Growing up in Louisville, I was vaguely aware that the Humana Building on the corner of Fifth and Main streets was an important building, but it wasn’t until I was in architecture school that I realized just how important (one of TIME‘s ten most important buildings of the 1980s).
But Humana has been thought of as the real test for Mr. Graves. For this is his largest urban building, the sign of how well he can make the move from small-scale buildings to large ones. And beyond its significance for the reputation of Michael Graves, Humana is a striking example of a large, prosperous corporation seeking to build a headquarters structure that would stand as a statement against conventional, modernist corporate architecture. It is surely the most ardent such statement since A.T.&T. commissioned Philip Johnson and John Burgee to build its split-pediment-topped granite skyscraper in New York City – a building to which the new Humana headquarters will inevitably be compared.
The photo above from 1996 appeared in Vanity Fair where Goldberger now writes and depicts the remaining group known as the New York Five (left to right, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman, with John Hejduk not pictured) wearing buildings they designed. (Via Fantastic Journal)