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.
Posts tagged with "Michael Graves":
The 11th edition of NeoCon East, the sister show to Chicago's summer contract furniture fair, was held October 16 and 17. Despite the government shutdown that legally prevented some GSA employees from attending, more than 7,000 visitors attended the show at Baltimore's Convention Center to peruse the wares of over 250 exhibitors. Keynote addresses from Michael Graves—who launched a new collection of textiles with cf stinson—and Suzanne Tick were augmented with ongoing educational seminars. Tonic Watson Designed in collaboration with San Francisco–based industrial design firm Mike & Maaike, the freestanding benching system (above) is designed with steel and MDF for both durability and flexibility. A center deck can support video and computer monitors, storage, and LED lamps with a concealed four-circuit, eight-wire raceway. Vistas cf stinson New at NeoCon East, the Vistas collection of upholstery and privacy curtains is Michael Graves' third collection with cf stinson. Six unique patterns render abstractions of the natural environment in soothing blue and green tones. Line Davis Part of the Elements accessories collection, Line is a flush-mounted vertical storage component designed by Apartment 8. A slim, recessed stainless steel bar folds down from the top of the beam, with additional hanging storage on three square knobs in vertical succession below. Line comes in 12 vibrant colors, as well as natural oak or walnut. Diffrient Smart Humanscale Designed by the late Niels Diffrient, the eponymous Smart task chair features ergonomic comforts like Humanscale's patented weight-sensitive recline mechanism that automatically adjusts to the weight and height of the sitter. Three panels of proprietary Form-Sensing Mesh adjust to various body sizes, and armrests are attached to the seat back, as opposed to the seat pan, to echo the chair's angle of recline sans additional adjustment. PolyChair Kimball Office A mesh back and seat on the PolyChair provide maximum user comfort and stacking capabilities—30 high on a dolly and 10 on the ground. Available in five different colors, the polished chrome sled base also features black plastic tabs for ganging. Focal Point OFS Available in a variety of sizes, configurations, and color combinations, Focal Point is a power-integrated seating solution for individual work and break-out group sessions. The angle of the back supports lounging posture, while the exaggerated wings provide a sense of user privacy. An optional 6-inch arm is sized for tablet usage at a table-top height. I.D. Freedom Tarkett New at NeoCon East, the line of luxury vinyl planks and tiles comes in 90 SKUs of natural looks, from bamboo to sandstone to steel. Custom shapes can also be specified from Tarkett's Alabama production facility. The collection contains 53 percent pre-consumer recycled content and is FloorScore certified to contribute to healthy indoor air quality. Cork Wolf-Gordon Sourced from the bark of living quercus suber trees, the sustainable upholstery material is naturally stain and water resistant. Wolf-Gordon's cork textiles exceed 100,000 double rubs and come in four natural colors.
From June 21 – 23 architecture and design professionals will flock to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the Dwell on Design tradeshow. With over 2,000 products, 400 exhibitors, 150 speakers, and 30,000 expected attendees, this highly anticipated three-day affair has easily become America’s largest design event. The exhibition features 20,000 square feet of space filled with prefabricated structures that highlight the most important aspects of contemporary design. The show is divided into various sections including Dwell Outdoor, the Tech Zone, the Modern Family Lounge, Furniture, and Kitchen & Bath and features renowned leaders in industrial, home appliance, and furniture design such as Miele, Kohler, GE Monogram, Resource Furniture, and Marimekko. Dwell Media has put together an exciting program for this year’s show, featuring a motivating Keynote Address to be delivered by architect and industrial designer, Michael Graves, who will share how his perspective on design and quality of life was altered as a result of his life-changing illness. Other highlights include an impressive lineup of speakers and panel discussions, the AIA/LA Restaurant Design Awards, the 3rd annual Dwell on Design Awards, two days of Green Car test drives, and Design Clinics that will offer visitors practical advice on architecture, landscape, and inerior design. While the show provides design lovers with numerous reasons to attend, the main attraction remains the prefabs that fill the show floor. Designers construct outdoor environments, complete with fresh greenery and lush vegetation, in an indoor setting. Some of this year’s most prominent exhibitors include Sett Studio, whose design philosophy holds that maximum efficiency can be achieved through a union of design, material, and space, Piece Homes, which balances an eco-friendly home with personal taste, and LivingHomes, which address environmental and urban issues through portable building. Attendees can walk through garden pods, trailers, and outdoor lounges and have their questions answered by The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). For more information visit: http://www.dwellondesign.com/
At J.C. Penney’s recent rebranding launch party, AN spoke with architect and product designer Michael Graves about his new collection for the company and some career highlights. He even offers advice for aspiring architects and designers and talks about some current design work. How did designing a collection for JCPenney come about? I’ve known some of the people at Penney’s since my Target days, so when this opportunity came around we were looking for a way to slow down our commitment to Target at that time. When Penney’s offered what they did to us, we grabbed it in a second. It was such a good deal in terms of having a shop within a store. For me, that’s the game changer. If we were close friends and you told me you had to do some shopping for a relative or something like that, I’d tell you to go to our shop in Penney’s. It’s all there and that’s what excites me. What was your favorite part about designing the collection? Designing the collection. Any challenges you faced with it? Every day you face a challenge; with the materials you’re using, price point, function, appearance. All of that comes together in the quest for good design. But it was wonderful to get to do it and so much fun. People think it’s a struggle and hard work and all of that—and it is—but that’s what’s so gratifying about it is to get to do those things and to make “stuff.” If you had to name a single success of your career thus far, what would it be? That’s a very difficult thing [to answer] because there’s the practice of architecture, there’s the practice and business of product design, there’s health design—which is something we’re engaged in now—there was teaching. But Paul Goldberger or somebody said, “Michael would ultimately be known for the office he made, the people that he produced, the people that came to work at the office then go run a school of architecture somewhere, or when he was teaching how he taught them.” But it’s so hard to say one [element] is worth more than the other because I’ve never thought that way of “what’s the best thing I did,” or “who is my favorite child.” I have a favorite child on given days but designing this [collection] is right up there with everything. To get to open these shops all across the country now and to see what you all say about it will be interesting, as well, because that will really tell us how it’s doing. We will live and die, to some extent, by the consumer’s reaction [to our products]. Penney’s won’t keep it if it doesn’t sell but I think it will do well. Do you have any advice to offer aspiring architects or designers? Yes, two things: read, read, read, and draw, draw, draw. You can’t draw enough. While talking to the new dean of the school of architecture at Princeton, I told him, “I have to draw everyday just like a pianist would have practice the piano everyday.” You have to draw everyday: Once you know how, you can’t suddenly give it up. It’s the same thing with designing. I hate days that I don’t get to work on a building. I go home and I’m in a little bit of a funk because I didn’t get to do my craft that day. I had to give an interview, or talk to students, or talk to a client—all of it interesting. But the thing about my life is that I wouldn’t change it for anything. What excites you about the future of design? What we’re involved in is very exciting and now, especially with healthcare design, we’re really pleased with what’s going on. We’re doing a new hospital in Omaha, Nebraska and I’m so pleased with it. It’s a rehab center and it caters to the whole family, but there are a lot of kids there and kids need their parents. So, when young patients are in the hospital for weeks, at least, we have a place for one or the other of their parents to stay there as well. It’s not just a chair that turns into a bed but a real, little cubbyhole of a room. It’s the first time in hospital design that’s been done. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s going to be a game changer.
Depending on your tendencies toward miracles and/or conspiracies, you may have done a double-take if you saw J.C. Penney’s photographs of its Michael Graves-designed Stainless Steel Teapot. An online opinion that the kettle’s profile evoked Adolf Hitler saluting caught fire… and the now-backordered kettle will be available again on August 28.
Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect's Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. Portland is to America what Copenhagen is to Europe: everyone looks to it as an exemplar cycling city, and it has been continually improving its cycling infrastructure for more than 40 years - the first Bicycle Masterplan was published in 1973. As a result, 6 per cent of Portland commuters now bike to work and the Active Transport Alliance’s annual Bike Commute Challenge attracts over 700 participant companies. Cycling is undoubtably a part of Portland’s culture with its Neighbourhood Greenways, bicycle boulevards, routes across key bridges, safe routes to school and the Eastbank Esplanade - a wide path shared with walkers and joggers overlooking the Willamette river. The city was awarded platinum status by the League of American Bicyclists and acclaimed by Bicycling magazine as number one for cycle-friendliness. It was this reputation that drew us to start our mammoth ride in Portland. In the few days we were in the city preparing for our departure we were able to test out the quality of infrastructure and can report that cycling in Portland feels comfortable, enjoyable and safe, certainly in comparison to London. Although to a bunch of Brits it was not so much the infrastructure that made one feel safe, but the courtesy and calmness of Portland’s car drivers, all who could teach the London cabbie a thing or two about the etiquette of the road. As far as contemporary architecture goes, the city is only known on the other side of the Atlantic as the home of Michael Graves’s Portland Building. It is a building that is so familiar through a millionarchitectural photographs and Jencksian primers that one could draw it without reference, yet the promulgated images totally ignore the building’s context in the city street. Today it sits there comfortably enough, the exterior has worn better than many other POMO icons (although the interiors are low ceilinged and less generous than expected) and one has to rake through the cultural embers of the early 80s to remember what all the fuss was about. While we were in Portland, livable streets activist Mark Gorton rode into to town for a lecture. He’s spreading the message from New York to main streets across the US that it’s time to tame the automobile. Gorton seeks nothing less than an American Streets Renaissance. We were surprised, in the discussion after Gorton’s talk, that locals were concerned that Portland’s own plans for better streets were running out of steam. “Probably the worst thing that could have happened was the Platinum Award from the League of Bicyclists” said Chris DiStefano head of bike outfitters Rapha. “The politicians are now resting on their laurels but there is still a lot to be done.” And other cities are catching up. The next big city we get to on our trans America ride is Minneapolis, whose politicians are eager to knock Portland off its top spot. It’ll take us a month to get there - but we look forward to sampling the Twin Cities’s cycling infrastructure to see just how big a threat they are.
President Obama's second-term White House is still in transition, with Ray LaHood out and rumors of an NTSB replacement, Sally Jewell likely in as Secretary of Interior. Among the non-Cabinet-level appointments, the President appointed Michael Graves to a member of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, an agency "devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities." Graves, who uses a wheelchair after an illness-induced partial paralysis, has been a leader in promoting accessibility in architecture, recently designing prototype houses for wounded and disabled veterans. This month, Graves will also be launching a new line of more than 300 products at retailer J.C. Penney, including kitchen appliances, candlesticks, and a toaster shaped like a piece of toast. The Indianapolis-born architect will return to his hometown on March 28 to give a lecture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and he recently spoke with the Indy Star about delivering papers for the publication as a child, architecture, and the new product line. An exhibition of Graves' work, From Towers to Teakettles, is also on display at the Virginia Center for Architecture through March 31.
All barn jokes aside, this is great news for the Louisville firm of De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop. They received one of the AIA’s Institute Honor Awards for Architecture, allegedly the first Kentucky project to do so since Michael Grave’s cash register, the Humana Building. The barn is an operations facility for Mason Lane Farm and it’s really kind of amazing. Let’s hope that this becomes a rags to riches design story and that we see bigger, more amazing projects coming from De Leon & Primmer. Now that Museum Plaza was knocked off the drawing board, there’s room for a new iconic tower in Louisville. (Photo: Courtesy De Leon & Primmer)
ARZU STUDIO HOPE and live/work furniture company Coalesse have teamed up with six leading architects to design a series of bold rugs and also provide economic opportunities for Afghan women. Chicago-based ARZU first approached Stanley Tigerman and Margaret McCurry to design a collection of contemporary rugs, the proceeds of which support hundreds of rural women and their families through economic activity, and educational and health services. Rug weaving, which takes place in private homes, is one of the few industries where women can work safely. Tigerman and McCurry were so taken with ARZU's mission that they agreed to recruit high profile friends to contribute designs, including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Michael Graves, and Robert A.M. Stern. The resulting Masters Collection ranges to from historically inspired designs that evoke both Louis Sullivan and Islamic art to contemporary, abstract works. The hand-knotted rugs are available to order now.
On June 28th, the academicians of the National Academy welcomed 23 newly elected members, recognized for their contribution to American art and architecture. This year, the nominees included artists working in video, photography, and installation, further reinforcing the National Academy’s mission of promoting art across America. The roster of over 2,000 academicians includes famous pioneers of early American art such as Thomas Cole and seminal architects such as Philip Johnson. This year's inductees include visual artists such as Cindy Sherman and Bruce Nauman and architects Steven Holl and Michael Graves. Chosen annually by their peers, the elected members contributed representative work to the Academy’s permanent collection of over 7,000 artworks, architectural drawings, photographs, and models.
In speaking to wounded veterans and their families, the Wounded Warrior Home Project found that soldiers returning home face a cumbersome and costly adaptation to their environment. A private-public partnership, including Michael Graves and Associates, global design firm IDEO, and Clark Realty Capital, has unveiled two universally-accessible prototype houses at Fort Belvoir in Virginia where every element is designed for ease of use. Sinks and stovetops are on motorized lifts, halls and doorways accommodate a wide turning radius for navigating wheelchairs, sliding doors open with a light touch. Architect Michael Graves, who was left paralyzed after an illness almost a decade ago, wanted the space to offer independence and dignity to returning soldiers. For example, the design team concluded through conversations with wounded veterans that the therapy room should be secluded from the rest of the living space to offer privacy and retreat; at the same time, the need for visibility inside and outside the house for security and to keep track of playing children necessitates wide windows and clear doors within the house. These homes are intended to be both starting points for future dialogue on accessibility and laboratories for continuing research as more accessible homes are built.
The small world of classicist architecture in America--where many former Postmodernists found refuge after the dial of taste turned away from jokey historical references and pasted-on pediments--is working overtime to rehabilitate the 70s and 80s stylistic counter reformation. First was the recent conference, "Reconsidering Postmodernism," organized by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which brought out many of the movement's old stars for presentations, chats, and a lot of hand wringing. Today, the Chicago-based Richard H. Driehaus Foundation announced that Michael Graves was this year's winner of the $200,000 Driehaus Prize. Graves has enjoyed a remarkable career, designing office towers, cultural buildings, and hotels around the world, along with iconic furniture and housewares for Target. His footprint has been vast, and his populist designs appeal to people across global cultures through abstracted historical references that often draw on classical or vernacular forms. Administered by the University of Notre Dame's School of Architecture--itself an outpost of classical architectural education--the Driehaus Prize "honors lifetime contributions to traditional, classical, and sustainable architecture and urbanism in the modern world," according to a statement. Graves is having quite a good couple of weeks. His breakthrough Portland Building was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. “Michael Graves has enhanced not just the architecture profession with his talent and scholarship, but everyday life itself through his inspiring attention to beautiful and accessible design,” said Michael Lykoudis, Driehaus Prize Jury Chair and dean of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, in a statement. The Foundation also announced that Elizabeth Barlow Rogers will receive the $50,000 Henry Hope Reed Prize, which is given "given to an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the cultivation of the traditional city, its architecture and art through writing, planning or promotion." Rogers, currently president of the Foundation for Landscape Studies, served as the administrator of Central Park and was the founder of the Central Park Conservancy, which became a national model for public/private partnerships for restoring open spaces. She is also the author of several books on landscape, including the National Book Award nominated book The Forests and Wetlands of New York City.