About The Impala, 404 East 76th Street
This 194-unit, rental apartment building was erected by RFR Holdings, Inc., in 2000 and was the first residential tower designed by architect Michael Graves to be built in the city.
Graves, who is best known for his unbuilt designs for an addition to the Whitney Museum of American Art on Madison Avenue at 75th Street, his elegant and colorful architectural drawings, his line of kitchenware, a civic building in Portland, Oregon, the headquarters of the Humana company, and hotels for Disneyworld in Florida, had designed a handsome, mixed-use tower for Sotheby's nearby at York Avenue and 72nd Street that was never built.
He was one of a group of young architects known as the "New York Five" that came to prominence in the 1970's. The group also included Robert A. M. Stern, Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey and Richard Meier. Originally, the group's aesthetics were inspired by the modernity of LeCorbusier, an influence that still can be seen in the work of Gwathmey and Meier, and was taken to more complex levels by Eisenman. Stern, however, became a leading proponent of Post-Modernism and in the year 2000 had two high-rise apartment buildings under construction in Manhattan.
Graves departed from the group's famous "white" palette and opted for colorful designs, or pastiches. He and Stern both did major buildings for Disney in Orlando that were not without humor. While his artistic talents have always been respected, some of his architectural designs, especially the Whitney Museum project, have been very controversial.
At the Whitney, Graves proposed three different schemes to build new structures adjacent to and over the existing building designed in Brutalist style by Marcel Breuer. The proposals were attacked by some critics for being too dominant over the famous cantilevered Breuer building.
Here, Graves has designed a very bold and busy facade fronting on First Avenue.