Barack Obama appoints Michael Graves
to advise on accessible design


Michael Graves

News: architect and designer Michael Graves has been appointed by US president Barack Obama to a key administration post and says he will "provide national leadership on accessible design".

Graves, who has used a wheelchair for ten years, will take on a role at the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, also known as the Access Board, the federal agency that deals with accessibility for people with disabilities.

"When I became paralysed, I realized that as an architect and designer, and then a patient, I had a unique perspective," said Graves. "As a result, I became passionate about using this perspective to improve healthcare and accessibility through design projects. Now, as a member of the Access Board, I expect to provide national leadership on accessible design, and hope I can contribute on a grand scale."

Graves was among several appointments announced in January, when Obama commented: "These fine public servants both bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles. Our nation will be well-served by these individuals, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come."

Other appointments included  Vinton G. Cerf – Member, National Science Board; Marta Araoz de la Torre - Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee; Laurie Leshin – Member, Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum; and Lynne Sebastian – Member, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Graves is the second architect on the board, joining vice chair Karen Braitmayer. He also recently teamed up with IDEO partner David Haygood for the Wounded Warrior Home Project, designing accessible homes for wounded veterans.

Michael Graves is the founding principal of architectural practice Michael Graves & Associates and design firm Michael Graves Design Group. He received the American Institute of Architects' Gold Medal in 2001 and and is also a professor at Princeton University. Previous buildings include the 1982 Portland Building in Oregon and the Louwman Automobile Museum in the Hague.

  • Great to see Dezeen covering design news that is not just about aesthetics and perceptions of "cool". Creating buildings and infrastructure that are more inclusive to our disabled and aging populations is one of the most important design challenges we face.

  • Romain

    @H.U.D.D. indeed!

    If Dezeen could set up a system of political and legislative monitoring of anything pertaining to these kinds of issues around the world, I would even pay to get a comprehensive newsletter.

    I know for a fact that a lot of lobbying and PR firms do the same for other industries, I’m sure Dezeen has the brainpower to muster something tailored to the needs of designers. Maybe you can even set up conferences and contact sheets (with all the relevant actors and a gauge of their influence in the field) that readers could subscribe to.

  • Ryan

    Whether in a wheelchair or not, postmodern Michael Graves could not contribute anything of value to the world of design. This is another solely political nomination by a highly political president.

  • Nicholas Cage

    @Ryan “a highly political president.” You don’t say.