William E. Massie Announces Departure from Cranbrook Academy of Art

Bloomfield Hills, Mich., June 8, 2016 – Cranbrook Academy of Art announced today that William E. Massie, Architect-in-Residence and Head of the Architecture Department, will leave the Academy at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year. Massie notified the Academy of his decision earlier this week.

Massie’s career at Cranbrook began in 2005, when he came to the Academy from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy New York, where he was an Associate Professor of Architecture. He also previously held teaching positions at Lawrence Technological University, Parsons School of Design, Montana State University, and Columbia University.

An accomplished architect and designer, Massie received the 2011 Arts and Letters Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, one of the country’s highest recognitions of artistic merit. At the time, James Polshek, a member of the selection committee, commended Massie as a “free-spirited constructivist inventor who has expanded the architectural canvas.”

Massie is best known for his work in digital design and fabrication, and his homes feature innovative yet sustainable design. His Big Belt House in Montana won a Progressive Architecture award from Architecture magazine in 2000 and his design of A House for a Photographer won the award again in 2002. In 2003, a scale model of Big Belt House was added to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. Massie was also the winner of the Museum of Modern Art’s Young Architects Program competition in 2002 for his project Playa Urbana/Urban Beach.

While at Cranbrook, Massie mentored dozens of graduates who have gone on to shape the field of architecture and design. In 2008, he also debuted the American House 08, the first in a series of 10 prefabricated houses, designed and constructed entirely in Massie’s studio using his skills in computer-based fabrication technology for production. The home was installed on Cranbrook’s campus over the summer of 2008 and featured in Dwell magazine.

“For more than a decade, Bill has brought ideas to Cranbrook that revolutionized the way architecture is made,” said Chris Scoates, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum. “Cranbrook has a rich architectural design heritage that not only includes Saarinen and Eames, but also architects such as Dan Hoffman, Peter Bohlin, Ralph Rapson, and Hani Rashid, just to name a few. Massie helped the Academy add a new chapter to its legacy with his innovative methods and digital fabrication. We are thankful for his time spent here, and look forward to following his future projects.”

In 2015, Massie opened the Wessen Lawn Tennis Club in Pontiac, a northern suburb of Detroit near Cranbrook Academy of Art. He revived a blighted 10-acre site to create the first grass court club built in North America in more than a century. He continues to maintain a thriving residential design practice and is currently working on several custom homes.

Massie received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Architectural Studies from Parsons School of Design. He subsequently received a Master of Architecture from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. Upon graduation he worked for Robertson + McAnulty Architects and James Stewart Polshek and Partners, before starting his own company in 1993 while simultaneously accepting a teaching position in the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University where he was appointed as the Coordinator for Building Technologies Research.

Massie will stay on for the fall 2016 semester, and be on leave for the spring semester, at which time the Academy will appoint a temporary replacement. A nationwide search for his permanent replacement will begin next year.

Media Contact:
Julie Fracker
Director of Communications
Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum

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