clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Koebel House: An Eero and Eliel Saarinen Collaboration

New, 6 comments

Finnish-American Architect Eero Saarinen came from a design power family at one time based in Bloomfield Hills, MI. His dad, Eliel, was the Cranbrook Academy of Art's first resident architect and later first president. Big fans of Eliel have probably already been out to Cranbrook to see the Art Deco home he designed which includes furniture by son Eero. But did you know that father and son collaborated on a house in Grosse Point Farms? And that the house is still around, though somewhat a closely guarded secret? Completed in 1940, the five bedroom home is 5,600 square feet. It was purchased from the Koebel family in 1985, restored, and added to the National Register of historical places in 2009. It remains a private home (IE: do not disturb the owners please. Gawk from the privacy of the internet and don't go knocking on doors.) While the home is certainly not the most beautiful local landmark we've seen, it does matter to modernism. We know because we asked a Saarinen expert.
New York architecture critic Alexandra Lange, who runs Let's Get Critical and contributed to the book Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future , had this to say:

"The Koebel House is interesting because it shows Eero Saarinen beginning the transition from his father's style to his own. The outside of the house isn't radical, but on the interior he uses many of the tricks of later more obviously modern houses: an open plan, a sculptural curve, a round skylight, a built-in sofa. He didn't wake up one morning and design the TWA Terminal, it took him 20 years."
· Eero Saarinen [Triangle Modernist Houses]
· Cranbrook's Saarinen Home: Stay-Cation Destination for The Architecture Enthusiast [Curbed Detroit]