Fun fact: there's a set of fully furnished rooms, designed by Michael Graves, that lives in storage at the Brooklyn Museum. Built between 1979 and 1981 for Susan and John Reinhold, the suite within their duplex at 101 Central Park West was donated to the museum when the couple divorced in 1986. Preserved in situ, the rooms are a rare surviving example of interior postmodern architecture. The couple, prominent members of the art world, asked Graves to turn a bedroom into a playroom for the couple's daughter, and remodel the guest suite into a library. Prior to Graves, however, the Reinholds gave their apartment star treatment: the first renovation was done by Robert A.M. Stern and John Hagmann in 1971. Stern and Hagmann removed walls, ceilings, and thresholds in the unit to create a smooth, all white interior. Graves' renovation complemented the previous one with a pale blue, yellow, brown, and white palette. The library was modeled on a basilica, the central nave flanked by aisles of bookcases. Except for one, the bookcases are styled into pared-down columns. The top of each column conceals a light fixture, adding a soft glow that is complemented by the coffered ceiling, its topmost section painted blue. Graves placed a Corbusier-inspired mural of his own design in the space where an alter would have been. The materials throughout were ordinary plywood and sheetrock. In the bedroom, the bookcase/pilasters theme from the library carries over. Segmented columns separate lightly delineate the space while still maintaining an open flow. The Reinhold's daughter praised the design overall, but complained that the shelves were not wide enough for her records and books. See the gallery below for more images of Graves' suite.
Posts tagged with "Michael Graves":
Driving through Miami Beach on Florida’s A1A highway, one cannot help but notice the particular brand of American beach culture passing by—an eclectic architectural mix of decades-old spring break destinations, vintage art deco buildings, and glossy new condo developments. A one-mile stretch of Miami Beach, for example, contains 14 mid-century structures including five of Morris Lapidus’s flamboyant resorts, while the blocks between 32nd and 36th streets are home to a burgeoning $1 billion arts, cultural, and residential development involving Foster + Partners, OMA, and Philippe Starck. If you manage to escape this commotion and continue north, you will hit Fort Lauderdale. Here—just 23 miles up the road, but in a comparatively calmer setting—is one of Michael Graves’s last built works: a nautically inspired, ocean liner-like structure known today as the Ocean Resort Residences. The project was initially developed as the Trump International Hotel & Tower Fort Lauderdale, but development halted during the 2008 financial crisis. The building fell under foreclosure about six months from its scheduled opening. Graves’s office pulled out of the project and the building sat vacant for four years until CFLB Group purchased it with plans to develop it into a Conrad, Hilton's luxury brand. Many groups have had a hand in the shaping and repositioning of this building, overlaying their own political agendas and recasting narratives that freshen up the experience for today’s evolving luxury market. Prior to reselling the property, the bank repainted Graves’ contextual pastel sky blue and sandy beach tan scheme a stark modern white, presumably to make the building more marketable to luxury condo buyers. After acquiring the building, Conrad spent the next two years completely reimagining Graves’ interiors. The project is now in its third interior design scheme and is finally nearing completion. Conrad’s revamped interiors pair Graves’ nautical inspiration for the exterior with thematic yacht-like detailing through custom material selections and furnishings like teak wood paneling, leather trim, and furnishings such as modified marine table lifts re-contextualized into dining room tables. Today, as the Ocean Resort Residences are set to open to the public, we are reminded of Graves’s associations with Le Corbusier and the New York Five. Whether intentional or not, the Ocean has brought Michael Graves’s career full circle. We owe this to the unlikeliest of sources: the foreclosure bank that left its mark on the building by painting it white. Michael Graves’s career began with his participation in the New York Five, a group of architects nicknamed “The Whites” by the press primarily because their work resembled more neutral white abstract forms. The projects of the Whites were a series of built houses which borrowed largely from early Corbusian-inspired form. Despite the nickname, the Whites held a very strong interest in the use of color in the work of Michael Graves and John Hejduk. In fact, Graves had claimed in interviews that his early houses were intended to be colored but that his clients rejected such schemes in favor of all white exteriors. Graves’s career evolved beyond the New York Five era, adopting an architectural language aligned with a commercial populism: design for the masses centered around colorful and legible, yet abstracted, classical forms. The story here is ultimately not about Graves’ contribution to the architectural scene along the A1A, nor the fact that this building is one of the last that he ever designed. Rather, it is about a disciplinary question of legacy, authorship, and narrative. Would it be correct to call the 2015 posthumous Conrad version of this building a Michael Graves project, or should we avert our eyes, referring instead only to sketches and a few marketing photos of the incomplete Trump version which no longer exists? Graves’s contribution here is not a tangible building, but rather a narrative about contextualism. In the end, what we are left with is a sail-like gridded white facade, and a thematized luxurious interior loaded with a fresh new amenities package that perhaps even Le Corbusier would enjoy.
The last project Michael Graves completed for Alessi references one of his earliest creations for the company: The 9093 kettle, better known as the Bird Teakettle. To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the iconic piece, the late architect designed a new component for what's being called the Tea Rex kettle. In January 2015, Graves explained the development of this update. "In bird years, thirty is equivalent to Methuselah's life span!" Graves said, describing his new design for the Dragon Whistle. "So when Alberto Alessi asked me to design a new whistle to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of our teakettle, I imagined a new evolution in the history of our kettle. One where our little bird might transform into a super-hero: a reptilian creature that is at once prehistoric, mythological, and futuristic." "I chose the dragon imagery and its jade green color because of the rich cultural heritage found in Chinese folklore that uses the dragon to symbolize power and good luck," Graves said. "Our dragon is friendly and he decidedly does not breathe fire, but perhaps lets off a little steam! He has a smile on his face, an easy-to-hear whistle, and a wing span that makes it easy to remove him from our teakettle when the water boils. We hope our dragon will proudly protect our kettle and your kitchen for years to come." Two versions of Tea Rex are offered: one with a jade green whistle and one—a limited edition of 9,999—with a brass, metallic-finish whistle.
The Cooper Hewitt has announced the winners of its 16th annual National Design Awards. The program was launched in 2000 as part of the White House Millennium Council to "promote design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world." First Lady Michelle Obama is serving as the Honorary Patron for the 2015 awards that are accompanied by a series of programs, educational events, and panels. “With the reopening of the museum this past year, Cooper Hewitt is scaling new heights to educate, inspire and empower our community through design,”said Cooper Hewitt director Caroline Baumann in a statement. “I am thrilled and honored to welcome this year’s class of National Design Award winners, all of whom represent the pinnacle of innovation in their field, with their focus on collaboration, social and environmental responsibility, and the fusion of technology and craftsmanship.” This year, the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded posthumously to Michael Graves, the famous architect and designer who passed away at the age of 80 in March. In a statement, Cooper Hewitt said the renowned postmodernist is credited with "broadening the role of architects and raising public interest in good design as essential to the quality of everyday life." Graves founded his eponymous firm in 1964, and in more recent years had focused on using architecture and design to improve healthcare. Here is a look at the other 2015 Cooper Hewitt Design Awards winners. Director's Award: Jack Lenor Larsen
From Cooper Hewitt: "Jack Lenor Larsen is an internationally renowned textile designer, author and collector, and one of the world’s foremost advocates of traditional and contemporary crafts.Design Mind: Rosanne Haggerty
From Cooper Hewitt: "For 30 years, Rosanne Haggerty has worked to demonstrate the potential of design to improve the lives of people living in poverty through affordable housing and human services."Corporate & Institutional Achievement: Heath Ceramics
From Cooper Hewitt: "For more than 60 years, Heath Ceramics has been known for handmade ceramic tableware and architectural tile that embody creativity and craftsmanship, elevate the everyday and enhance the way people eat, live and connect."Architecture Design: MOS Architects
From Cooper Hewitt: "MOS Architects is a New York-based architecture studio, founded by principals Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith in 2005. ... Recent projects include four studio buildings for the Krabbesholm Højskole campus in Skive, Denmark; the Museum of Outdoor Arts Element House visitor center in Englewood, Colo., the Floating House on Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada, and the Lali Gurans Orphanage and Learning Center in Kathmandu, Nepal."Communication Design: Project Projects
From Cooper Hewitt: "Founded by Prem Krishnamurthy and Adam Michaels in 2004, Project Projects is a graphic design studio in New York, N.Y., focusing on art, architecture and culture. Combining a rigorously conceptual approach with innovative modes of visual communication, the studio’s work encompasses a wide range of contemporary graphic media."Fashion Design: threeASFOUR
From Cooper Hewitt: "Recognized as one of the most innovative fashion labels today, threeASFOUR was founded in New York City in 2005 by Gabriel Asfour, Angela Donhauser and Adi Gil, who hail from Lebanon, Tajikistan and Israel, respectively."Interaction Design: John Underkoffler
From the Cooper Hewitt: "John Underkoffler is a user-interface designer and computer scientist. His work insists that capabilities critical to humans living in a digital world can come only from careful evolution of the human-machine interface."Interior Design: Commune
From Cooper Hewitt: "Commune is a Los Angeles-based design studio with a reputation for working holistically across the fields of architecture, interior design, graphic design, product design and brand management."Landscape Architecture:Landscape Architecture: Coen + Partners
From Cooper Hewitt: "Founded by Shane Coen in 1991, Coen + Partners is a renowned landscape architecture practice based in Minneapolis. Through a process of collaboration, experimentation and questioning, the firm’s work embraces the complexities of each site with quiet clarity and ecological integrity."Product Design: Stephen Burks
From Cooper Hewitt: "For more than a decade, Stephen Burks has dedicated his work to building a bridge between authentic craft traditions, industrial manufacturing and contemporary design."
Famed postmodernist architect Michael Graves died of natural causes today at his Princeton, New Jersey home. The architect's passing was announced by the eponymous firm that he founded in 1964. Graves was 80 years old. "For those of us who had the opportunity to work closely with Michael, we knew him as an extraordinary designer, teacher, mentor and friend," said the firm in a statement. "For the countless students that he taught for more than 40 years, Michael was an inspiring professor who encouraged everyone to find their unique design voice. Of all of his accomplishments, Michael often said that, like his own family, his proudest creation was his firm. As we go forward in our practice, we will continue to honor Michael’s humanistic design philosophy through our commitment to creating unique design solutions that transform people’s lives." Among his highest profile projects were the Portland Building in Oregon and the Humana Building in Louisville, Kentucky. Recently, he had devoted his practice to healthcare design and architecture for people with disabilities. He was also famous for bringing his industrial designs to mass production through his collaboration with Target and later J.C. Penney. Plans for a public memorial in Princeton to honor Graves will be announced soon.
[Editor's Note: This post was written by Edward Gunts and James Russiello.] The Portland Building, once considered for demolition, will be spared from the wrecking ball and renovated, according to its architect. Michael Graves, the building’s architect, said in late November that city officials have decided to renovate it for continued use as municipal offices and have asked him to serve on a committee that will coordinate the redesign effort. AN spoke to Graves at a symposium organized by the Architectural League of New York. “It’s going to be saved,” Graves said. “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.” Graves added that a time frame for the work has not been set but “I would imagine in the next year we’ll do something.” Dana Haynes, communications director for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, confirmed that the Portland Building is not under threat of demolition and will continue to house city employees. He said Portland's annual capital budget process will begin in January and city officials likely will begin to look at what resources the city might have to address flaws with the building at that time. Haynes said he was not aware that Graves had been asked to serve on a commission to help oversee work on the building, but he said he thought that made sense. Graves’ comments about the building’s status came two months after he made an impassioned plea during a public forum in Portland that the building be spared from the wrecking ball. He said that he believes the public debate over the building’s fate and his proactive preservation stance had a role in the outcome. “I think that was a big part of it,” he said. “They didn’t want to be known as the society that tore down the Portland Building.” City officials in Portland, Oregon have been exploring options for ways to address a series of flaws with the 32-year-old building, from leaks to unpleasant working conditions to questions about its ability to withstand an earthquake. More than one city commissioner has suggested demolition. The city’s internal business services division has recommended that the building be overhauled rather than scrapped. The mayor’s office has not officially disclosed what the city plans to do to address the building’s shortcomings. The 15-story building houses about 1,300 employees. Adjacent to City Hall, it is considered one of the first major America examples of Postmodernism. Constructed for about $25 million and opened in 1982, the Portland Building drew widespread attention for its classically-inflected exterior. Colored in blue, green, salmon and cream, it features a range of decorative flourishes as well as a statue called Portlandia, and it stands out in a city where the architecture is mostly sedate and often unadorned. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, the building also has been criticized for providing a dark, claustrophobic and generally unpleasant place to work and transact business with the city. There have been complaints about its small tinted windows that don’t let in much natural light, leaks, low ceilings, and an unimpressive lobby. To address the complaints, city officials have been pondering a series of options, ranging from renovating the building to moving the employees elsewhere and razing it. Cost estimates for repairing the building have ranged from $38 million to $95 million. According to The Oregonian newspaper, the high figure was based on analysis by the city’s Office of Management and Finance. The $95 million figure included the cost of relocating employees while work was underway and providing alternative space. Much of the cost would go to address structural issues such a making the building more capable of withstanding a major earthquake. The numbers have prompted some city commissioners to discuss the possibility that the building be sold or razed and replaced rather than have the city and its taxpayers spend more money to correct its shortcomings. The estimated cost of tearing the building down and building a new structure is $110 million to $400 million, according to finance office figures obtained by The Oregonian. Graves said that he doesn’t agree with the $95 million estimate for the renovation work and believes the problems can be addressed for much less. “It‘s not $90 million,” he said. “Somebody threw that out to see …if it would stick. It wasn’t true at all. It’s $38 million.” In the past, Graves has also said that although the window dimensions are fixed, it would be possible to replace the tinted glass with clear panes. Another way to keep costs down, he said, is renovating the building floor by floor, rather than emptying it out all at once and finding temporary space for the employees.
Michael Graves: Past As Prologue Grounds for Sculpture 19 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, NJ Through April 5, 2015 Celebrating 50 years of practice in art, architecture, and design, Michael Graves is the subject of a pair of exhibitions and an upcoming symposium at the Architectural League of New York. The largest of the shows is Past is Prologue, at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. It presents lesser-known early works from the mid-1960s, his blockbuster works from the 1980s, to his current work, which ranges from architecture, to product design, to leading edge-work on accessibility issues. Uniting all these works is Graves’ interest—sometimes reverent, sometimes irreverent—in the images and forms of the past, and how he continuously reinterprets them for the future. A companion show, Michael Graves Paintings: Landscapes and Still-Lifes, will be on view at Studio Vendome in Manhattan.
This Saturday, Kean University, in Union, New Jersey, will launch the Michael Graves School of Architecture in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Michael Graves Architecture & Design. Over his career, Graves has racked up an impressive list of architectural accolades including the AIA Gold Medal, the National Medal of the Arts, and the Driehaus Prize for Architecture. The new school will be housed in the university's dramatic Green Lane Academic Building, designed by the Gruskin Group. Graves is designing a new facility for his school at the university's campus in Wenzhou, China. 'I think [it's] an A-plus," said Graves referring to his Wenzhou campus, in a video released by the university. "It's one of my better buildings, if not my best building. We're really pleased with it."
After two-and-a-half years of repairs, the Washington Monument is officially back open to the public. The District’s tallest structure had been closed since 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake sent more than 150 cracks shooting through the 555-feet of marble. At the cost of $15 million—which was financed by the federal government and a private donation—all of the monument’s damaged stones were either removed or resealed, and the 55-story elevator was repaired. Some of the monument’s new marble even came out of the same Maryland quarry that supplied material for the structure when it was first built over 100 years ago. During construction, the structure was wrapped in 500 tons of scaffolding, which was designed by Michael Graves. At night, the supportive envelope was entirely lit up and appeared like hundreds of glowing bricks. To celebrate the re-opening, AN's editors gathered up 22 of the most beautiful photos of the Washington Monument through the years, dating all the way back to the beginning. Take a look below. (And also check out the monument's moving shadows on Google Maps.)
The architect of Omaha’s new rehabilitation hospital says his own paralysis has given him “greater empathy,” which has informed his designs for the healthcare industry. Local firm DLR Group and Texas-based engineering firm Page are working with Michael Graves, who lost the use of his legs in 2003 as the result of an infection, on the $93 million Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in west Omaha. Expected to be complete in 2016, the facility will use technology to afford sedentary patients greater control over the TV, thermostat, nurse call system, and other things in their room. Omaha’s World-Herald describes how Graves, 79, drew from personal experience while designing the 250,000-square-foot hospital:
Giving patients some control over their environment is important, said Graves and Patrick Burke, a principal in Graves' firm. Graves recalled one instance early in his rehab when he was being transferred from his bed to a chair using a motorized sling. “I was getting into the chair that day and I was up in the air, in a sitting position over my chair but not in it yet. The nurse's aide's friend came in and said, 'It's time for our break.' So they left me there dangling in the air and they went on a break. That's as low as it gets.”The average stay at Madonna is more than 30 days, but residents tend to be more mobile than many hospital patients. That creates a need for active social spaces, Graves said, but also a pitfall: many architects want hospitals to resemble hotels. “Well, I don’t,” he told the Omaha World-Herald's Bob Glissmann. “I don't think it needs a big atrium and I don't think the rooms have to look like a hotel room. These are hospital rooms, and you want to have good care. What makes the difference is the empathy.”
Speaking of zombies, two of Downtown LA’s most long-stalled projects appear to be rising from the dead. The mixed-use project revolving around Julia Morgan’s beautiful Herald Examiner Building on Broadway is apparently finally getting underway, now developed by Forest City, and no longer designed by Morphosis. The designer has yet to be revealed. Also Metropolis, a multi-building megaproject designed at one point by Michael Graves back in the 1990s, is apparently being brought back by Gensler. Of course downtown giveth and downtown taketh away. We hear that Johnson Fain, who were previously designing the Bloc development, a makeover of the former Macy’s Plaza, is no longer on the project. Studio One Eleven are now, according to a project spokesperson, “moving forward with implementation.” Johnson Fain had been “engaged to assist with the development of the concept and to oversee the schematic design phase of the Bloc.” Too bad they couldn’t finish the job.
If several Portland city commissioners have their way Michael Graves' alternately loved and hated Portland Building (1982), now facing a $95 million renovation, will be torn down. One of the most famous examples of postmodern architecture in the United States, the 15-story, 31-year-old structure is known for its small square windows, exaggerated historical motifs, playful, varied materials, gaudy colors, and, of course, its cameo on the opening to the show Portlandia (also the name of the larger-than-life statue over the building's front door). While a few elements have been renovated in recent years, most of the building is in bad shape, and residents aren't exactly lining up to save it. Several city officials, writes the Atlantic Cities, have come out against making any more investments in it. And so the question is raised: Can a building be considered too important to tear down even if most people don't like it? Paul Goldberger, in his New York Times review of the building in 1982, called it "The most compelling architectural event of the year...It reminds us that the movement that has come to be known as Postmodernism has become vastly more than a curiosity. Now, at the end of 1982, it is unquestionably something that is having a genuine effect on the cityscape." The final decision will take months, but stay tuned to the fate of a building that everybody has an opinion about.