No American campus is as accessible and rewarding to visitors as the Cranbrook Educational Community, located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, 20 miles north of
Detroit. Founded nearly a century ago by publisher-philanthropist
George Booth, the landscaped complex of schools and studios
was laid out by Eliel Saarinen, the great Finnish architect. He
designed the principal buildings, which are scattered over
320 bucolic acres, and a sybaritic house for himself that has
been restored and is open for tours. His compatriot, Carl Milles,
contributed fountains and figurative sculptures.
Over the past two decades, José Rafael Moneo, Steven
Holl, Billie Tsien, Tod Williams and other notable architects have
enriched the legacy with their own understated additions. In
the 1990s, campus architect Dan Hoffman designed high-tech
structures that were constructed by students teamed with veteran
automobile craftsmen. The Art Museum, closed for a three-year
renovation and expansion, will reopen on November 11—a good
reason to make a first or follow-up visit to this idyllic enclave.