Docomomo Tour Day 2020: "the ‘70s Turn 50"

Sunday, October 18th 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Cranbrook Virtual Behind-the-Scenes Program
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304


$25 per Viewer
Lecture will be Password-Protected – Advance Registration is Required
Registration Closes at 2:00pm on Sunday, October 18

Presented by Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, Docomomo US/Michigan, and Bowlero Lanes & Lounge

Ruth Mills, Chapter President, and the Board Members of Docomomo US/Michigan
Gregory Wittkopp, Director, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, and Docomomo US/Michigan Board Member
Kelly and Dean Elliott, Owners, Bowlero Lanes & Lounge, Royal Oak, Michigan

Kevin Adkisson, Associate Curator, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research

Proceeds will benefit the educational programs of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and the preservation advocacy of Docomomo US/Michigan

Join the Michigan Chapter of Docomomo US and Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research as they partner with Docomomo US for Tour Day 2020. This year's national theme, which will be explored throughout the month of October by chapters across the nation, is the '70s Turn 50

The 1970s were a time of great change in American culture and society, and a decade of an even greater variety of forms, technical advances, and ideas of architectural thinking. Here in Michigan, the 1970s witnessed the rise of John Portman’s Renaissance Center (1973–1977) in downtown Detroit, the opening of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo’s concrete and glass Power Center for the Performing Arts (1971) on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and the building of Richard Meier’s Douglas House (1971–1973) in Harbor Springs on the shore of Lake Michigan. On a more intimate scale, the 1970s also saw the final evolution of the interiors of the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House—a Usonian house that was designed in the 1940s, completed in 1950, and expanded by William Wesley Peters and Taliesin Associated Architects in 1969.

The Michigan celebration of Tour Day 2020 will start at Bowlero Lanes & Lounge in Royal Oak, which has been authentically renovated by the current owners, Kelly and Dean Elliott, to capture the look and feel of the 1970s, when the lounge was added to the building. With bowlers in period outfits throwing a few strikes and spares in the background, the Elliotts and their bartender will take us on a tour of Bowlero Lanes & Lounge and show us how to mix one of their signature cocktails. Don’t worry, registered participants will receive a list of the ingredients in advance of the program!

Our Zoom screens will then move to Bloomfield Hills and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House. After a brief examination of some of Michigan’s architectural icons from the 1970s, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research curator Kevin Adkisson (who is proud to proclaim his passion for the ‘70s) will provide a behind-the-scenes tour of the interiors of the Smith House—focusing on the mod sunroom replete with its original Naugahyde-upholstered sectional seating, handwoven shag rug, hand-thrown pottery, and Paul Evans-designed “forged sculpture front” console.  A view from the expansive windows will also reveal details of the recently restored Thomas Dolliver Church-designed landscape.

The program will return to Bowlero Lanes & Lounge for audience questions, and a chance to share some of your own thoughts about this overlooked decade in the history of American architecture and interior design.


3:45 – 4:00pm: Virtual Zoom Room Open (Turn on your video, unmute yourself, and say hello!)

4:00 – 4:15pm: Welcome from the Board Members of the Michigan Chapter of Docomomo US, Groovy Bowlero Lanes & Lounge Tour, and Signature Cocktail Mixing and Sipping Instructions

4:15 – 5:00pm: Reflections on a Few ‘70s Architectural Icons in Michigan and Virtual Tour of the Mod ‘70s-era Interiors of the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House

5:00 – 5:15pm:  Q&A and Conversation among Viewers


Prior to the program date, registered participants will receive an email with instructions on how to join this virtual experience. As this program benefits the operations of both Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and Docomomo US/Michigan, both not-for-profit organizations, we ask that you do not share the login link with others. Registrations are non-refundable. The program will begin promptly at 4:00pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). 

For additional information in advance of the program, please email or call the Center at 248.645.3307 and leave a message. The Center’s Administrative Office is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm.


The only national program of its kind, Tour Day is devoted to the appreciation of modern architecture in the United States. Tours and events focused on architecture and design of the Modern Movement are hosted by Docomomo US chapters, partners, and leading voices in preservation. 

This year's thematic focus is the ‘70s Turn 50. For all the fragmentation and contradictions, architectural designs of the 1970s had many powerful external forces to take into consideration, including the recently passed National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Architectural designs were responding to the cultural zeitgeist of political and social upheaval, the looming energy crisis, and new advances in material and building technology. Architecture of the 1970s is also uniquely aligned with corporate development, branding, and large project or campus architecture. Tour Day 2020 will take place Saturday October 10th, as well as throughout the month. For more information on Docomomo US and Tour Day 2020 programs and events, visit the Docomomo US website.


Docomomo US/Michigan is a state chapter of Docomomo US, a national organization dedicated to the preservation of modern architecture, landscape, and design. The Michigan chapter was founded in 2014 to continue the work of the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office’s “Michigan Modern” initiative to document and bring international attention to Michigan’s Modernist design legacy and its importance to American history. Docomomo US/Michigan promotes this through documentation, education, and advocacy. To learn more about the chapter’s activities and Modern sites in Michigan, visit the Docomomo US/Michigan website


Bowlero Lanes & Lounge is a restored retro-boutique bowling alley, vintage arcade, and cocktail lounge, hosting live DJs and bands. Independent and locally-owned since 1957, the building recently underwent a massive renovation designed to allow guests to step back in time—to bowl in the rumpus room-inspired bowling alley, hobnob in the sumptuous ‘70s-styled cocktail lounge, play vintage pinball, catch a live musical act, sing karaoke, watch a sporting event, or take advantage of special needs programming. For information on Bowlero Lanes & Lounge, visit the Bowlero website.


Established in 2012, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research centralizes the Cranbrook story to increase awareness of—and access to—the diverse art, architectural, landscape, design, and historical resources that comprise the Cranbrook legacy. The Center—which includes Cranbrook Archives—serves broad regional, national, and international audiences through its research initiatives and educational programs that include on-site and online tours, lectures, and numerous behind-the-scenes opportunities.

The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research also is responsible for stewarding the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House and its collections and opening its doors to visitors from around the world. The house was donated to Cranbrook Educational Community in 2017 by The Towbes Foundation with support from Anne Smith Towbes and the late Michael Towbes.  For more information on the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and Smith House, visit the Cranbrook Center website.

Smith House sunroom interior. Photography by Brett Mountain. Courtesy of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

Bowlero Lanes & Lounge sign. Courtesy Bowlero Lanes & Lounge, Royal Oak, Michigan.

Bowlero Lanes & Lounge interior. Courtesy Bowlero Lanes & Lounge, Royal Oak, Michigan.

Melvyn and Sara Smith inside their home, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House, ca. 1969-1984. Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives, Melvyn Maxwell and Sara Evelyn Smith Papers. 

Bowlero Lanes & Lounge, lounge interior. Courtesy of Bowlero Lanes & Lounge, Royal Oak, Michigan.

Smith House living room interior. Photography by Brett Mountain. Courtesy of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

Registration for this event has closed.