At the Academy, our focus is on studio-based education where the central activity is the making of art and design. To support the work happening in our ten departments, the Academy maintains a Central Media Lab and a Fabrications Facility. Both areas are open to all students, regardless of their primary department. Staff members and student assistants are on hand to help students with using the available technology and equipment. At Cranbrook, we believe in both the old and the new, so students are supported whether they are making things simply by hand or designing and making digitally. Our Central Media Lab and Fabrication Facility are also important sites of interdisciplinary activity – students work side by side on a variety of projects with different levels of experience and approach, creating a natural atmosphere of exchange.
Fabrication and Media Lab at Cranbrook Academy of Art
The Central Media Lab (CML)
The Central Media Lab offers a number of production resource options, including a tiered Viewing Room (with seating for 20 people), a central Computer Lab with HD video edit suits, a Production Studio with cove wall, fixed LED studio lighting (for staging still capture or keyed effects). The Production Studio Control Room also hosts an audio isolation booth. For those who play a musical instrument, there is a practice room available by reservation. The Central Media Lab is equipped with the latest Macintosh and PC hardware and the Lab supports the most popular Mac and PC software by Adobe, Microsoft, Apple and Autodesk. Digital print and capture options include flatbed scanning, a 3D HD handheld scanner, HD video and DSLR cameras. Output options include HD projection, color and b&w laser printers, large format archival inkjet plotters, an ABS/PLA 3D printer and an digital embroidery machine. Spaces and equipment can be reserved by students and hand-held equipment can be checked out.
Each year the CML offers an orientation on use of lab technology and subscribes to an on-line interactive training portal that delivers self-paced videos (basic to advanced) on hundreds of software applications. Workshops are also scheduled to help students learn new techniques and tips on new software and hardware being used in the field. The CML also networks with regional production facilities in and around Detroit.
The CML is staffed between the hours of 9am-11pm weekdays and noon-11pm on weekends (after hours access can be arranged). There is 24 hours access to the CML foyer area where students use a kitchenette, meeting space, flat screen viewing space and vending machines.
The Fabrication facilities at the Academy include a fully equipped Woodshop, a machine room, which houses a 96×48 inch Techno Isel CNC router, and a 96×48 inch Techno Isel CNC plasma cutter. Adjacent to the Woodshop is an open workspace, which houses two Universal laser cutters, one 24×48 inch and the other 32×18 inch. Also in this workspace is a 48×48 inch vacuum former for plastic forming. There is a model shop and industrial-size spray booth, fully ventilated for experimentation with new materials such as epoxies and resins, adjacent to the woodshop. All of these facilities are shared and open to all students for use, and are staffed by knowledgeable and friendly technicians and student assistants. Individual instruction is available; all students are welcome, no matter their skill level. The staff prides themselves on putting safety first, and with helping students build confidence in their fabrication skills, instead of merely doing the work for them.
The fabrication facilities are acquiring new techniques annually. If there is something you are interested in, please bring it to the attention of the fabrications coordinator. Throughout the year, workshops are held to introduce students to new forms of creating work on campus. These workshops range from digital fabrication, basic electronics building and simple programming, as well as demonstrations on analog tools, which work alone, or in tandem with digital tools.