Michael Graves


1934 - 2015

Born in Indianapolis in 1934, Michael Graves studied at the University of Cincinnati and at Harvard University. After setting up his studio in 1964, Arthur Drexler invited him to the Conference of Architecture for the Study of the Environment (CASE) along with Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk, and Richard Meier, to detect the possible existence of a ‘New York school.’ This group of architects, who turned the attention to the Modern Movement of the 1920s and 1930s, were baptized ‘The New York Five.’ However, around the year 1975 Graves’s principles shifted and he embraced the historicism-charged figurative language of the postmodern style, of which he became the foremost representative. During this period, inaugurated with the trompe-l’oeil painted on the wall of the Schulman House (1976), he completed works like the Portland Building (1980) and the Humana Tower in Louisville (1984), which would become landmarks of postmodern architecture. Graves spent the last years of his life in a wheelchair and passed away at 80 years of age in Princeton, where he taught during forty years.

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