Late architect and designer Michael Graves receives national design award for lifetime achievement

Michael Graves (1934–2015), the late celebrated architect and designer, and founder of Michael Graves Architecture & Design has won the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Graves is best known for broadening the role of the architect in society and raising public interest in good design as essential to the quality of everyday life. Winners will be honoured during National Design Week at a Gala on Thursday, October 15 at Pier Sixty in New York.

Graves, a prominent voice in architecture and design since founding his practice in 1964 has designed with his firm over 350 buildings and more than 2,000 products for clients such as Target, Alessi, Stryker, Kimberly-Clark and Disney.

Few are credited with spearheading a single design movement. Michael Graves led three. In the 1980’s he redirected the architectural conversation away from abstract modernism toward a more humanistic approach to architecture and urban planning – an approach that MGA&D still practises today. In the 1990s, his partnership with Target defined America’s expectation that great design should be available to all. Over the past decade Michael became a passionate advocate for the disabled and used the power of design to improve healthcare experiences for patients, families and clinicians. 

Graves has received prestigious awards including the AIA Gold Medal, the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton, and the Topaz Medallion from the AIA/ACSA. Graves is the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus Prize Laureate. Michael Graves has become internationally recognised as a healthcare design advocate, with the Center for Health Design naming him one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Healthcare Design. In 2013, President Obama appointed Graves to the United States Access Board. The American Institute of Architects acknowledged Michael’s career with a Presidential Citation. He was the first architect inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and was the first recipient of the Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award from the AIA-NJ. Fast Company recently named MGA&D one of the 10 most innovative design firms in the world.

In 2014 MGA&D celebrated its 50th anniversary with a major exhibition at the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. In addition, Michael’s lifelong contributions to design were celebrated by the Architectural League with a daylong symposium at Parsons New School for Design.

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