On Thursday, Nov. 16, Kean University hosted a book signing on Ian Volner's biography of Michael Graves, the American architect. Volner's biography of Michael Graves highlighted his life, travels and achievements. The book signing took place at the Green Lane Academic Building (GLAB) room 406 and the room filled with design and architecture majors of all sorts.
Michael Graves College Dean David Mohney and Author Ian Volner started off the event discussing the approach to writing this biography. It took him four years of putting information together to create this book.
It is thought that Graves only designed buildings, but he did so much more. His initial works were seen as strange, obtuse, complex and intricate, but as soon as he broke toward comfortable designs, those who wanted a more simplistic concept of the designs were able to appreciate it more.
"Graves was an architect, but he also designed interiors, rooms, and thousands of furniture," said Volner. "He was content with architecture and doing architecture, although he wasn't much of an advertiser. Graves initially went into architecture to stay away from starvation. He promised his mother that he would not starve. He still wanted to paint and draw, but there is a stigma that, unless you're as good as Picasso, you won't earn money."
Graves graduated and got his bachelor's from the University of Cincinnati. He also went to Harvard to get a master's degree in architecture. These schools had programs which catered to architecture.
At one point, Graves was a trustee for the American Academy in Rome, where his experience reached a peak. After he left Rome, he went to Princeton, which was a school that did not have much of a design program or a professor who taught that course. Because of that, he became a professor for architecture at Princeton.
Students learned a lot more about how their field could help the area around them. Buildings can be built or structured differently but still convey meaning. A lot of his buildings were intricate, and his most notable building, the Humana Building, is located in Kentucky.
Volner added, "Graves would have loved the Jersey Corridor Project or the Linear City Project because it shows what American urbanism could be."
The room was full of architecture and design majors of all sorts. There was so much to learn about the college their building is named after. The lecture lasted for about 30 minutes before opening to the audience to the students who had further questions about Michael Graves.
"I learned a lot from the lecture," said Dihzae Bailey, sophomore architecture major. "I asked about Graves's downfalls because I wanted to know how he was able to overcome them. I found out about this event once my dean told me about the event."
The book discusses his work, his personal life, and his student life. Students were inspired to try to improve their work while they are still studying.
As of now, the book is being sold on the first floor of GLAB, where the Barnes and Noble bookstore is located.The book was published and up for sale on Oct. 24, 2017. Students can find the book "Michael Graves: Design for Life" at the bookstore and it can also be purchased through Amazon.