Exhibition Detail

Eliel Saarinen, Kingswood School Auditorium, 1931. Photo: James Haefner

Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan

October 8, 2021 - January 9, 2022
Lower Level

Eliel Saarinen was already an architect of renown in his native Finland before emigrating with his family to the United States in 1923.

He would meet George Booth, Cranbrook’s founder along with his wife Ellen Scripps Booth, through his son Henry who was studying architecture with Saarinen at the University of Michigan. Saarinen would commence building the Booths’ dream of Cranbrook in a series of astoundingly beautiful buildings, completing the historic campus in stages from 1927–1942. The result is one of the world’s most enchanted places—a total work of art, where every detail has been designed.

Over the last several years, photographer James Haefner has documented the art and architecture of Cranbrook, including the buildings featured in this exhibition: Kingswood School, the Academy of Art Library and Art Museum, and Saarinen House, as well as new images of Cranbrook School.

Designated in 1989 as a National Historic Landmark, Cranbrook Educational Community comprises 319 acres of stunning architecture, graceful fountains, and bucolic landscapes.

Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director, with support from ArtMembers of Cranbrook Art Museum and the Museum Committee.