Postmodernist architect Michael Graves became a household name thanks to his popular line of consumer products for Target, but it was his mission to revolutionize the way that homes, office buildings, and—specifically—healthcare facilities are built that left an indelible mark on the world of architecture in general and accessible design especially.

Graves died in March at the age of 80, after spending more than a decade paralyzed after a complication caused by a virus. It was that event that catapulted an already established goal to bring a more humanistic approach to architecture and urban planning and inspired designs that answer the challenges of individuals with disabilities.

Graves and his firm, Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D; Princeton, N.J.), have since launched numerous pursuits to improve the built environment and make spaces, particularly in healthcare, more easily navigable for all. From a line of patient room furniture to a rehabilitation center, Graves used his own physical limitations to learn, expose, and solve the shortcomings of traditional design responses.

To honor Graves, MGA&D will continue to advocate for the creation of intuitive, non-stigmatizing environments and products, with the goal to raise awareness within the real estate, design, and construction communities of the importance of incorporating universal design elements, minus the institutional aesthetic.

In the image gallery on this page, Healthcare Design offers a look at Graves’ portfolio of universal design projects in healthcare spaces, which he leaves behind to serve as inspiration for us all.

Jennifer Kovacs Silvis is executive editor of Healthcare Design. She can be reached at