Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Steven Holl

Cranbrook Institute of Science Addition (1998)

Steven Holl, Architect

On the Campus of the Cranbrook Educational Community

39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303

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Photos taken January 7, 2012

Breaking News….The 2012 AIA Gold Medal Winner is……Steven Holl.

Upon hearing the news I decided to head up to the beautiful Cranbrook Educational Community Campus in Bloomfield Hills to visit Holl’s Institute of Science Addition. The unusually warm weather and fleeting sunshine helped out.

One main feature of the addition is that it creates a new public entrance for the facility (the original structure was designed by Eliel Saarinen). The tall entry box with the multitextured glass panel screen is meant to announce the new entry, as it is tucked back beyond the original entry and round planetarium. The building is clad in golden hued stone which is used generously in other buildings on the Cranbrook campus. The glass facade is arranged in a 3-dimensional framework with the glazing set in different planes. To add interest, Holl uses different glass types in each opening with wavy, ribbed and frosted finishes. In less talented hands this would come across as a glass sample showroom display, but here Holl manages a creative composition.

Architecturally, this corner is the most interesting facade and form on the exterior. There is a courtyard with a Science Garden, including a House of Ice and House of Vapor, and a reflecting pool. Even though we are exeriencing warmer than usual weather, the courtyard elements were closed until the spring. I will be happy to venture back and post some photos of the courtyard which promises to be worthy of its own post.

I have not seen any other works by Holl. Now with his Gold Medal recognition, I will have to investigate his work further.

Architect’s Web Site Project Profile Page

Cranbrook Institute of Science Webpage