1967 - 1971
Fort Wayne, IN, United States

A National AIA Award winner, Michael Graves’s first architectural commission was a new house for two high school friends, Jay and Lois Hanselmann, who constructed it themselves. From his studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Graves was influenced by the work of Le Corbusier. His early house designs evidence his exploration of both the geometric compositions of the master as well as a similar interest in narrative content. In its original design, the Hanselmann House and the space immediately in front of it are a double square in plan and a double cube in volume. The house is understood frontally as a series of layered planes: from the wall of a small studio and a pipe rail frame defining the entrance (not constructed), to the front façade of the house, and finally to the densest plane, the rear wall of the living room. The mural that Graves painted on that wall contains references to the architecture of the house and the natural world, creating an imaginary extension into the landscape.