• Michael Graves arrived in Princeton in 1962, when university offered him
first ‘real’ job.
• He had worked briefly for architect George Nelson in New York before
spending two years at American Academy in Rome, a sojourn which was to
have the most profound influence on his mature architecture.
• Michael Graves and his two firms have received over 200 awards for
design excellence in architecture, planning, interior design, product design
and graphic design. Graves is the recipient of the 2001 Gold Medal of the
American Institute of Architects.
• Michael Graves is considered as one of the five architects, known as ‘New
York Five’, which includes (Eisenman, Graves, Meier, Hejduk and Charles
• Michael Graves house in the university town of
Princeton, New Jersey, is a highly personal work by
an architect best known for large-scale projects.
• The residence is being renovated from a ruined
warehouse. So Graves often address his house as
• Modest in scale and virtually invisible from the public street, the
‘Warehouse’ is nonetheless a symbol of Graves’ passionate belief in an
architecture which is both natural and humane. Its quiet grandeur reflects
his final rejection of the machine aesthetic of the Modern Movement.
• The house is a personal statement and a private retreat, where Graves
keep the furniture, pictures, books, sculptures and other objects
accumulated during a lifetime of collecting.
• Graves like John Soane, sees his house as a place to display his collections,
which will one day be available to the interested public. John Soane’s
museum house has always been an inspiration for Graves.
• The warehouse is an L-shaped building, consisting of a northern wing and
an eastern wing.
• The original north wing, hidden from the street, had large doors where
trucks regularly disgorged loads of household accessories.
• The later wing, at right angle, was much narrower. It was here that Graves
first made his home. He installed a kitchen and bathroom and lived like a
student at first.
• In mid eighties with his practice booming, he tackled the northern wing,
bringing in other members of his office to assist and began work on the
garden. This second phase of work took four years and was followed by a
year of work in the kitchen wing.
• The formal inauguration of house take place in 1992, when a conference
of US Governors took place in Princeton and Graves held a garden party
for the Governors’ spouses.
• The exterior has a quiet monumentality, which derives from the
vernacular barns and farmhouses of the Italian countryside.
• Graves have rejected ‘canonic’ classicism in favour of a freer and more
‘natural’ approach to design and stresses that the house is intended as a
practical place to live rather than a monument, despite his long term plans
to preserve it and possibly house an archive of his work there.
• The elevation of the house cannot be read in terms of conventional
classical design. Informal and vernacular in inspiration, they equally have
an almost Cubist abstraction which suggests connection with Graves’
• The chimney stack in particular, is a boldly expressed sculptural design.
• The unity of house and garden is key theme. Graves seeks an idealized
landscape, recalling those he loves to paint in Italy, and planting is
subordinated to an overall architectural intent. The warm and slightly
irregular texture of the stucco, contributes greatly to the overall effect of
• Highly sculptural in treatment and rigorous in its exclusion of ornament,
the Warehouse looks beyond replication and more genuine
• The entrance court at the house is a dynamic and yet comfortable space,
open to the sky and preparing guests for the relatively low and intense
• The dining room looks into this space, which has an agreeable ‘inside/out’
• The Library is placed such that it behaves as connecting area between
Living room and East garden.
• The library has a sense of verticality and highly architectural in treatment,
like a street of colonnaded buildings.
• Skylight enlightens the volume of the library from the top.
WORKSPACE | STUDY
• The house is close to Graves’ office, but he occasionally works in here and
keeps a small functional study room on the first floor.
• He often expresses himself in the delicate, enigmatic water colours he
paints, on his tours.
• Study room is lit by the square window on the front wall.
• Graves’ living room is equally
made for comfort rather than
mere show. The relatively low
floor to ceiling heights in the
building – dictated by the
original structure – have been
cleverly utilized to produce
interiors of some intensity.
• Alcoves to the living room are
distinctly Soanean in form, but
reflects the dimension of
original store rooms used by
Princeton students to store
everything from books to grand
• A terra-cotta-colored wall sets
off furnishings that range from
antiques to chairs designed by
• The dining room is lit by tall
metal framed windows which
look onto the courtyard which
seems to form a natural
extension to the space.
• The chimney-piece has an
austerity which is more
Modernist than Classical.
• Many of the accessories in this
room were sold as Grand Tour
souvenirs a century ago.
Michael designed the glassand-metal centerpiece vessel
for Steuben (Manufacturer of
handmade art glass and
• The Warehouse is a highly personal building, which expresses not just
Michael Graves, master builder, but equally Graves the sceptic and
questioner of orthodoxies, whether modern or ‘traditional’. The house is
clearly both modern and traditional.
• If its plan is essentially Classical and its use of light and shade specifically
Soanean, the easy flow of the spaces and the essential informality of the
building provide a reminder of its architect’s roots in the Modern
• The Warehouse is indeed, a clear statement of a lively traditionalism
which remains a powerful strand in contemporary American design.
• Its quiet beauty is the work of a man who has played a key role in
reshaping the face of architecture in the late twentieth century.
• Michael Graves was commissioned in 1990 to renovate and design an
extension to the Denver Central Library.
• Sitting adjacent to Denver Art Museum, the Denver Central Library stands
as the 8th largest library in the United States.
• The 405,000 s.f. addition to the existing library allows for the original
building designed by Burnham Hoyt in 1956 to maintain its own identity.
So much so that Graves’ addition and the original library are two parts in
a larger composition that are connected by a three story atrium.
• The expansive atrium serves as a new main entrance that becomes the
main focal point for visitor orientation and circulation to either wing of the
• For a post-modern building, the
interior of the library is fairly
conservative when it comes to the
• Most of the spaces appear as
traditional library spaces
composed of natural wood
evoking a sense of grandeur and
• Only in the reading rooms is there
any trace of the post-modern
• One begins to understand the
abstracted colonnades, vaulting,
and colorful painting creating
more of a fun learning
environment rather than a stark,
serious library space.
• The Denver Central Library may be one of the first library’s to function
more than just a library.
• In addition to the extensive literary collections, the library functions as a
community gathering space consisting of multipurpose rooms, meeting
facilities, shops, a café, and a special “museum-like” collection on the
• he Denver Central Library sits affixed in Downtown Denver as not only an
academic institution, but as part of a larger cultural epicenter.
• The Maritime Xperiential Museum is an iconic structure that draws its
inspiration from sea-going vessels and thus embodies the stories
contained in the exhibits and programs presented inside.
• Throughout the day, the shadows and dappled light cast by the ribbed
frame will enliven the interior exhibits.
• The interactive exhibits and the circular 300-seat Typhoon Theater,
provide a wide variety of experiences for visitors.
• The exhibit focuses on the maritime Silk Route, which historically
stretched from Southeast Asia to Oman. Geographically, Singapore is an
important part of this history.
• The Museum is set back from the water’s edge by an esplanade with a
covered pedestrian loggia that allows visitors to enjoy the view of the
mainland across the bay.
• At night, when viewed from the water, the glass facade of the Museum
will reveal the brightly-lit interior, becoming a beacon on the water and a
landmark on the horizon.
• West of the Museum, a small marina will display examples of sailing
vessels, a tourist attraction in its own right, which lends an air of
authenticity to the museum complex.
• The Museum and Marina are
thematically linked to the adjacent
outdoor Marine Life Park and form
a rich tourist experience focused
on the sea, marine life and
• Along the waterfront at the base
of Universal Plaza is the
Showplace Theater, with large
stone steps creating a seating area
for 2,000 people.
With views across the bay to the
main island, this is the location of
the Crane Dance, a nightly sound
and light show in the water that
epitomizes the fun and drama of
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