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Cranbrook Wellness Center

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

The Cranbrook Wellness Center is a year-long project that involves the design of a spa, wellness facilities, and guest rooms on the campus of the architecturally-renown Cranbrook Educational Community. The project program includes pools and spa areas, a yoga studio, lobby and communal kitchen, facilities for overnight guests, and related ancillary spaces. Components of the studio throughout the year included an overnight field trip to the Cranbrook campus, a critical examination of the historical context of Cranbrook and its structures, research into materials and precedents related to spa facilities, and the design of passive and active environmental strategies and systems.

A site was selected north of the Saarinen-designed Boys School, adjacent to a wooded ravine near the 2001 natatorium designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. The design solution responds to the site and program by placing the most publicly-accessible functions at the main ground level. The more private spa areas on the level below, located in a portion of the building cuts into the hillside. The guest rooms on a bar that is lifted one story above ground level, allowing views from the rooms into the forest canopy and from the adjacent athletic field into the ravine. The palette of materials is kept simple, with a strong emphasis on structural honesty and the experience of the facility as a warm, welcome place of relaxation and refuge.

Click on a thumbnail below for a full-size image:

  Materials Research
  Entrance Axonometric
  Site Plan
  Lower Level Plan
   Main Level Plan
   Upper Level Plan
   East – West Sections
   North – South Section
   Section Through Guest Wing
   Section – Perspective


Structures / Environment / Construction Studio
Fall 2010, Spring 2011
University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning
Studio Critics Patricia Kucker (Fall 2010), Bob Burnham (Spring 2011)