graves. Following the footsteps of a man who laments the “loss of drawing,” the new Michael Graves School of Architecture will prioritize hand drawings as a key to design process.

“In our technologically savvy world, to this day, Michael Graves’ philosophy is to draw by hand first so that the students see, ‘feel’ and experience the new building spatially. Then, only after the is complete will the students transfer the design to a computer so that the computer becomes an execution tool, not an ideation tool,” describes acting dean and former student of Graves, David Mohney.

Michael Graves Defends the Portland Building from Demolition Threats

The Building in 1982. Photo by Steve Morgan via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, Michael Graves attended a public conversation with Randy Gragg, director of The University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center to discuss the Portland Building, America’s first postmodern building. The discussion centered around the famed, 1980s building’s many problems – “dark, leaky and claustrophobic” interiors,” pedestrian-unfriendly parking garage, and more – asking Graves for his advice on whether the city should update it or tear it down. His response, “The whole idea of tearing the building down, it’s like killing a child… I don’t know how to react to that.” Read all of Graves’ responses to tenant complaints here on the Oregon Live.

Michael Graves 50 Year Retrospective to Open in October

Denver Library, South Elevation, 1994, pencil and colored pencil on yellow tracing paper, 14 x 26 inches. Image Courtesy of & Associates, photo: Ken Ek

An exhibition celebrating one of North America’s foremost postmodern architects will open this October, marking 50 years of Michael Graves‘ practice. Past as Prologue maps the evolution of Graves’ work in architecture and product design through an array of media including sculpture, painting, furniture, drawings and models. The comprehensive exhibition will begin with Graves’ work from 1964 and conclude with works currently in progress. The exhibition will be hosted by Grounds for Sculpture with a mission to provide insight into the five-decade progression of Graves’ unique design process. More on the exhibition after the break.

Happy Birthday Michael Graves

Courtesy of Michael Graves & Associates

Today is the 80th of renowned architect Michael Graves.  Famous for his bold, symbolic references to classical architecture and his use of geometry, Graves is also known as one of the New York Five. His work bridged the abstraction of Modernism and the Postmodernism of the current era.

Graves started his own practice in 1964 in , New Jersey, and has taught at ’s school of architecture for more than 40 years.  A prolific architect, Graves has also met with considerable success as an industrial designer, producing products for companies such as Target and Black & Decker. He is highly decorated, having won such prestigious honors as the Nation Medal of the Arts (1999), the AIA Gold Medal (2001), and the Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture (2012).  On the anniversary of his birth, we invite you to look over our collection of some of his best work and check out our video interview with him, after the break.

The Portland Problem: $95 Million for a Hated Building?

The Portland Building in 1982. Image © Steve Morgan via Wikimedia Commons

In a provocative article,The Atlantic Cities explores the dilemma which Portland currently finds itself in: the -designed Portland Building, one of the most important examples of early postmodernism, requires renovation work to the tune of $95 million; unfortunately, most residents of Portland “really, really hate” the building – as they have since it was constructed in 1983. Should the city spend so much money renovating a building which is unpopular, dysfunctional and poorly built just because of its cultural significance? Read the original article for more.

AD Classics: The Portland Building / Michael Graves

The Building in 1982. Photo by Steve Morgan via Wikimedia Commons

The Portland Building, by architect and product designer , is considered the first major built work of Postmodernist architecture. The design, which displays numerous symbolic elements on its monumental facades, stands in purposeful contrast to the functional Modernist architecture that was dominant at the time. As Graves explains of his architecture: it’s “a symbolic gesture, an attempt to re-establish a language of architecture and values that are not a part of modernist homogeneity.”

Read more about this controversial building after the break… 

Dwell on Design 2013

Dwell on Design, America’s largest modern design event, returns to the Convention Center, June 21-23, 2013. DOD reimagines the trade show experience by transforming 200,000 square feet of concrete into a design incubator where prefab comes to life and design luminaires debate the issues of today. With more than 400 exhibitors, 200 speakers, 2000 products and an expected 30,000 attendees, DOD has become the largest design event in the US, showing how influential design is in every aspect of our modern world. is proud to announce The Lincoln Motor Company as the Presenting Auto sponsor, Design Partner jcpenney and Industry Partner The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The event is produced by Dwell Media.

More information, including keynote speakers, the 2013 highlights and a special promo code for ArchDaily readers after the break.

Obama Appoints Michael Graves to Key Administration Post

Courtesy of & Associates

Today, President announced his intent to appoint five individuals to key Administration posts, including architecture’s very own Michael Graves, stating: “These fine public servants both bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles.  Our nation will be well-served by these individuals, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

The five individuals include:

The Glass House: “Conversations in Context”

The Glass House just concluded their second annual Conversations in Context, which presents visitors with the opportunity to join in a weekly evening tour and intimate conversation with industry leaders, including Robert A.M. Stern, , and more.

Since the 1940s, The Glass House has served as a place of inspiration, education and conversation across creative disciplines. Its 49-acre landscape, 14 architectural structures and world-class art collection continue to draw members of an international creative community to participate in its rich story. Conversations in Context continues Philip Johnson’s legacy of using the Glass House as a place to conduct ongoing seminars with architecture students and present emerging and established architects the opportunity to discuss the current state of the industry.

The video above features Architect, critic, and historian Kenneth Frampton, along with Dean Mark Wigley from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Follow us after the break for a few of our favorite conversations from this year’s series.

Event: Michael Graves to lecture at Notre Dame

Image provided by & ASSOCIATES

If you’re in the , Indiana, area, mark your calendars! A week from today, the famed architect and designer Michael Graves will present his lecture “A Grand Tour” at the University of Notre Dame. The lecture will recount his journey, once considered obligatory for a young architect, exploring the great monuments of Europe. As a recipient of the prestigious Prix de Rome, Graves traveled through Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, England, Germany, and France, studying and recording the masterworks of both ancient and modern architecture.

This year, the University of Notre Dame awarded Graves with the Richard H. Driehaus Prize, honoring his lifetime contributions to classical and traditional architecture in the modern world. Read all about his nomination here and watch an exclusive ArchDaily interview with the legend here.

Michael Graves: In Defense of Drawing

© , Denver Central Library

In his Op-Ed for The New York Times, called “Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing,” American architecture legend Michael Graves laments the loss of in our computer-dependent age. While Graves realizes the usefulness of computer technology to present a final product, he maintains that the act of sketching (particularly those first, fleeting “referential sketches”) is vital to the process of design:

“Architecture cannot divorce itself from drawing, no matter how impressive the technology gets. Drawings are not just end products: they are part of the thought process of architectural design. Drawings express the interaction of our minds, eyes and hands. This last statement is absolutely crucial to the difference between those who draw to conceptualize architecture and those who use the computer.”

Do you think the art of drawing is actually lost? Is drawing vital to the work you do? Or has technology become so sophisticated that it has “rendered” sketching unnecessary?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Story via The New York Times

 

Happy 78th Birthday Michael Graves!

(Watch our full interview with Michael Graves here)

Today we celebrate the 78th birthday of Michael Graves (born July 9, 1934).

Graves is one of America’s most influential figures in architecture and design. Part of the The Five, he played a key role in the transition between abstract modernism and post-modernism. His designs communicate a clear point of view reflecting a sense of playfulness with sophistication. The balance of traditional elements (typically through arches, columns, and pediments) and exploration with color convey the lessons of modern architecture while referring to historical details.

©

He started his own practice in Princeton, NJ in 1964, and has been a teacher at Princeton University for more than 40 years. Among his recognitions we can find the Felllow of the AIA (1979), the National Medal of Arts (1999), the AIA Gold Medal (2011), the AIA Topaz Medal (2010) and Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture (2012). His works can be found in North America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Michael Graves for Alessi

Michael Graves has also done a vast amount of work in the field of industrial design, including  furniture, artifacts, jewelry and dinnerware for companies such as Disney, Alessi, Steuben, Phillips Electronics, Black & Decker, and his own line with more than 100 products for Target.

We celebrate his 78th birthday with an ArchDaily logo inspired by the St Coletta School in Washington D.C.:

More from Michael Graves at AchDaily:

Design Icon: Michael Graves / Gary Nadeau

Our friends at Dwell have shared with us their short film featuring the legendary inside his beautiful Princeton home in which he created out of a disused warehouse. In the film, Graves shares the discoveries he made when renovating his house and thoughts about his career, his practice and universal design.

The film was directed and edited by Gary Nadeau. Continue after the break for the complete list of credits.

Architect Michael Graves: A Grand Tour

Yesterday, we announced the WTTW premier of the new 30-minute documentary, Architect : A Grand Tour. If you missed it, there is no need to worry. You can watch the documentary right here on ArchDaily! Host Geoffrey Baer takes you on a fascinating tour through Graves’ life and legacy, with in-depth tours inside some his famous works and commentary from many of his good friends, such as Peter Eisenman and Denise Scott Brown. Learn about the influences that shaped each chapter of Graves’ life, from the boy who aspired to be an artist, to modernism and The Five, then onto post modernism, product design and his most recent focus on health care.

Want more? You can watch exclusive web clips here. Enjoy!

Previously featured on ArchDaily:

Documentary featuring Michael Graves Premieres Tomorrow

Image provided by & ASSOCIATES

Premiering tomorrow on WTTW – one of Chicago’s PBS television stations – will be the new 30-minute documentary Architect Michael Graves: A Grand Tour. Popular Chicago TV tour host Geoffrey Baer profiles the life and work of the internationally acclaimed architect and winner of the 2012 Driehaus Prize for Classical and Traditional Architecture. The documentary will air Thursday, March 22 at 8PM.

Continue reading for more information on the documentary and view updated images of the Wounded Warrior Project.