MICHAEL GRAVES, FAIA
American architect Michael Graves has been in the forefront of architectural design since he founded his practice in Princeton, New Jersey in 1964.
As Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus, at Princeton University, where he taught for almost 40 years, Graves is an influential theorist as well as a diversified and prolific designer.
Since the early 1980s, his work directly influenced the transformation of urban architecture from the abstraction of commercial modernism toward an interest in context.
Hailed in the New York Times by critic Paul Goldberger as "truly the most original voice American architecture has produced in some time," Graves has been the recipient of several of the most prestigious awards ever conferred upon architects in the United States.
These include the 2001 Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, the 1999 National Medal of Arts (a Presidential Award), and the $50,000 Frank Annunzio Award from the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation.
His firm, Michael Graves & Associates, with over 100 employees in offices in Princeton, New Jersey and New York City, has a highly diverse, international practice in architecture, interior design, product design, and graphic design. In addition to Michael Graves as its President, the firm is owned and managed by six Principals, who have been with the firm for an average of 18 years.
In order of seniority, the Principals of the firm are: Michael Graves, Karen Nichols, Patrick Burke, Gary Lapera, Thomas Rowe, John Diebboll and Susan Howard.
The practice is organized as a series of studios: four architecture studios led by Principals, an interior design studio, and several product design studios. Michael Graves collaborates with studio heads and other in-house designers on every project. The architectural practice encompasses a wide variety of building types, including largescale mixed-use projects; office buildings and corporate headquarters; university buildings of various types; civic institutions such as courthouses and municipal buildings; educational and cultural facilities such as public libraries, museums, and theaters; hotels and resorts; facilities for sports, entertainment and retail enterprises; healthcare facilities; apartment buildings; and single-family residences.
Among Graves' well-known projects is The Humana Building, a corporate headquarters tower in Louisville, Kentucky, which, in addition to receiving local and national AIA design awards, was cited by TIME Magazine as one of "the 10 best buildings of the decade [1980s]."
Other notable buildings are Disney's corporate headquarters in Burbank, California, the headquarters of the Ministry of Culture in The Hague, The Netherlands, a Federal Reserve Bank in Houston, Texas, and the much-acclaimed state-of-the-art headquarters and training center for the Philadelphia Eagles football team. The award-winning 1.1 million-square-foot headquarters of the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation anchors one end of Pennsylvania Avenue at Washington Circle in Washington, D.C., and MGA has designed the expansion and renovation of the U.S. Courthouse at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue just below the Capitol. Graves' design of the embellishment for the scaffolding around the Washington Monument during its 1999 - 2000 restoration was widely noted and praised.
Michael Graves is considered a distinguished advocate for the arts. He is the recipient of the New Jersey Governor's Walt Whitman Award for Creative Achievement, and the Arts Person of the Year Award from the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, as well as the Indiana Arts Award and the National Sculpture Society?s Henry Hering Medal for inclusion of art in architecture. Architectural projects for cultural and educational institutions - museums, theaters, libraries and universities - have constituted an important part of Graves' practice from the beginning. Among these projects are: the Denver Central Library; Riverbend, the summer home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; the Clark County Library and Theater in Las Vegas; The Newark Museum in New Jersey; Emory University's Museum of Art and Archaeology; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the O'Reilly Theater in Pittsburgh; and the NCAA 2000 Hall of Champions in Indianapolis.
Another significant segment of MGA's practice has been the design of hotels, from business hotels such as the Fukuoka Hyatt Regency in Japan and the Aventine Hyatt Hotel in La Jolla, California to the well-known Walt Disney World Swan World Swan and Dolphin Hotels in Florida and five resort hotels in Egypt. In addition to single-family houses, residential design includes multi-family buildings such as the 1500 Ocean Drive condominium in Miami, Florida; high-rise residential projects in Japan and in Manhattan; and student residences at universities such as New Jersey Institute of Technology, Drexel University, and Rice University.
Graves has dubbed himself "a general practitioner," designing not only the interiors for the majority of his projects, but also a wide range of furnishings and artifacts, from furniture and lighting fixtures to jewelry and dinnerware, for companies such as Alessi, Steuben, and Disney, Phillips Electronics and Black & Decker. He has teamed with Target Stores to bring his signature style of design to a larger public in a wide variety of product categories. For the German partnership of Duravit, Dornbracht and Hoesch, he has created "Dreamscape," a bath fixtures and fittings collection, and for the Italian hardware manufacturer Valli & Valli, a series of door handles in various metals.
Michael Graves and his firm have received over 160 awards and citations, which, in addition to other awards mentioned earlier, include fifteen Progressive Architecture awards, ten American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Honor Awards, and the AIA/American Library Association Award for the Denver Central Library, along with over 60 design awards and a career achievement award from the AIA - New Jersey and other state chapters of the AIA.
Graves' work appears in many periodicals and books, including Five Architects (Oxford University Press, 1972); Michael Graves, (Academy Editions, 1979);
Michael Graves: Building and Projects 1966-1981 (Rizzoli, 1983); Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1982-1989 (Princeton Architectural Press, 1990); Michael Graves Design Monograph (Ernst & Sohn, 1994); Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1990-1994, (Rizzoli, 1995); The Master Architect Series III: Michael Graves: Selected and Current Works (Images Publishing, 1999); and Compact Design Portfolio: Michael Graves (Chronicle Books, 2002.) Additional titles are planned for 2002 and 2003.
Michael Graves was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1934. He received his architectural training at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University. In 1960, he won the Rome Prize and studied for two years at the American Academy in Rome, of which he is now a Trustee. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Graves has been awarded eleven honorary doctorates. Honored by Princeton University with a symposium on the anniversary of his twenty-fifth year of teaching, he has also served as Visiting Professor at other universities.
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