Monday, March 26, 2012

Michael Graves and the 2012 Driehaus Prize

This is a rather atmospheric photograph of Michael Graves on the platform of the John B. Murphy Auditorium Chicago during the 2012 Driehaus Prize presentation colloquium. photo by versluis

Last Saturday, March 24, architect and product designer Michael Graves was in Chicago to receive the annual 2012 Driehaus Prize for sustaining the principles of traditional and classical architecture. The award is presented through the auspices of University of Notre Dame School of Architecture and the ceremony took place at the John B. Murphy Auditorium. In addition, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers was there to receive the Henry Hope Reed Award for promoting the values of traditional city design, architecture and art through writing and advocacy. Graves is Founding Principal of the firm Michael Graves & Associates (MGA) and the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University.

Chicago is a city of grand architecture that definitely has soul so I was a bit surprised by a comment Graves made while accepting his award, regarding the Art Institute of Chicago’s new modern art wing. He remarked that the modern wing was a perfect building but it “lacked soul.” His statement was meant to make the point that being a classicist architect provides a precedent — a background, a compositional language, which confers meaning on place.

To introduce the 2012 Driehaus Laureate, Graves asked architect Andrés Duany, a previous Driehaus award recipient to do the honors. Duany gave some interesting insights into Graves as a teacher. He lauded Graves as an open-minded and persistent teacher who’s always most interested in learning. Graves does this best by pointing students to others rather than to himself.

John B. Murphy Auditorium

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