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b. July 9, 1934) is an American architect. Identified as one of The New York Five, Graves has achieved his greatest fame with his designs for domestic household items sold at Target stores in the United States.

Graves was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended Broad Ripple High School, receiving his diploma in 1950. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree from Harvard University.

An architect in private practice in Princeton, New Jersey since 1964, Graves is also the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University. He directs the firm Michael Graves & Associates, which has offices in Princeton and in New York City. In addition to his popular line of household items, Graves and his firm have earned acclaim for a wide variety of commercial and residential buildings and interior design. In 1999 Graves was awarded the National Medal of Arts and in 2001 the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects.

In 2003, an infection of unknown origin (possible bacterial meningitis) left Graves paralyzed from the waist down. He is still active in his practice, which is currently involved in a number of projects, including an addition to the Detroit Institute of Arts.


American architect Michael Graves has been in the forefront of architectural design since he
founded his practice in Princeton, New Jersey in 1964. As Robert Schirmer Professor of
Architecture, Emeritus, at Princeton University, where he taught for almost 40 years, Graves
is an influential theorist as well as a diversified and prolific designer. Since the early 1980s,
his work directly influenced the transformation of urban architecture from the abstraction of
commercial modernism toward an interest in context. Hailed in the New York Times by critic
Paul Goldberger as “truly the most original voice American architecture has produced in
some time,” Graves has been the recipient of several of the most prestigious awards ever
conferred upon architects in the United States. These include the 2001 Gold Medal of the
American Institute of Architects, the 1999 National Medal of Arts (a Presidential Award),
and the $50,000 Frank Annunzio Award from the Christopher Columbus Fellowship
His firm, Michael Graves & Associates, with over 100 employees in offices in Princeton, New
Jersey and New York City, has a highly diverse, international practice in architecture,
interior design, product design, and graphic design. In addition to Michael Graves as its
President, the firm is owned and managed by six Principals, who have been with the firm for
an average of 18 years. In order of seniority, the Principals of the firm are: Michael Graves,
Karen Nichols, Patrick Burke, Gary Lapera, Thomas Rowe, John Diebboll and Susan
Howard. The practice is organized as a series of studios: four architecture studios led by
Principals, an interior design studio, and several product design studios. Michael Graves
collaborates with studio heads and other in-house designers on every project.
The architectural practice encompasses a wide variety of building types, including largescale
mixed-use projects; office buildings and corporate headquarters; university buildings
of various types; civic institutions such as courthouses and municipal buildings; educational
and cultural facilities such as public libraries, museums, and theaters; hotels and resorts;
facilities for sports, entertainment and retail enterprises; healthcare facilities; apartment
buildings; and single-family residences.
Among Graves’ well-known projects is The Humana Building, a corporate headquarters
tower in Louisville, Kentucky, which, in addition to receiving local and national AIA design
awards, was cited by TIME Magazine as one of “the 10 best buildings of the decade [1980s].”
Other notable buildings are Disney’s corporate headquarters in Burbank, California, the
headquarters of the Ministry of Culture in The Hague, The Netherlands, a Federal Reserve
Bank in Houston, Texas, and the much-acclaimed state-of-the-art headquarters and training
center for the Philadelphia Eagles football team. The award-winning 1.1 million-square-foot
headquarters of the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation anchors one end
of Pennsylvania Avenue at Washington Circle in Washington, D.C., and MGA has designed
the expansion and renovation of the U.S. Courthouse at the other end of Pennsylvania
Avenue just below the Capitol. Graves’ design of the embellishment for the scaffolding
around the Washington Monument during its 1999 - 2000 restoration was widely noted and
Michael Graves is considered a distinguished advocate for the arts. He is the recipient of the
New Jersey Governor’s Walt Whitman Award for Creative Achievement, and the Arts
Person of the Year Award from the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, as well as the Indiana
Arts Award and the National Sculpture Society’s Henry Hering Medal for inclusion of art in
architecture. Architectural projects for cultural and educational institutions — museums,
theaters, libraries and universities — have constituted an important part of Graves’ practice
from the beginning. Among these projects are: the Denver Central Library; Riverbend, the
summer home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; the Clark County Library and Theater
in Las Vegas; The Newark Museum in New Jersey; Emory University’s Museum of Art and
Archaeology; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the O’Reilly Theater in Pittsburgh; and the NCAA
2000 Hall of Champions in Indianapolis.
Another significant segment of MGA’s practice has been the design of hotels, from business
hotels such as the Fukuoka Hyatt Regency in Japan and the Aventine Hyatt Hotel in La Jolla,
California to the well-known Walt Disney World Swan World Swan and Dolphin Hotels in
Florida and five resort hotels in Egypt. In addition to single-family houses, residential design
includes multi-family buildings such as the 1500 Ocean Drive condominium in Miami,
Florida; high-rise residential projects in Japan and in Manhattan; and student residences at
universities such as New Jersey Institute of Technology, Drexel University, and Rice
Graves has dubbed himself “a general practitioner,” designing not only the interiors for the
majority of his projects, but also a wide range of furnishings and artifacts, from furniture and
lighting fixtures to jewelry and dinnerware, for companies such as Alessi, Steuben, and
Disney, Phillips Electronics and Black & Decker. He has teamed with Target Stores to bring
his signature style of design to a larger public in a wide variety of product categories. For the
German partnership of Duravit, Dornbracht and Hoesch, he has created “Dreamscape,” a
bath fixtures and fittings collection, and for the Italian hardware manufacturer Valli & Valli,
a series of door handles in various metals.
Michael Graves and his firm have received over 160 awards and citations, which, in addition
to other awards mentioned earlier, include fifteen Progressive Architecture awards, ten
American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Honor Awards, and the AIA/American
Library Association Award for the Denver Central Library, along with over 60 design
awards and a career achievement award from the AIA - New Jersey and other state chapters
of the AIA.
Graves’ work appears in many periodicals and books, including Five Architects (Oxford
University Press, 1972); Michael Graves, (Academy Editions, 1979); Michael Graves:
Building and Projects 1966-1981 (Rizzoli, 1983); Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects
1982-1989 (Princeton Architectural Press, 1990); Michael Graves Design Monograph (Ernst &
Sohn, 1994); Michael Graves: Buildings and Projects 1990-1994, (Rizzoli, 1995); The Master
Architect Series III: Michael Graves: Selected and Current Works (Images Publishing, 1999);
and Compact Design Portfolio: Michael Graves (Chronicle Books, 2002.) Additional titles are
planned for 2002 and 2003.
Michael Graves was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1934. He received his architectural
training at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University. In 1960, he won the Rome
Prize and studied for two years at the American Academy in Rome, of which he is now a
Trustee. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a member of the
American Academy of Arts and Letters. Graves has been awarded eleven honorary
doctorates. Honored by Princeton University with a symposium on the anniversary of his
twenty-fifth year of teaching, he has also served as Visiting Professor at other universities.