The Challenge

Cranbrook's campus is a nationally recognized landmark, known for its tranquil setting and Eliel Saarinen-designed buildings. When Cranbrook set out to design and outfit the new Kingswood Middle School for Girls, the goal was to create a modern building where girls can learn and grow, that also blends seamlessly into the rest of the Cranbrook environment.


  • Designate "clusters" for different grades
  • Create common areas for students to meet
  • Bring in natural light
  • Blend the building with nature
  • Integrate technology
  • Design comfortable offices for teachers
  • Take cues from Saarinen design
  • Incorporate existing Saarinen statement pieces

Design Solutions

  • Colorful, textured cushions on benches and window nooks create comfortable gathering spaces
  • Low-height library bookshelves and storage units allow for more natural light and views of nature
  • Natural materials, warm, soft-hued carpets, and light-wood furniture blend seamlessly with the outdoors
  • Lightweight, easily-stacked chairs fit in storage closets and provide flexibilty
  • Soft seating areas create warm places for students to meet
  • Furniture with clean, simple lines fits in with existing Saarinen pieces
  • Tables equipped for power and data integrate modern technology 

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