Somehow, I missed the fact that architect and designer Michael Graves has been paralyzed from the mid-chest down since 2003. This is not exactly urban planning news but in this 'recommended reading' interview, Talking with Michael Graves by Camille Peri for caring.com, which came to this blogger's attention via Urban Planning Blog, his keen perspective on design matters affecting those with physical challenges is illuminating and cautionary.
It makes me wonder about the intersection improvements currently being undertaken in the city by the Corporation of Hamilton. I don't know who in Bermuda is consulted on such matters but I would be interested to know whether blind, deaf and or physically disabled people have been invited to comment on the improvements made to date. More importantly, were they consulted prior to the implementation of said improvements?
Michael Graves is likely best known to most people for the range of products he designed for Target. These sleek household products introduced 'cool' to the masses and, to date, Michael Graves Design Group has brought to market more than 1,800 consumer products.
As an architect, he is known for the early days of the postmodern architectural style, designing such iconic buildings as the Portland Building (completed in 1982). A somewhat divisive building - you either love it or hate it - it did achieve renown for having an enormous impact on American architecture in the eighties. It was added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 2011.
More recently, Graves's design and architectural practice has expanded in new directions to include a partnership with Stryker Medical to design patient room furniture, and a commission by Clark Realty Capital to design single family homes for wounded soldiers, and their families, who continue in military service at Fort Belvoir, VA.
Michael Graves is paralyzed and in a wheelchair now but the world is likely a better place as a result of his unanticipated new direction and contribution. Design matters.