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Cranbrook Educational Community
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark District
Cranbrook Art Museum
Location: 39221 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
 United States
Coordinates: 42°34′3.4″N 83°14′36.9″W / 42.567611°N 83.243583°W / 42.567611; -83.243583Coordinates: 42°34′3.4″N 83°14′36.9″W / 42.567611°N 83.243583°W / 42.567611; -83.243583
Built/Founded: 1926-99
Architect: Eliel Saarinen
Albert Kahn
Architectural style(s): 20th Century American
Governing body: Cranbrook Board of Trustees
Added to NRHP: March 7, 1973[1]
Designated NHLD: June 29, 1989[2]
NRHP Reference#: 73000954

The Cranbrook Educational Community, a National Historic Landmark, in the U.S. state of Michigan was founded in the early 20th century by newspaper mogul George Gough Booth. Cranbrook campus is in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills consisting of Cranbrook Schools, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, Cranbrook Institute of Science and Cranbrook House and Gardens. (Nearby Christ Church Cranbrook has remained outside this structure.)[3]. The sprawling, 319 acre (129 hectare) campus began as a 174 acre (70 ha) farm, purchased in 1904. The organization takes its name from Cranbrook, England, the birthplace of the founder's father.

Cranbrook is renowned for its architecture in the Arts and Crafts Movement style. The chief architects were Albert Kahn and Eliel Saarinen. Renowned sculptors Carl Milles and Marshall Fredericks also spent many years in residence at Cranbrook.


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 1915. 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.

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 1970s Cranbrook School for Boys also constructed a state-of-the-art Science Building named Gordon Science.

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 for Girls. Unlike her husband, Ellen encouraged Saarinen to come up with a unique interior design for the campus completely on his own. Unlike the Cranbrook School for Boys, which featured several buildings, the Kingswood School for Girls was only one building which included all necessary features inside of it. The building housed dormitories, a dining hall, auditorium, classrooms, bowling alley, lounge/common areas, and a ballroom. The education at Kingswood School for Girls was primarily viewed initially as a "finishing school" although that would change as time would pass.

In 1986, the Cranbrook School for Boys and Kingswood School for Girls entered a joint merger 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, titled "Design in America: The Cranbrook Vision 1925-1950", toured major museums in the United States and Europe. [4] [5] A related book has also been published.[6]

Degrees and rankings

The Cranbrook School Quadrangle

This method of teaching has proved beneficial for the school, as many of its graduate programs are considered among the best in the country by both US News and 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 [1] in italics:

Notable alumni & faculty

Famous alumni of the Art Academy include Marc Awodey, Ed Bacon, Harry Bertoia, Richard DeVore, Niels Diffrient, Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Ed Fella, Paul Granlund, 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, Harry Weese (City Planning fellowship, 1938-39), Lycia Trouton, Lorraine Wild, and Daniel Libeskind (Dean of the Faculty of Architecture 1978 - 1995).

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 here.[8]

Cranbrook Art Museum

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.[9] 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 is currently closed for renovations and addition of a new Collections Wing and is scheduled to reopen in spring 2011. Saarinen House is open for tours, May 1 - October 31 throughout the renovation period. Tours will leave from the Cranbrook Institute of Science (CIS). A collaborative program between Cranbrook Art Museum and Cranbrook Institute of Science entitled "Artology" will take place in the lower level of CIS with the first exhibition to open in the Fall of 2009.

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) at the Detroit Civic Center.[10]

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, as well as a koi pond.

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.

The composer Leonard Bernstein resided at Cranbrook House in April 1946, composing scores on the Cranbrook House Steinway concert grand piano[11].

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 warm summer months the St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild performs in the outdoor Greek Theatre which is located next to the Cranbrook House.

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Cranbrook". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  3. ^ History of Cranbrook
  4. ^ a b Goldberger, Paul (1984-04-08). "The Cranbrook Vision". The New York Times Magazine (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  5. ^ "The Cranbrook vision.". Interior Design. 1984-04-01. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  6. ^ Clark, Robert J; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Andrea P. A. Belloli, Detroit Institute of Arts (1984-03). Design in America: The Cranbrook Vision, 1925-1950. New York: Harry N Abrams. ISBN 978-0810908017. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Cranbrook Art Museum
  10. ^ Baulch, Vivian M. (September 6, 1999).Carl Milles, Cranbrook's favorite sculptor. Michigan History, The Detroit News. Retrieved on November 23, 2007.
  11. ^

References and 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.
  • Clark, Robert J; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Andrea P. A. Belloli, Detroit Institute of Arts (1984). Design in America: The Cranbrook Vision, 1925-1950. New York: Harry N Abrams. ISBN 978-0810908017. 
  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. 
  • Merkel, Jayne (2005). Eero Saarinen. London: Phaidon Press. ISBN 071484277X. 
  • Pelkonen, Eeva-Liisa (2006). Eero Saarinen. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300112823. 
  • Roman, Antonio (2003). Eero Saarinen. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 1568983409. 
  • Saarinen, Aline B. (ed) (1968). Eero Saarinen on His Work. New Haven: Yale University Press. 
  • Serraino, Pierluigi (2006). Saarinen, 1910-1961: a Structural Expressionist. KöLn: Taschen. ISBN 3822836451. 

External links


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