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Michael Graves : architect biography

famous architect : Michael Graves [page1] [page2] [page2]





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Michael Graves architect
Michael Graves architect
Michael Graves architect
Michael Graves architect
Michael Graves architect

Michael Graves

In a monograph on Graves's work, Michael Graves, Buildings and Projects, 1966-1981, an essay by Graves, titled "A Case for Figurative Architecture," discusses the relationship of the human figure to architectural form as figurative architecture, a phrase Graves coined to describe his theories. Figurative architecture reinstates the traditional language of architecture that, unlike the abstractions of much of the Modern Movement, is based on man's social, psychic, and physical occupation of the environment.

For example, Michael Graves would oppose making a full wall of glass, a so-called window wall, as the facade of a building. To Michael Graves, a window wall in architecture is akin to slang in spoken language. Michael Graves would rather see the windows as distinct elements within the wall, framing the occupant's view to the outside, increasing the hierarchical differences between inside and outside, and expressing the general size of the human figure on the outside of the structure. Graves's interest in reinstating the familiar and traditional elements of architecture as distinct elements (walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and columns, for example) does not imply simply returning to the past. Michael Graves is also interested in the positive lessons of the modern movement in architecture and includes both traditional and modern concepts in his palette. A sequel to Michael Graves's 1966-1981 monograph, documenting work completed since that time, is being published by Princeton Architectural Press in 1988.

The Michael Graves office has completed a wide variety of projects that include urban and master planning; corporate, municipal, and speculative office buildings; shopping centers and retail stores; single-family and multiple-family housing; cultural and educational facilities such as libraries, schools, museums, and performing arts centers; showrooms and other special interiors; and furniture and artifacts. With each of Michael Graves's projects, the building's context is of foremost concern. For instance, the San Juan Capistrano Library, completed in 1983, is located in southern California, where Spanish colonial architecture is prevalent; conformance to this style was required of any new development. This requirement prompted Michael Graves to examine the properties of this style as a generic type transformed from its Renaissance beginnings, producing a building that is neither historicist nor superficially derived from local precedents. Another example, The Humana Building, a corporate office tower in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, completed in 1985, is unique to its city and its site. Ints massing mediates the scale between the historic cast-iron buildings on one side and the modern steel and glass skyscraper on the other. The large waterfall fountain located in the ground-floor loggia makes reference to the nearby Falls of the Ohio River where Louisville was founded in the late nineteenth century. The building program required that a public fountain and plaza be included in the project. In order to reinforce the edge of the street, which Michael Graves regards as an essential urban form, these public facilities are located within a loggia under the basic form of the structure, rather than being located in front, as in many modern developments.

related links

Michael Graves :: Homepage
Michael Graves - Great Buildings Online
Michael Graves Architect and Designer
Michael Graves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A similar concern for the street occurs in Michael Graves's design of The Portland Building, a municipal office building for the City of Portland, Oregon, which won a design-build competition in 1980 and was completed in 1982. The design of the building addresses both the public nature of the program and the urban context. In order to reinforce the building's associative or figurative qualities, the facades are organized in a classical three-part division of base, middle or body, and attic or head, further enhanced by the use of color. The articulation of the various parts of the building on the facades also reflects the internal uses of the building. The Portland Building, because of critical debate in architecture and is considered one of the seminal buildings in the architectural design movement known as postmodernism. The figure of Lady Comerce from the Portland City seal, reinterpreted by Michael Graves to represent a broader cultural tradition and renamed Portlandia, was placed above the main entry to tGraves building as a new symbol of the city. Michael Graves's collaboration with the sculptor Raymond Kaskey earned them the Henry Hering Medal of the American Sculpture Society for incorporation of public sculpture in architecture.

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Other notable collaborations with artists have occurred in Michael Graves's design of Riverbend, a summer music pavilion for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where giant billboardlike statues representing musical muses, illustrated by the New York artist Edward Schmidt, line the cornice of the front facade, and in the competition entry for the Clos Pegase winery in the Napa Valley, where murals, friezes, and a statue of Pegasus were proposed by Michael Graves, again in collaboration with Edward Schmidt. In collaborating with artists, Michael Graves locates the artwork within his buildings to reinforce the reading of the architecture and uses their narrative qualities to reinforce themes related to the buildings' uses and location.

Over the past 25 years, the Michael Graves office has been involved in a number of renovations and additions. In recent examples of such work, Michael Graves incorporates the associative interests of the existing context into the character of the new composition. At Emory University in Atlanta, Michael Graves renovated a historic structure designed in 1916 by the Pittsburgh architect, Henry Hornbostel, now called Michael C. Carlos Hall, to house the Museum of Art and Archaeology as well as faculty offices and classrooms. This award-winning museum, completed in 1985, includes galleries for the University's permanent collection of archaeological artifacts and for temporary art exhibitions. Renovations of The Newark Museum, starting with a 1968 master plan and continuing to major construction being completed in 1987-1989, includes new galleries for the permanent collection, an auditorium, classrooms, a minizoo for the education Department, administrative offices, and support space for storing and curating the collections.

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Title | Adolf Loos | Albert Kahn | Aldo Rossi | Alvar Aalto | Alvaro Siza | Antonio Gaudi | Carlo Scarpa | Eliel Saarinen | Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Owen Gehry | Fumihiko Maki | Gottfried Boehm | Henry Hobson Richardson | Charles Ormond Eames | Christopher Wren | Ieoh Ming Pei
James Stirling | Kenzo Tange | Kevin Roche | Le Corbusier | Louis Henry Sullivan | Louis Isadore Kahn | Ludwig Mies van der Rohe | Luis Barragan
Marcel Breuer | Mario Botta | Michael Graves | Oscar Niemeyer | Paolo Soleri | Renzo Piano | Richard Meier | Robert Venturi | Tadao Ando

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