Michael Graves’s former residence in Princeton, New Jersey, known as The Warehouse, will be purchased by Kean University. Located in New Jersey, Kean University is also home to the Michael Graves College for architecture and design.
A champion of postmodernism, Graves passed away last year and had asked in his will for the properties to go to Princeton University where he taught. However, Princeton in fact snubbed the offer, stating that they “could not meet the terms and conditions associated with the gift.”
Graves had asked that the dwellings be adequately maintained for educational use. Kean, unlike Princeton, has decided to bare this burden, something that the university’s president Dawood Farahi estimates at costing up to $40,000 per year in terms of preservation costs alone. Despite only costing Kean University $20, the total value of the former residences has been placed at $3.2 million.
Speaking of The Warehouse in particular, Linda Kinsey, a principal at Michael Graves Architecture & Design, spoke of how the building represented Graves’s postmodernist approach to architecture. “It is a perfect expression of Michael’s humanistic design philosophy, with its thoughtful integration of architecture, interiors, furniture, artifacts, artwork and landscape,” she said.
As for house’s use, David Mohney, dean of the Michael Graves College, said that the university will “use the house the way Michael did”—Graves used it as an art studio as well as a residency—and that the “scale of use would be consistent.” In terms of the building’s role as an educational tool, Mohney added that it will be an “an opportunity for students to see firsthand what life was like for a major architect.”
The University’s Board of Trustees, in fact, approved the purchase of three Graves properties total; the other two will be used as venues for various events and lodging for guest lecturers.