The Cranbrook Art Academy has appointed Reed Kroloff, the current dean of Tulane University’s architecture school, as its director. Kroloff will assume his new post at the school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on July 1. He was selected after a seven-month-long search and review of 150 candidates nationwide.
Kroloff’s time at Tulane, which began in the fall of 2004, was marked by tumult. After shepherding the school through its dislocation and resettlement during the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he played an integral role in helping it to retain nearly all students and faculty after the storm. In addition, the school’s new CITYbuild program initiated design programs to aid in the recovery of local neighborhoods. More controversial, though, was Kroloff’s work with the Bring New Orleans Back Commission Urban Planning Committee. The group’s action plan sparked protest from community members who feared that their houses were threatened by the development of new parks. Moreover, Kroloff’s public statements and articles, on topics ranging from New Urbanism to race, raised eyebrows within the architectural community.
Although the Cranbrook position promises to be less contentious, it does bring with it some complexities. The academy oversees studio-based education in 10 disciplines, including architecture, metalwork, and three-dimensional design. Kroloff will also likely continue his responsibilities as a principal of Jones/Kroloff Design Services, an architect-selection advisor specializing in education and cultural institutions.
Between 1989 and 1995, Kroloff taught at Arizona State University and rose to assistant dean. He went on to become the editor-in-chief of the now-defunct magazine Architecture. At Cranbrook, he replaces Gerhardt Knodel, who has been director since 1996. Knodel announced in March 2006 that he would step down so that he could return to his textile practice fulltime.