• The new Collections Wing is clad in clear-glazed red brick that references the masonry work of the original Eliel Saarinen building.

    Credit: Justin Maconochie

    The new Collections Wing is clad in clear-glazed red brick that references the masonry work of the original Eliel Saarinen building.
A nearly 20,000-square-foot addition to the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., simultaneously stores and displays the 6,000-plus objects in its permanent collection. The two-year, $22 million project included a renovation of the original exhibition building by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, plus the addition designed by the Detroit offices of the architecture, engineering, interiors, and planning firm SmithGroup. Part of the Cranbrook Academy of Art campus, the museum’s innovative design acts as an open vault that can be used by students and visitors as a place to explore art, architecture, and design. The goal of the permanent collection is to foster an even stronger sense of integrated teaching and learning at the institution.

The 11-day grand reopening celebration began Nov. 11 with special programming and events, including No Object is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection. Created to commemorate the grand reopening celebration, the exhibition will remain open through March 25, 2012. No Object is an Island pairs pieces from 50 leading contemporary artists and designers with an equal number of selections from Cranbrook’s permanent collection of 20th- and 21st-century art and design. The exhibition’s unexpected pairings—like that of Asymptote Architecture’s design for its 2011 YAS Hotel in Dubai next to Eero Saarinen’s model of Dulles International Airport in Virginia—are symbolic of the famous partnerships that have occurred throughout the institution’s history. For museum hours and a listing of special grand reopening events, visit www.cranbrookart.edu/museum.

ARCHITECT, our sister publication, provides additional reporting about the renovation and new addition.