Skip to main content

Noel and Isabel Buckner Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 2013-12

Collection Scope

The collection documents the building and furnishing of the house. Invoices show purchases of fittings, furniture and landscaping materials. Specifications give details of the house structure. Architectural plans for the home are cataloged in the Horizon database, the records for which can be viewed online. Copies of photographs taken in 1957 by Better Homes and Gardens are included along with clippings written about the home.

Dates

  • 1941 - 2003

Creator

Access

Access to the collection is unrestricted.

Use

Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.

History

This collection documents a residence that was recently demolished. Designed by architect Robert Harter Snyder in 1955, the Buckner residence was a prime example of mid-century modern architecture in Michigan. Snyder, who was Head of the Architecture Department at the time, was commissioned by a former Kingswood School graduate (Isabel Wolfner Buckner) and her husband, Noel, to design a modernist residence for them on Walnut Lake at 2633 Cove Lane, West Bloomfield Township. The Buckners, who were friends with several Academy of Art artists, also commissioned Wallace Mitchell to design a rug for the new home. This collection will help document the work of Robert Snyder, which is currently only minimally represented in Cranbrook collections.

Robert H. Snyder received a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture in 1941, and worked at Albert Kahn Associates (1941-1943), among other firms, prior to service in the Navy during World War II. From 1948 to1950, he attended Cranbrook Academy of Art, receiving a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Design. Shortly after the death of Eliel Saarinen in July 1950, Snyder was appointed instructor of the Architecture Department. During this time he was also employed by Saarinen, Saarinen and Associates as a project manager (1949-1951). Snyder was appointed Head of the Architecture Department in 1951.

The work of Snyder’s architectural firm, Robert Harter Snyder Associates, included consultation with Ford Motor Company on a master plan for Dearborn (1952), collaboration with Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard on a summer home in northern Canada (1951-1953), and with Girard on a furniture exhibition for Herman Miller (1952). His early work included residential, ecclesiastical and public buildings, including the East Detroit (now Eastpointe) Public Library (1953), the Buckner residence (1955), the addition for Owosso’s First Congregational Church (1958), and Episcopal churches in Gaylord, Grayling (1962), and Toledo (1963).

While at Cranbrook, Snyder was an outspoken critic of the federal Urban Renewal Program, advocating for smaller-sized cities. In 1961 he presented a plan to decentralize cities to the U.S. House Committee on Housing and Urban Renewal. From 1962-1965 Snyder was commissioned by the Cranbrook Foundation to develop a Master Plan Study of the Cranbrook campus, and a national Center for Advanced Studies of Environment and Architecture, which was co-sponsored by the American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Planners.

Extent

.2 Linear Feet (1 MS)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection documents a residence that was recently demolished. Designed by architect Robert Harter Snyder in 1955, the Buckner residence was a prime example of mid-century modern architecture in Michigan. Snyder, who was Head of the Architecture Department at the time, was commissioned by a former Kingswood School graduate (Isabel Wolfner Buckner) and her husband, Noel, to design a modernist residence for them on Walnut Lake at 2633 Cove Lane, West Bloomfield Township. The Buckners, who were friends with several Academy of Art artists, also commissioned Wallace Mitchell to design a rug for the new home. This collection will help document the work of Robert Snyder, which is currently only minimally represented in Cranbrook collections. The collection documents the building and furnishing of the Buckner's house. I

Arrangement

The collection is arranged by record type in alphabetical order.

Acquisition

The architectural drawings and documents were donated by Elizabeth Buckner; the photographic materials by Noel Buckner.

Related Materials

Cranbrook Archives Architectural Drawing Collection

Transfers

Architectural records are housed with the Cranbrook Architectural Drawings Collection.

Processing History

Leslie S. Edwards, February 2015
Title
Guide to the Noel and Isabel Buckner Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Leslie S. Edwards
Date
February 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Edition statement
Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.

Repository Details

Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository

Contact:
39221 Woodward Ave.
P.O. Box 801
Bloomfield Hills MI 48303 US