Michael Graves

Helen Thomas

Michael Graves (1934–2015), Vacation House, Aspen, 1978. Black ink, pencil and colour crayon on tracing paper, 280 × 355 mm. DMC 1835.

When they were made and for a long while afterwards the drawings of Michael Graves were influential for a generation of American, Canadian and British architecture students who coveted their fine papers, delicate colouring techniques and characterful hand-drawn lines in pencil and ink. These all seemed so appropriate to the reconfigured but very recognizable forms of post-modern architecture, which in this east elevation drawing of a vacation house in Aspen are set in a tamed wilderness. This is intimated by the faint outline of peaks against the sky, the creek drawn in section with cyprus lining its banks, and the dense green of the trees in the orchard and the shrubbery that forms part of the architecture. Here, along with the familiar lunettes, domes and columns it is vernacular forms, not necessarily American, that Graves reinterprets – the entrance gates stand open in a protective wall made of logs that embraces a gazebo in the orchard.

Michael Graves (1934–2015), Beach House, New Jersey, 1979. Pen, ink and gouache on white trace, 682 × 682 mm. DMC 2294.