Cranbrook Academy of Art (Doug Johnston)



Sep '05 - Apr '07

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    Doug Johnston
    Oct 6, '05 1:00 AM EST

    Tonight most of us (there are 15 of us +Bill) went to Midland, MI to see Daniel Libeskind lecture and afterwards hang out at a country club with he and his wife and a bunch of locals. It was fun and we got a lovely group picture with him, which i hope to post soon. He flashed through about 20 projects he is working on: mostly apartment towers over 30 floors tall in various cities around the world. In public presentations has become very good at breaking his work down into little emotive bits so that is easily digestible.
    The best part is that we were invited guests and it was all paid for by someone else. Daniel was the architect-in-residence here for a while in the 70's and 80's... i think it maybe had something to do with that. His wife seemed pretty curious about how things were around here now, and he commented that it is a wonderful place. Though, what else do you say when 12 cranbrook students are standing around you expecting you to say something?

    Today we also had our first critiques of the semester. the way we do is each person gets 2 all-studio crits each semester, with the option of organizing supplemental crits on your own when you want them. It was really great, i have been so hungry for that kind of discussion since i graduated from u-grad. The discussions were good and i think it was exactly what we needed to really get the semester rolling properly.

    Tomorrow or friday i am going to write about the first-year-first-semester project this year and what it entails, and include lots of images of it... big post... stay tuned.

    For now i'll show some images of the newly-renovated architecture studios!
    The building used to be where cranbrook's school parked their busses for the summer and worked on them, so its a large warehaouse with very thick concrete floors. Previously the sutdios were divided by stud walls attached to the floors and the space in the trusses was floored to made loft/storage space. this summer all of that was ripped out and new walls were made which are hinged on one end and on wheels at the other end. So during the summer or for large scale projects the walls can be folded out of the way to create one large warehouse space. The walls include flourescent uplighting in them and everything got a new coat of fresh white paint. its perfect in so many ways.

    a space this size (about 15'x25') is normally shared by two people.

    this shot is during construction - the walls are one SIP panel covered with 1/2 gyp bd.

    this is the studio kitchen. most all of my food is here and cook all my meals here, even though i live off campus and have a great kitchen. I am barely ever home now.

    this is the computer room in the arch. studio during the renovation. we're supposed to be getting several new computers (a few dells and a few g5's) but there is some hold up with the leasing company, which has been kind of annoying for some people.

    this is one of the other studio spaces, one of 4, which is not of the folding-wall variety. This space is normally shared by two people, this semester its all Thomas'.

    this is matt setting up the architecture metalshop which got moved to the little garage connected to the arch. bldg. Its great and full of tools, but only a few of them actually work... but its actually just enough do most of what everyone needs to do here at the arch. bldg. The art academy also has a metalshop for everyone to use, and a separate one for the metals department, so really you can do just about anything you want with metal here.

    this is the woodshop which grew in size by about 40% and got a fresh coat of paint. We are supposed to get a small 32x19" laser cutter within 2 weeks, and bill's 4'x8' laser cutter and cnc router are both in there right now too. Andy W. (studied furniture at RISD u-grad) and eric. s. built a new reception desk for the art museum this summer... he and Jessica are working on the laminate in this picture.

    one of the first things we did as a group of first-year students was to rebuild the computer lab tables to make them more comfortable/functional. Bill's CNC router is sitting in the background.

    the second thing we did as a first year group was to build some cheap desks to work on. Apparently desks used to be provided, but they were old and shitty and none of the students even used them, so they threw them away this summer. We made 3'x7' sawhorse-and-door desks for about $40 each.

    this is the architecture building from the street on the edge of campus.

    this is the architecture bldg and metalshop from the parking lot. Its attached to the Boy's High School. Cranbrook Art Academy is actually part of a 300+ acre campus which includes the CAA, the art museum, the science museum, a girls boarding school, a boy's high school, and a boys middle school. the art academy is sort of connected/next to the boy's high school.

    this is the arch. bldg from the football field. at night it gets covered in fog and looks dreamy.

    the first wall is painted yellow on the side which faces the windows. just to draw attention to it. The chalkboard is one of the ways information gets distributed to the whole studio.

    i'll end with an image of ivy growing on the art museum wall. i love this.

    more soon...


    • manamana

      wow... I grew up about 3 blocks from that country club. funny that Midland finally gets something of interest a month after I move out of state.


      Oct 6, 05 2:19 am
      brian buchalski

      libeskind in midland? great, there goes the neighborhood...the 'naw is better anyways.

      Oct 6, 05 9:40 am

      very informative, looks like great working space.

      Oct 6, 05 12:06 pm

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