Michael Graves

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For the American audio engineer, see Michael Graves (audio engineer). For the poker player, see Michael Graves (poker player). For the singer-songwriter, see Michale Graves.
Michael Graves
Arq Michael Graves.jpg
Born (1934-07-09) July 9, 1934 (age 80)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Nationality American
Awards Driehaus Architecture Prize
Buildings Portland Building, Denver Public Library, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts

Michael Graves (born July 9, 1934) is an American architect. Identified as one of The New York Five, as well as Memphis Group, Graves was known first for his contemporary building designs and some prominent public commissions, such as the Portland Building and the Denver Public Library. He has since gained additional recognition designing domestic products sold at Target stores in the United States. He is a representative of New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture and formerly designed postmodern buildings.

Personal life[edit]

Graves was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended Broad Ripple High School, receiving his diploma in 1952. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati where he also became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He earned a master's degree in architecture from Harvard University.

Since 2003, Graves has been paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a spinal cord infection.[1]


The Engineering Research Center, University of Cincinnati
Graves kettle, 1984

An architect in public practice in Princeton, New Jersey, since 1964, Graves is also the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University. He directs the firm Michael Graves & Associates, which has offices in Princeton and in New York City. One of his most famous works, the Portland Building, is regarded as the first major example of postmodern architecture.

Graves and his firm have earned critical acclaim for a wide variety of commercial and residential buildings and interior design, although some occupants of the buildings object to the confined views caused by signature features such as small or circular windows and squat columns. Graves was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1979. In 1999 Graves was awarded the National Medal of Arts, in 2001 the AIA Gold Medal, in 2010 the AIA Topaz Medal, and in 2012 the Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council.[2]

The Portland Building in Oregon, 1982

In 2000 he designed the unique scaffolding used for the restoration of the Washington Monument in D.C.. During that assignment, which Target Corp. sponsored, he met a Target executive that appreciated his product design and a relationship was formed. He began designing consumer products for the mass market and Target sold his products through their stores. Concerned about Target's partnerships with other designers with less-successful outcomes, he explored other relationships to bring products to consumers. When the former Target executive became CEO of JCPenney, his products switched over to being sold exclusively through J.C. Penney.

He is still active in his practice, which is developing a number of projects; including an addition to the Detroit Institute of Arts, and a large Integrated Resort, Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore.

In 2010, Graves was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[3]

In November 2014, the Architectural League of New York held a symposium in his honor, with architects such as Steven Holl and Peter Eisenman as guests.


Team Disney building in Burbank, California, 1986
The Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, 1987
NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis, Indiana, 1997
Steigenberger Hotel in El Gouna, Egypt, in association with Ahmed Hamdy, 1997
The International Finance Corporation Building in Washington, D.C., 1992 - 1997, 2005
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia, 2005
425 Fifth Avenue in New York, New York, 2000


External links[edit]