Cranbrook Art Museum Collections Building

ClientPaul Urbanek
DesignerPaul Urbanek, FAIA, project designer Kevin Shultis, AIA, principal-in-charge/project manager Ryan Smith, AIA, project architect Design Team: Darin Daguanno, AIA; Terry Guitar, AIA; Frank Muehlenbein; Frank Weber, AIA; Mark Goyette; Ben Motyl; Tom O’Connor, FAIA; Jared Lawrence, AIA; Andrew Dunlap, AIA; Meredith Steckling, AIA; Jerry Carter Mechanical Engineer: SmithGroupJJR -- Brian Noonan, PE; Curt Songer, PE Structural Engineer: SmithGroupJJR -- Andrea Reynolds, PE; Michael Skalsky Electrical Engineer: SmithGroupJJR -- Lokman Abbas, PE Civil Engineer: Spalding deDecker Consulting Engineers Construction Manager: Frank Rewold & Sons Lighting Designer: SmithGroupJJR -- Jeff Gerwing, IALD; Matt Alleman, LC
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Flanking the majestic peristyle of Eliel Saarinen’s Cranbrook Academy Art Museum, the new 31,200 gsf Collections Building completes the second phase of the Museum Master Plan. The brick is toned a deep rich brown with a clear glaze to provide for gentle reflections. The eastern side of the building reveals the three rectangular volumes that decrease in width and height, as they recede northward from the museum. The simple expression of the building creates a respectful dialogue with the clean lines of Saarinen’s Museum. Within, the building is an expression of utilitarian concrete block construction enhanced to an artistic light. The gray block has the joints raked and the soft concrete coating retained to provide sheen as a backdrop to finely crafted details. Each opening within the block has a stainless steel plate surround. Mahogany plank doors are introduced with custom stainless steel push/pulls to accentuate the act of crossing each threshold, a continued Saarinen theme. Within the paths of circulation recessed niches of stainless steel and granite provide place for art. Nearly doubling the museum’s usable floor space, the building provides 7,000 gsf of storage to allow the full collection of design, textiles, ceramics and fine art, many from famed designers, such as Charles Eames, Florence Knoll and various other luminaries, to be displayed and accessed, underscoring the pedagogical mission of the institution by bringing the collection to life for a new generation of artists, students and visitors. The Collections Building Archive Room is designed as a place of learning about art within the art itself. Each of the collection storage rooms are outfitted so the Academy teachers and Museum curators can teach within the collection itself.