DENVER CENTRAL LIBRARY:
- Location : Denver, Colorado
- Design started : 1990
- Design completed :1996
- Total floor area : 133,000 sq. Feet (renovation) & 405,000 sq. Feet (new construction)
- Structure : structural concrete waffle slabs on concrete columns
- Material: cast stone, natural stone, timber & copper roofing
- In1990, graves won a design competition for the renovation and expansion of Denver’s landmark library building which was designed in 1956 by the architect Burnham Hoyt.
- The library is sited on civic center park between the city’s art &museum.
- The expansion, much greater in size than the original building, becomes backdrop to Hoyt’s composition and completes the library block south to thirteenth avenue,
- The scale and coloration of the addition, as well as the individualized massing of its various components, allow the original library to maintain its own identity as one element of larger composition.
- Two major public entrances establish an east-west axis through the great hall, a three story public room of urban scale which is the focal point for visitor orientation and circulation.
- The south-facing rotunda contains special such as the reference room, the periodicals center and, on the top floor, the western history reading room.
- The latter room, which contains special functions of local materials, is centered on a timber derrick like structure that figuratively recalls the nation’s westward expansion.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- It forms the basic element as surface texture, due to their proportion & repetition.
- 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.