Monday, March 31, 2008

Michael Graves in Portland

Michael Graves, he of Target fame, was formerly a big time architect. During the 1970's, he developed a style that rebelled against the prevailing stark-box forms of modernism in favor of an elegant, witty approach.

One of his most famous buildings is the Portland Public Services building. Completed in 1982, it's been called the first major post-modern structure.

Here's a critical opinion:

"When first completed, this postmodern landmark was wildly innovative and controversial. On the varied facades of this chunky 15-story municipal office building, speckled with smallish square windows, masses of deep colors—browns, blues, and a rusty red—make emphatic statements against a sandy background. A stylized garland of blue ribbons (rendered in concrete) decorates one side while a huge statue of a woman, Portlandia, added in 1985, dominates the main entrance."

— from Sylvia Hart Wright. Sourcebook of Contemporary North American Architecture: From Postwar to Postmodern. p39.

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