Despite its celebrities, Bloomfield Hills remains best known as home to Cranbrook, a renowned, 315-acre arts and educational complex. Here, famed Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen created a lush and lovely refuge for artists and students.
Cranbrook is known throughout the world for the integrated aesthetics of its environment. All buildings, gardens, sculpture, and interiors are treated as an integral and important part of a whole. This creative cohesion is the result of two men, patron newspaper magnate George Booth and artist Eliel Saarinen. Booth, one of the early city expatriates, bought a run-down farm in Bloomfield Hills in 1904 and commissioned noted Detroit architect Albert Kahn to build him a large, Tudor-style mansion there.
Grandson of an English coppersmith, Booth was a noted proponent of the arts-and-crafts movement, which preached a reunification of life and art. After a 1922 trip to Rome, where he visited the American Academy, he decided to create a school of architecture and design.
While the school is still known throughout the world, equal acclaim is drawn by Cranbrook’s Academy of Art Museum (39221 N. Woodward Ave., 248/645-3323, www.cranbrookart.edu, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Sun., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 4th Fri. of each month, $7 adults, $5 students, children under 13 free), with exhibits by prominent faculty and students, and the Institute of Science (248/645-3200), a family science and anthropology museum with a fascinating Physics Hall, an extensive mineral collection, a hall of Native American culture, and an observatory that’s open to the public Saturday evenings, weather permitting.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel