Kathleen Meaney | Essays

Remembering Michael Graves

What is the engine of a university? What fuels ideas? Is it education, environment, or experience? At the University of Cincinnati, where I teach, the answer is, quite literally, architecture.

Walking near the center of campus, one encounters a building designed by the late Michael Graves, whose grid of windows, mixed materials, and contoured stacks, resembles that of a monumental engine. This structure, appropriately entitled the Engineering Research Center (ERC), empowers the campus through its physical metaphor.

Engineering Research Center | photo Kelly Kuhn 

Graves was an honored member of the UC community having graduated from its design school (DAAP) in 1958. We honor him today, however, not only through the appreciation of grand architecture, but also in appreciation of grand achievements, which sometimes emanate from small moments, like the design of a teapot or a shower stool for those who can’t stand. His design brought life to the everyday object and consideration for the under-considered. It only takes a small spark to ignite the machine.

Inspired by Michael Graves, our type class has created messages of gratitude, designing letterforms using perfect circles and pastel patterns to commemorate his design achievements.

Thank you Michael Graves.
July 9, 1934–March 12, 2015

Design by Nathan Powell, Conner Sell, Cassie Spicer and Sydney Yockey 

Design by Becca Nachtrab, Carson Neff, Zach Nicholas, and Marc Rochotte

Poster design by Carson Neff 

Homepage image by Kelly Kuhn 

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