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Cranbrook Educational Community

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Title: Cranbrook Educational Community  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Architecture of metropolitan Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Cranbrook Schools, Woodbridge, Detroit, Edsel and Eleanor Ford House
Collection: Architecture Schools in Michigan, Art Schools in Michigan, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Buildings and Structures in Oakland County, Michigan, Cranbrook Educational Community, Education in Oakland County, Michigan, Graphic Design Schools in the United States, Historic Districts in Michigan, Historic Districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Michigan, Houses in Michigan, Houses in Oakland County, Michigan, Institutions Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, National Historic Landmarks in Metro Detroit, National Register of Historic Places in Oakland County, Michigan, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Visitor Attractions in Metro Detroit, Visitor Attractions in Oakland County, Michigan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cranbrook Educational Community

Cranbrook Educational Community
Cranbrook Art Museum
Location 39221 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Built 1926–99
Architect Eliel Saarinen
Architectural style 20th Century American
Governing body Cranbrook Board of Trustees
NRHP Reference # 73000954
Significant dates
Added to NRHP March 7, 1973[1]
Designated NHLD June 29, 1989[2]

The Cranbrook Educational Community, a Cranbrook, England, the birthplace of the founder's father.

Cranbrook is renowned for its architecture in the Arts and Crafts, Swedish Modern and Art Deco styles. The chief architect was Eliel Saarinen with Albert Kahn responsible for the Booth mansion, 1908,1919. Renowned sculptors Carl Milles and Marshall Fredericks also spent many years in residence at Cranbrook.


  • Schools at Cranbrook 1
  • Cranbrook Academy of Art 2
    • Degrees and rankings 2.1
    • Notable alumni and faculty 2.2
  • Cranbrook Art Museum 3
  • Cranbrook Institute of Science 4
  • Cranbrook House and Gardens 5
  • St. Dunstan's Playhouse 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Schools at Cranbrook

Cranbrook Schools today comprise a co-educational day and boarding college preparatory "upper" school; a middle school, and Brookside Lower School.

The first school to open on the Cranbrook grounds was the Bloomfield Hills School in 1922. Founded by George Booth, the Bloomfield Hills School was intended as the community school for local area children (of which there were then very few). The Bloomfield Hills School ultimately evolved into Brookside School. Following completion of the Bloomfield Hills School, Booth looked forward to building the Cranbrook School for Boys, an all-boys College-Preparatory school which students from the Detroit area and abroad would come to reside. Booth wanted the Cranbrook School to possess an architecture reminiscent of the finest British Boarding Schools, and retained world-renowned Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen to design the campus. Cranbrook's initial phase of building was completed in 1928.

Christ Church Cranbrook (1925–1928), by architect Bertram Goodhue, with windows by Harry Wright Goodhue

Over the years the Cranbrook School for Boys campus grew to include house Stevens Hall, Page Hall, and Coulter Hall. While primarily functioning as only residential spaces, Page Hall featured a smoking lounge as well as a shooting range. Lerchen Gymnasium, Keppel Gymnasium, and Thompson oval were also constructed on the campus. In the 1960s, Cranbrook School for Boys also constructed a state-of-the-art Science Building named the Gordon Science Center.

Realizing that young women would also need a place of their own to learn, Booth's wife Ellen Scripps Booth pressured Booth into building a school for girls. Mr. Booth decided to let Ellen supervise the project herself which she named the Kingswood School Cranbrook. Unlike her husband, Ellen encouraged Saarinen to come up with a unique interior design for the campus completely on his own. Instead of the several buildings that housed the Cranbrook School for Boys, the Kingswood School Cranbrook was contained within one building which included all necessary features. It housed dormitories, a dining hall, auditorium, classrooms, bowling alley, lounge/common areas, and a ballroom. The education at Kingswood School Cranbrook was primarily viewed initially as a "finishing school" although that would change over time.

In 1986, the Cranbrook School for Boys and Kingswood School Cranbrook entered a joint agreement renaming the new institution the Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School.

Cranbrook Academy of Art

The Cranbrook Academy of Art, one of the nation's leading graduate schools of architecture, art and design, was founded by the Booths in 1932. By 1984, the New York Times would say that "the effect of Cranbrook and its graduates and faculty on the physical environment of this country has been profound ... Cranbrook, surely more than any other institution, has a right to think of itself as synonymous with contemporary American design."[4]

The buildings were designed and the school first headed by Eliel Saarinen, who integrated design practices and theories from the arts and crafts movement through the international style. The school continues to be known for its apprenticeship method of teaching, in which a small group of students, usually only 10 to 16 per class (150 students for the total of ten departments), study under a single artist-in-residence for the duration of their curriculum. The graduate program is unusual because there are no "courses": all learning is self-directed under the guidance and supervision of the respective artist-in-residence.

Beginning in 1983, a major exhibition of works by Cranbrook's faculty and graduates, entitled "Design in America: The Cranbrook Vision 1925–1950", toured major museums in the United States and Europe.[4][5] The Detroit Institute of Arts and Metropolitan Museum of Art co-authored a book detailing the works in the exhibit.[6]

Degrees and rankings

The Cranbrook School Quadrangle

Cranbrook's method of teaching has proven beneficial for the school, as many of its graduate programs are considered among the best in the country by both U.S. News & World Report[7] and the journal DesignIntelligence, which ranks programs in its annual edition of "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools". The school currently confers the following degrees, with 2009 US News national rankings [7] in italics:

Degrees are conferred in the following areas:

    • 2-D Design (also known as graphic design), 6th (2012)
    • 3-D Design (also known as industrial design), 4th (2012)
    • Ceramics, 2nd (2012)
    • Fiber 1st (2011)
    • Metalsmithing 6th (2011)
    • Painting, 11th (2012)
    • Photography, 13th (2012)
    • Print Media, 6th (2012)
    • Sculpture, 8th (2012)

Notable alumni and faculty

Famous alumni of the Art Academy include Ruth Adler Schnee,[8] Marc Awodey, Ed Bacon, Harry Bertoia, Peter Bohlin, Chunghi Choo, Richard DeVore, Niels Diffrient, Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Ed Fella, Nick Cave (performance artist), Paul Granlund, Waylande Gregory, Leza McVey, Frederic James, Jeffery Keedy, Florence Knoll (did not graduate), Walter Hamady, Duane Hanson, Jack Lenor Larsen, P. Scott Makela and Laurie Haycock Makela, Fumihiko Maki, Fred Mitchell, Gyo Obata, Ralph Rapson, Bernard Rosenthal, Eero Saarinen, Joseph Allen Stein, Toshiko Takaezu, Theodore Galante, Harry Weese (City Planning fellowship, 1938–39), Lorraine Wild, Anne Wilson, Wu Liangyong, and Daniel Libeskind (Architect-in-Residence, Department of Architecture 1978–1985).

In 1932, renowned sculptor Marshall Fredericks was invited by Milles to join the staffs of the academy and schools, teaching there until he enlisted in the armed forces in 1942. In 1987, Keith Haring served as artist-in-residence.[9]

Cranbrook Art Museum

Cranbrook gardens

Cranbrook Art Museum is a museum of contemporary art with a permanent collection including works by Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, Maija Grotell and Carl Milles, as well as Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.[10] Completed in 1942 under the direction of world-renowned architect Eliel Saarinen, the museum is housed in the same building as the Cranbrook Academy of Art. The Museum closed in 2009 for a two-year renovation and expansion with the addition of a collections and research wing. The museum also offers tours of Saarinen House which has undergone painstaking restoration beginning with part of the house in 1977.[11] The remaining areas of the house were completed between 1988 and 1994.[12] The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Sculptor Carl Milles' numerous works in Metro Detroit include those at Cranbrook Educational Community such as Mermaids & Tritons Fountain (1930), Sven Hedin on a Camel (1932), Jonah and the Whale Fountain {1932}, Orpheus Fountain (1936), and the Spirit of Transportation (1952) currently in Cobo Center.[13]

The newly expanded museum opened in November 2011 after two years of construction. The project restored aspects of the original building designed by Saarinen, made needed structural repairs, replaced windows, and upgraded mechanical systems. A new Collections and Education Wing added 20,000 sq ft (1,900 m2) of storage and classroom space. Based on an open storage plan, the new wing is open to visitors by guided tour, and allows the museum's entire collection to be seen.[14]

Cranbrook Institute of Science

The Cranbrook Institute of Science includes a permanent collection of scientific artifacts and also displays annual temporary exhibits. It also features a planetarium and a powerful telescope through which visitors may peer on selected nights.

The museum grounds feature a life-sized statue of a Stegosaurus.

Cranbrook House and Gardens

Cranbrook House and Gardens

Cranbrook House and Gardens are the centerpiece of the Cranbrook Educational Community campus. The 1908 English Arts and Crafts-style house was designed by Albert Kahn for Cranbrook founders George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. Ten first-floor rooms can be seen on guided tours, and contain tapestries, hand-carved woodworking and English Arts and Crafts-style antiques. The upper floors of the house are used for the executive offices of the Cranbrook Educational Community.

The 40-acre (160,000 m2) gardens were originally designed by George Gough Booth, and include a sunken garden, formal gardens, bog garden, herb garden, wildflower garden, Oriental garden, sculpture, fountains, specimen trees and a lake.

Leonard Bernstein composed scores for portions of the musical West Side Story on the Cranbrook House Steinway concert grand piano while residing there in April 1946.[15][16] Bernstein had come to Detroit at the request of Zoltan Sepeshy to conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall. While visiting, he requested studio space where he could compose and Sepeshy had the piano moved from Cranbrook House into St. Dunstan's Playhouse.[17]

The house and gardens are open to the public from May through October.

St. Dunstan's Playhouse

St. Dunstan's Playhouse, while not formally a part of the Cranbrook Educational Community, is located on the Cranbrook grounds near the Cranbrook House. The Playhouse, a 206-seat theater, houses the St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild of Cranbrook. The guild was founded in 1932 by Henry Scripps Booth, son of Cranbrook's founders George and Ellen Booth.

In the summer months, the St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild performs in the outdoor Greek Theatre adjacent to the Cranbrook House. The theatre was restored in 1990-91.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ "Cranbrook". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  3. ^ Mark Coir (2005). "Cranbrook: A brief history" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  4. ^ a b Goldberger, Paul (8 April 1984). "The Cranbrook Vision".  
  5. ^ "The Cranbrook vision". Interior Design. 1 April 1984. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  6. ^ Clark, Robert J; Andrea P. A. Belloli (March 1984). Design in America: The Cranbrook Vision, 1925–1950. New York: Harry N Abrams.  
  7. ^ a b c "Education - Best Graduate Schools". US News. 15 April 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  8. ^ "Oral history interview with Ruth Adler Schnee, 2002 Nov. 24-30".  
  9. ^ "Keith Haring - Biography". Renoir Fine Art Inc. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  10. ^ "Cranbrook Art Museum". Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  11. ^ Roy Slade (March 1995). Saarinen House and Garden: A Total Work of Art. Harry Abrams.  
  12. ^ a b "Building Chronology 1976-2000". Cranbrook. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  13. ^ Vivian M. Baluch (6 September 1999). "Michigan History: Carl Milles, Cranbrook's favorite sculptor".  
  14. ^ "At the Birthplace of Modernism, A Rebirth" (Press release). Cranbrook. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-10. 
  15. ^ "Cranbrook House celebrates holiday tables". 18 November 2005. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  16. ^ Presenter: Richard Guy Wilson (1997). "Newspaper Moguls, Pittock Mansion, Cranbrook House & Gardens, The American Swedish Institute". America's Castles.  
  17. ^ Luzenski, James (July 2006). "St. Dunstan's Guild Records (Summary)" (PDF). Cranbrook Archives. p. 4. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 

Further reading

  • A&E with Richard Guy Wilson, Ph.D.,(2000). America's Castles: Newspaper Moguls, Pittock Mansion, Cranbrook House & Gardens, The American Swedish Institute. A&E Television Network.
  • Merkel, Jayne (2005). Eero Saarinen. London: Phaidon Press.  
  • Pelkonen, Eeva-Liisa (2006). Eero Saarinen. New Haven: Yale University Press.  
  • Roman, Antonio (2003). Eero Saarinen. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.  
  • Serraino, Pierluigi (2006). Saarinen, 1910–1961: a Structural Expressionist. Köln: Taschen.  

External links

  • Official website
  • Historical Context Timeline of the Cranbrook Educational Community
  • Design in America : the Cranbrook vision, 1925-1950 from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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