Michael Graves' home to become architecture education centre
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Michael Graves' Princeton home to become architecture education centre

Kean University in New Jersey is purchasing three properties owned by late American architect Michael Graves, including the Princeton house and studio where he developed his Postmodern designs for 40 years.

The institution's board of trustees has agreed to buy the buildings for $20 (£15) as part of a gift from the estate of Graves, who died in 2015 aged 80.

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The Warehouse will by turned into an education research centre for Kean's architecture and design school. Photograph by Ken Ek

The offer was reportedly turned down by Princeton University, where Graves taught for many years, as the institution couldn't meet the "terms and conditions".

Kean plans to develop the architect's former home The Warehouse into an education research centre for its architecture and design school.

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The Warehouse was constructed in the Tuscan vernacular style in the 1920s

"Michael Graves was a good friend to Kean University," said Kean president Dawood Farahi. "His home, The Warehouse, where he lived and worked, will provide our students with access to the thinking, the inspiration and internal processes of one of the most visionary and prolific architects of our time."

The Postmodernist architect – whose most famous works included the Portland Building and the Denver Public Library – helped to develop the Michael Graves College at Kean University, and its School of Public Architecture.

The school opened its Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies programme in autumn 2015, with the Master of Architecture course due to accept its first cohort in 2019.

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Graves renovated the house in Princeton over a 30-year period

Kean hopes to use the Graves properties to host seminars and conferences for both students and professionals, despite their location 40 miles away the main campus in Union – close to Newark Airport.

"The Warehouse provided Michael Graves with a canvas to develop and enhance his ideas about architecture over the last 40 years of his life," said David Mohney, dean of the Michael Graves College at Kean University.

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Furnishings and objects in Graves' home will be handled separately by his estate after the sale

"It will be an incredible resource for our diverse population of students, who will experience first-hand how the brilliant mind of Michael Graves approached architecture and design."

Located on Princeton's Patton Avenue, The Warehouse was constructed in the Tuscan vernacular style in the 1920s, by the same Italian stonemasons that worked on Collegiate Gothic buildings at Princeton University.

Graves spent 30 years renovating the property into his home and studio.

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Once Kean has acquired the property, it hopes to host seminars and conferences there

"The Warehouse is a perfect expression of Michael's humanistic design philosophy, with its thoughtful integration of architecture, interiors, furniture, artefacts, artwork and landscape," said Linda Kinsey, principal at Michael Graves Architecture & Design.

Furnishings and other items in Graves' home will be handled separately by his estate, after the transfer of The Warehouse and the other properties is complete.

Graves and his firm designed over 350 buildings during his career, as well as a number of home products such as kitchenware for Italian brand Alessi.

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Graves and his firm designed over 350 buildings throughout his career

He was born in 1934 in Indianapolis, and set up his Princeton-based architectural practice as Michael Graves & Associates in 1964.

The firm's 1982 Portland Building was spared from demolition in 2014, despite needing more than $95 million worth of repairs.

Photography is courtesy of Michael Graves Architecture & Design, unless stated otherwise.