Famed Architect Michael Graves Dies At Age 80

Famed architect Michael Graves died Thursday in his Princeton, New Jersey, home, reported his company Michael Graves Architecture and Design.

Michael Graves was 80 years old when he passed away on Marh 12. In those 80 years, Graves had helped revolutionize the world of architecture and, in the process, developed a very reputable name for himself. His first impact upon the architectural realm came about in the form of contributions to modernism. Thought an exact definition for what constitutes modernistic architecture is arguably unattainable, the National Trust For Historic Preservation has the following to say about the style.

“Trying to define modernism can be a frustrating exercise. As a style, it is less coherent, its boundaries looser, than, say, classicism. Many critics would argue that modernism is not even a singular style, that it incorporates a great variety of aesthetics and sensibilities.”

With such a loose construct defining the style in which Graves first wet his architectural palate, it can certainly be said that Graves began his career with a certain level of dis-concern for the norms of architecture. This dis-concern continued on, reports the New York Times, into his most defining endeavors within the stylistic school of postmodernism.

Like modernism, an exact definition of postmodernism is difficult to come by. In response to this difficulty, Saylor Academy offers the following overview in an article posted to its website.

“Postmodernity in architecture is said to be heralded by the return of ‘wit, ornament and reference’ to architecture in response to the formalism of the International Style of modernism. As with many cultural fashions, some of Postmodernism’s most pronounced and visible ideas can be seen in architecture. The functional and formalized shapes and spaces of the modernist style are replaced by diverse aesthetics: styles collide, form is adopted for its own sake, and new ways of viewing familiar styles and space abound.”

Micahel Graves' Humana Building
Team Disney

This willingness, if not desire, to forgo the normality of the architectural world was echoed throughout the career of Graves. Some of Graves most iconic work (some of which are pictured above) included the Portland (Oregon) Building, the Team Disney Building, and the Humana Building in Louisville, Kentucky.

Michael Graves Architecture & Design reported that Michael Graves passing was both sudden and peaceful. The announcement posted by Grave’s architectural company would also go onto state that the famed Architect died of natural causes.

[Featured Image credit to Style Weekly, Body Image 1 credit to skyscrapercity.com, Body Image 2 credit to WTTW]