Each year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) gives a Presidential Citation to an individual or entity that is believed to merit acknowledgement for outstanding contributions to the profession of architecture. For 2014, AIA President Helene Combs Dreiling selected Michael Graves for the honor.
“A gifted teacher, advocate for the power of design to transform both the sublime and the humble, marrying seamlessly form, function, and most especially delight, his is an art that enlists joy in the making, and joy within those caught in the sunny orbit of his imagination,” said Dreiling. “A soul brimming with enthusiasm to serve others, his work inspires hope. His many contributions, the fruit of a life well lived.”
Graves’ firm, Michael Graves Architecture & Design, has designed more than 350 buildings worldwide and over 2,000 home, office and personal products.
“The citation is at once overwhelming and also humbling,” said Graves of the honor. “I have tried to live my professional life with the characteristics embodied in the citation and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to know that someone like Helene believes I have succeeded.”
Michael Graves building
Graves is credited with raising public interest in good design as essential to the quality of everyday life. A native of Indianapolis, he received his architectural training at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University. In 1960, he won the Rome Prize and studied at the American Academy in Rome, of which he is now a trustee.
In 1962, Graves began a 39-year teaching career at Princeton University, where he is now the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus. He has received 12 honorary doctorates and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Graves has received many awards, including the 1999 National Medal of Arts, the 2001 Gold Medal from the AIA, and the 2010 Topaz Medallion from the AIA and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.
Michael Graves building
Most recently, Graves was named the recipient of the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus Prize from the University of Notre Dame. He is the first architect inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and the first recipient of the Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award from the AIA-NJ.