Graves was N.J. architectural icon

Brett Johnson//March 13, 2015

Graves was N.J. architectural icon

Brett Johnson//March 13, 2015

The renowned director of a Princeton-based architecture firm, Michael Graves, died Thursday at age 80.His firm, Michael Graves Architecture & Design, said in a statement that he passed away suddenly but peacefully of natural causes in his Princeton home.

Since founding the Princeton company in 1964, the firm’s release said, “Michael transformed the role of architects and designers, and even the place of design in our everyday lives.”

As well as creating houseware products that are sold in stores like Target, he designed prominent buildings across the globe. His early work included the Portland Building in Oregon, which earned him notoriety for its exemplification of postmodernism, a movement he came to be associated with.

More locally, Graves taught architecture at Princeton University for around 40 years. He also left his mark on the state’s higher education environment by helping design New Jersey City University’s Arts and Science Building, Stockton University’s Arts and Sciences Building, New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Laurel Hall and Princeton University’s Wu-Wilcox Halls.

He also can be credited for Garden State business hubs such as two buildings along Route 1: the headquarters of Miele Americas, an appliances manufacturer, and Marketfair, a rejuvenated shopping center.

One of the 2010 New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee’s largest in-state projects was Camden’s One Port Center, a $30 million, 11-story office tower that serves as the Delaware River Port Authority’s base.

After a spinal cord infection paralyzed him in 2003, he started designing homes and products (including wheelchairs) for people with disabilities.

In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Graves to the United States Access Board, a federal agency offering guidance on designs compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

His firm’s statement said: “Of all of his accomplishments, Michael often said that, like his own family, his proudest creation was his firm.

“As we go forward in our practice, we will continue to honor Michael’s humanistic design philosophy through our commitment to creating unique design solutions that transform people’s lives.”


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