Michael Graves named 2012 Driehaus Prize laureate

Author: Carol C. Bradley

Michael Graves Michael Graves

Michael Graves, whose celebrated career redefined the architect’s role in society, has been named the recipient of the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame.

Graves, the 10th Driehaus Prize laureate, received $200,000 and a bronze miniature of the Choregic Monument of Lysikrates during a March 24 ceremony in Chicago.

“Michael Graves is not a classicist, but he opened the door for a lot of us,” says Michael N. Lykoudis, Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean of Architecture. “Graves gave public buildings dignity again. He celebrated the art of drawing, something difficult to come by in modern archictectural training. His contributions to the field have been immense.

“He has enhanced not just the architecture profession with his talent and scholarship, but everyday life itself through his inspiring attention to beautiful and accessible design.”

Graves is Founding Principal of the firm Michael Graves & Associates and the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University, where he taught for 39 years.

Graves received the Rome Prize in 1960 as a scholar at the American Academy in Rome, where he is now a trustee. Graves was influenced by “the timeless grammar” of architecture that he has since applied to his own work. Members of the Driehaus Prize jury commended his commitment to the traditional city—in its human scale, complexity and vitality—as emblematic of a time-tested sustainability.

Driehause Prize Patronage Award, Prince Charles

To mark the 10th year of the Driehaus Prize, through the generosity of Richard H. Driehaus, a special one-time award, The Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame Patronage Award, was presented to His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, during a ceremony Jan. 27 at St. James’s Palace in London.

Prince Charles was chosen as a recipient “because of his patronage of the values our school represents,” says Lykoudis. “We couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate. Early on he was derided for his views. But he has stayed fast, and the world has come around. It was appropriate to give him this recognition, to honor the values he stands for.”

Prince Charles

The Prince is a forceful advocate for the maintenance of traditional building skills and sustainable urban design, and is keenly interested in how the built environment affects the quality of people’s lives.

He received a bronze miniature of the Tower of the Winds (an octagonal Pentelic marble clock tower on the Roman agora in Athens), and donated the $150,000 prize to his organization, The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, to establish an undergraduate diploma course in sustainability and the building arts, as part of the charity’s buildingskill program. “It is an element of education that I’ve long been desperate for my foundation to reintroduce,” Prince Charles said at the ceremony, “and I’m thrilled that, thanks to the incredible kindness of the Driehaus Foundation, it will be able to do so.”

Above left: Michael Lykoudis, Richard H. Driehaus, and Prince Charles