​Passage: Postmodern architect Michael Graves

It happened this past week ... the passing of an architect and designer who left his mark in ways large and small.

Michael Graves died Thursday at his home in Princeton, New Jersey.

Graves was a champion of what came to be known as postmodernism.


Rejecting unadorned box-like designs, he created buildings with patterns and textures, decorations and color.

Though architectural fashion eventually moved on from postmodernism, Graves was far from daunted.

He was busy designing household items for Target and other retailers ... more than 2,000 in all.

President Clinton awarded Graves the National Medal of Arts in 1999, saying, "Michael Graves has created art that surrounds our lives."

In 2003, he was stricken by an infection so severe it left him paralyzed from the waist down.

And so began the challenging next chapter of Michael Graves' career.

"You certainly get frustrated, my goodness," Graves said. "Trying things that you can't do, until you can."

What Michael Graves still could do was draw. He designed equipment for the disabled, such as a golf cart. He made custom alterations to his own home as well. And all the while, Graves kept his architectural firm going.

And he never, never abandoned hope for a full recovery.

"I dream at night walking," he said. "I don't have wheelchair dreams; I have walking dreams.

Architect Michael Graves was 80.


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