This 11,000 sf new building addition to the Institute of Science at the Cranbrook Educational Community includes a multipurpose meeting and community room, museum lobby, museum storage and related support facilities.
Located at the south west quadrant of the museum complex, the project re-organizes the Institute's entry sequence with a new entry plaza, 200 car parking deck and bus drop-off. The parking deck is cut into an existing meadow to reduce its visibility from the surrounding area. The original Institute building was designed by Eliel Saarinen, the noted Finnish architect and is on the national historic register. A major addition design by Steven Holl and completed in 1996 is located at the opposite side of the building. The proportions of the building recall the strong, horizontal lines of the existing structure.
The fiber cement and zinc panel rain screen façade is organized in a random, ashlar pattern that is reiterated in the wood paneling covering the interior service volumes. The meeting room is designed as a multi-use space to accommodate a wide range of activities including school group lunches, lectures and fund-raising events. A series of full height doors connect the meeting room to the rest of the lobby allowing the two spaces to be combined for large events.