Michael Graves: Design for Life

Princeton Architectural. Oct. 2017. 304p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781616895631. $30. BIOG
This book pays tribute to Michael Graves (1934–2015) as one of the prime movers and makers of POMO, or Postmodernism in the 1980s, which pulled architectural design out of the hands of engineers and into the hearts of historians and artists. Graves was born in Indianapolis, one of the stockyard capitals of the Midwest, where his father worked as a trader in the deconstruction of animals. Graves called the city "Indian-no place." He taught at Princeton University's School of Architecture from 1962 to 2000, fighting for public architecture all over the country in the form of libraries, town halls, hotels, and office towers. He died in 2015 of heart failure following 12 years of wheelchair-bound life owing to a painful spinal infection in 2002. This book is less academic and objective than anecdotal and informative—stemming from dozens of recorded interviews with Graves and everyone who knew him well.
VERDICT This book has real gravity, yet it sparkles with light, so it benefits not just accomplished professionals but anyone who admires design.

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