MICHAEL GRAVES – HUMANA BUILDING

Introduction:

  • Date of birth: April 1934
  • Place of birth: Indianapolis in Indiana, USA.
  • Nationality: American
  • Education: received architectural training at the university of Cincinnati & Harvard University, won “the Rome prize” in 1960 & studied for 2 years at “American academy” in Rome.
  • Profession: began his practice in 1964 in Princeton, New Jercy.
  • Firm: Michael graves & associates, 1964, (a 75 persons firm)

Influences

  • Graves continues to turn to architecture itself for his inspiration.
  • He has a deep interest in existing architecture: – ancient, neo- classical, modern – & derives pleasure from reinterpreting it’s forms & compositions.
  • He gives credence to the basic tenet that there is no such thing as an original idea but that everything original is based on the reworking of what already exists.
  • One very strong influence on the work of graves is the interest in & appreciation of; the simple domestic rituals of life that one enjoys or ought to be able to enjoy, despite the speed at which technology is rustling us into the cyber space.

Japan travel:

  • Graves has been steadily developing his practice in Japan for the last 15 years.
  • He explains that Japan has “become a place to experiment a bit with abstraction. In Europe & America I’m probably a bit more conscious of historic context”. Because so often the cities we’ve been asked to design for there are completely rebuilt.
  • In Japan graves architecture was seen as ‘humanistic’ rather than ‘mechanistic’ i.e. In terms of materials & the anthropometric qualities of the building. He used man as the metaphor rather than the machine

Philosophy:

  • Grave’s language of architecture operates on a number of levels. It is meant to be legible & a part of everyday life.
  • Secondly, & certainly no less important although admittedly more understandable to the trained eye, is a passionate & sometimes playful interest in reworking the commonly accepted language of architecture into a uniquely personal expression of what it might become, without losing its identity.
  • The reworking of what exists into what is unknown but still recognizable is the goal.
  • Grave’s practice is practice in the literal sense of the word. He is constantly practicing the rules & principles of architecture.
  • He desires to create a pleasant, comfortable environment for the people in his building.
  • His continually evolving experimentation with architectural form & language at the level of abstraction & figuration, scale & color, size & structural system is such that, there is emergence of new ideas without denying existence of traditions.

Architectural style:

  • Graves has been an architect who is not simply concerned with formal manipulation a self- referential language but is equally occupied with a building’s significance with time & place.
  • He designs building in a near-populist attitude, so that non architects can recognize distinct architectural elements within their compositions & relate them in scale to their own bodies.
  • His early projects reveal distinct references to the environment that the buildings are a part of:-
    • a curve referring to the clouds above.
    • A mural expanding the perspective of a room.
    • a yellow rail referring to the sun
    • a terracotta base suggesting grounding in the earth.

GRAVES STYLE IN 1980

  • Graves strategy has been “to internalize the events  of the building”, identifying particular components     of the program that can be given formal emphasis. The result is that these large complexes become cities into themselves, self contained by somewhat inward looking.
  • Whether the emphasis of the building is primarily  horizontal or vertical, a hierarchial route is established through the repetitive spaces.
  • Relationship b/w indoors or outdoors by “pushing the wall as far out as it can get to make a bay window    that grabs the light” e.G. Humana building or by carving something out of the face of the building so people can literally go outside, e.g  Tazima building.

Architectural details:

  • Built form
    • Influenced by the roman style, Graves tried to create grand interior spaces but broken down to human scale.
    • Cubical facades treated in the classical three part division or tripartite form with the base, shaft & cornice.
    • In later projects, the strict form of the cube is broken.
  • WINDOWS:
    • It forms the basic element as surface texture, due to their proportion & repetition.
  • Façade:
    • Uses column as surface treatment & defining the cornice or the head of the building &   entrance.
    • Facades are symmetrical &  linearity broken by adding vertical bands of colors &   windows.
    • Uses square windows but tries  to achieve the principles of neoclassical style.

HUMANA BUILDING:

  • Place : Louisville, Kentucky, Humana
  • Design started :1982
  • Design completed:1985
  • Structure material used: steel  frame & granite
  • No. Of stories : 26

ABOUT THE BUILDING:

  • Humana building is the headquaters well-known american company specializing in health care.
  • The modern buildings surrounding the site are set back from the street on plazas, eroding the historical urban street wall pattern.
  • In contrast, the humana building occupies its entire site and re-establishes the street edge as an essential urban form.
  • The 525,000 square foot building includes two parking levels below grade, retail shops on the first floor, and offices and conference center above
  • The building’s formal organisation reflects its devision into these significant parts
  • The lower portion, six stories high, is devoted to public space and to humana’s executive offices.
  • General offices are located in the body of the building.
  • The conference center occupies the 25th floor, with access to a large outdoor porch overlooking the city and the river beyond

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