Research

The Three Lives of 1830 Washtenaw

Author: Grace Shackman The stately and prestigious Women's City Club started as a simple farmhouse. In its 100-plus years, 1830 Washtenaw has changed in harmony with the street it faces. Built when Washtenaw was a dirt country road, it was first a simple, boxy farmhouse. When Washtenaw became a fashionable address, the house was ingeniously transformed into an imposing home for a wealthy physician. As the Women's City Club since 1951, it...

Frank Lloyd Wright in Ann Arbor

Author: Grace Shackman Thanks to Frank Lloyd Wright, Bill and Mary Palmer raised their family in a work of art. On a Saturday morning a little over a year ago, a group that included prominent local architect Larry Brink; Doug Kelbaugh, dean of the U-M’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; builder Bruce Niethammer; and George Colone, a heating specialist from Hutzel Plumbing & Heating, met to discuss a failing radiant...

Lurie Terrace at Fifty

Published In: Ann Arbor Observer, December 2014 Author: Grace Shackman Lurie Terrace, a residence for active seniors of moderate means, was a real groundbreaker when it was built fifty years ago. "There were none [like it] to the best of our knowledge" recalls Bob Chance, one of the four architects who worked on it. The designers had no template to follow, just organizer Shata Ling's vision. Ling was a remarkable woman who was...

A Midcentury Modern House in the Old West Side

[caption id="attachment_22740" align="alignleft" width="167"] Author: Grace Shackman[/caption] Most people think of the Old West Side as a neighborhood of late 19th and early 20th century homes, but tucked in here and there on lots that were still empty after World War II are examples of Mid-Century Modern (MCM) houses. These houses are more numerous in Ann Arbor than most other cites due to the influences of the U-M architecture school that promoted this style...

Ann Arbor’s Steel Houses

Author: Grace Shackman Once the object of neighbors' wrath, Lustron homes have emerged as winsome modernist antiques. Lustron homes were one of the most innovative solutions to the post-World War II housing shortage. Nine of them can still be found in Ann Arbor, in close to their original condition despite dire predictions at the time of their construction (1948-1950) that they would soon be a pile of rust. Except for the cement slab...

Alden Dow’s Ann Arbor

Author: Grace Shackman Inspired by a teenage trip to Japan, the Dow Chemical heir spurned the family business to devote his life to architecture. From city hall to the U-M’s administration building, he put a quirky modernist stamp on the city. Judy Dow Rumelhart was walking down Fifth Avenue one day recently when it started to rain. Looking around for shelter, she spotted the Ann Arbor District Library, a building originally designed...

Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America

In every way, this copiously illustrated book pleases and informs. Its editors have understood the mission, perfectly, to make a case for Michigan Modernism, not as a derivative response to ideas imported from elsewhere but as an original expression that "grew from the state's indigenous industries and the populations they served." (Alec Hess, Foreword) The proof comes by way of 28 essays and interviews presented in 4 categories of inquiry. The...

Mid-Michigan Modern

Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie by Susan Bandes - Hardcover - October 1, 2016 From 1940 to 1970 mid-Michigan had an extensive and varied legacy of modernist architecture. While this book explores buildings by renowned architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Alden B. Dow, and the Keck brothers, the text—based on archival research and oral histories—focuses more heavily on regional architects whose work was strongly influenced by international modern...

Metcalf Modern

This article was initially published in the Ann Arbor observer in April, 2011. Author: Grace Shackman   In the 1960s, U-M Profs sometimes waited years for architect Bob Metcalf to design their homes. Now his mid-century designs are back in fashion. Bob Metcalf, at age eighty-seven, is adding a two-car garage to his house on 1052 Arlington. He already has a one-car garage and isn't currently driving, but he's building it now because he...

20th Century Architecture, Furniture and Finishes

20th Century Architecture, Furniture and Finishes Start date: 03/21/17 Molly Osler teaches this class which is for anyone interested in 20th century architecture and design. It investigates mid-century modern design with an emphasis on historical aspects of domestic surroundings, including an investigation of the Bauhaus School and its influence on 20th and 21st century architecture and interiors. ...