Part of a 300-acre multi-purpose campus, Cranbrook was founded in 1904 and is designated a National Historic Landmark. The school is one of the top private college preparatory schools in Michigan and the country, and its educational, arts, and athletics programs are reflective of its identity and reputation. Cranbrook’s vision is to establish a premier tennis facility that fosters a positive coaching experience and enables spectators to engage with the sport. After seeing the GMB-designed tennis facility at Hope College, Cranbrook enlisted GMB to create the high-end professional courts on their campus to enable student athletes to have a facility to match their level of competition.

Of critical importance to Cranbrook’s identity and culture is to reinforce harmony between architecture and the existing mature landscape. The landscape of the campus is no afterthought, and instead is the primary unifying feature for the programs and spaces throughout. As the new complex clarifies circulation for athletes and spectators, in a similar way, it also does so for the larger campus by extending the network of paths for pedestrians and cyclists, bolstering the overall fabric of the campus.

The new facility consists of eight outdoor courts with a 10-foot-high, elevated viewing concourse between the rows of tennis courts, as well as a 450-square-foot team room and restroom facility. Eight high-end, post-tensioned concrete courts are stitched together with an entrance plaza and central elevated spectator viewing platform. This creates not only an efficient flow of players, coaches, and spectators, but also a unique, high-end feel for all. From the concrete contractor to the construction manager, the precise level of detail seen in this project is unparalleled. And it’s no wonder, with more attention being placed on athletics as a complement to a well-rounded educational experience as well as a community building initiative, schools and donors are investing in high-quality, longer-lasting competitive facilities.

The tennis complex began with the vision to equip Cranbrook with an extraordinary space for student athletes; the impact of that space, both beautiful and functional at the highest level, is palpable – in the way we can develop players, welcome spectators, support competition and celebrate tennis as a life-long sport. We are so fortunate to have the confidence of the philanthropic leaders who made this complex a reality, and to know the expertise of GMB architects, who planned and scaled the facility to compliment elegantly Cranbrook’s historic campus.

Aimeclaire Roche, President of Cranbrook Educational Community