A STAR ARCHITECT DEFENDS HIS WORK. The article by Rebecca Koffman describes a public defense by Michael Graves of his building in October, 2014. Graves died recently, only six months after that defense, which adds poignancy to the defense.
The exterior of the building is its strong point. Although she acknowledges that there are those who think the building is garish, Koffman says: “The green, salmon, cream and blue Portland Building, with its frills, furbelows and boxy façade, is easily the most exuberant building in Portland’s cityscape.”
On the other hand, the interior of the building is “dark, leaky and claustrophobic.” In his defense, Graves argued that he was not responsible for the handling of the office space in the building and that the city could do more to improve the interior. For example, the city could install clear glass in the windows to replace the tinted glass that the city had required to save energy.
Graves pointed out the role of his building in introducing postmodernist architecture instead of the glass boxes which had dominated American architecture for many years. Apparently choosing the most horrible comparison he could think of, he said: “If I had to make glass boxes all day I’d rather practice law.”