Modern Builder, Don Drummond's Own Home by Architect, David Runnells

(Please click to enlarge this photo for best viewing)

Name: Home of Don and Francie Drummond
Architect: David B. Runnells
Year Designed: Circa 1946
Builder: Don Drummond
Year Completed: Circa 1947 or 48
Size: Unknown
Location: Mission Hills KS
Type: Residential
Style: Modern
Status: Demolished
Photographer: Unknown

This is the only known image of the house that David Runnells designed for Modern Home Builder, Don Drummond's personal use. Don loaned me this 8x10 transparency film for me to scan. He told me that some photographers, possibly from House Beautiful, were in town to shoot another of his projects and they shot this one image on their lunch break while Francie made them a meal. Notice that almost all of the tables and chairs were by high end, classic-modern designer, T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings. The one notable exception is the coffee table by Isamu Noguchi. Don Drummond Jr. said that his mother made a special trip to New York to buy all of this furniture. Most of the furniture and the painting of seagulls were in the Drummond home when we visited him in California a few years ago. In fact, he sat in the white chair to the far left almost the entire time we were there. This image is one of my favorite finds in my quest to uncover the story about Don Drummond and David Runnells.

Crosstown Center Proposal by David B. Runnells, Architect & W.G. Roeseler, City Planner

Not much is known about this unbuilt urban renewal project, except that it was to be located roughly where the Power and Light District is now near the Sprint Center Arena and that it was designed by Environmental associates which was a partnership between David Runnells, AIA, Architect and W.G. Roeseler, AIP, City Planner. The project demonstrates early 70s style semi-brutalist architecture not unlike the built Crown Center urban renewal projects.

Who is Architect, David B. Runnells?

Portrait of David B. Runnells taken by Life Magazine in 1950

David Benton Runnells, Architect 1913-1973

Architect, David B. Runnells traveled extensively in Europe after graduating from the University of Illinois. He was heavily influenced by the work of Alvar Aalto while traveling through, Finland and Sweden on a scholarship to the University of Stockholm.

Runnells was a student of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, studying city planning at Cranbrook, a hotbed of modern design education. Other students attending at that time were Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Benjamin Baldwin, Harry Weese and Jack Lenor Larsen. Runnells worked in the Saarinen offices during part of World War II and did competitions with co-worker and Case Study House Architect, Ralph Rapson.

Runnells eventually settled in Kansas City sometime around 1941 as head of the industrial design department of the Kansas City Art Institute. He was a director of planning with the Kansas City Planning Department from 1943-46. He became an architect in 1946 and partnered in Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects. Together, they did one of his best known projects, the new Art School building for the Kansas City Art Institute. The only other project known to have come from that partnership is the James I. Clark Residence.

After the partnership dissolved, with Waugh and Matsumoto leaving to teach, Runnells went on to do merchant home builder designs and custom homes, many of which were built by modern builder, Don Drummond. The Revere Homes are his best known merchant builder design. The Reed Residence is the best surviving example of his large custom residential work. The two custom personal residences that he designed for himself and for Don Drummond have both been demolished. His 1966 design for the Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity in Lawrence, Kansas has also been demolished.

Jerad and Jessica Foster's Revere Home

Jerad and Jessica Foster's Revere Home will be one of the eight homes on tour this weekend. They recently won two KC Home Design, design excellence awards, one gold award in the outdoor category and a silver award in the historic preservation category. Congratulations to Jerad and Jessica. We look forward to your home being on the tour!

Revere Homes by David B. Runnells

Name: Revere Home
(part of the Revere Quality House Program sponsored
by the Housing Research Foundation that is part of the
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas)
Architect: David B. Runnells
Year Designed: 1949
Builder: Don Drummond
Year Completed: 1950-1951
Size: Varies
Location: Prairie Village, KS
Type: Residential
Style: Status:
Photographer: Unknown

David B. Runnells with Eero and Eliel Saarinen on the Steps of Cranbrook Academy of Art - Photo by "Charlie" Charles Eames - 1941

This photo of Architect, David B. Runnells (left foreground) with Architects, Eero and Eliel Saarinen and others was taken on the steps of the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

The Saarinens were powerhouses of design and architecture at that time, winning many architecture competitions and commissions. They also educated and entire generation of the best designers in America at the time. Other students who were there at the same time as David Runnells included: Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Benjamin Baldwin, Harry Weese, Ralph Rapson and Jack Lenor Larsen.

The back of the photo says in script, "Photo by Charlie Eames Cranbrook 1941" (Charles Eames).

The names of the people from left to right appear to be: Ed Leuders, David Runnells, Jamy Schilling, Eero Sarrinen, Carl Water, Eliel Saarinen and Art Breuer.

This photo was loaned to me for scanning by Jill (Runnells) Grose, who is David Runnells' daughter. Jill and her husband Gary will be the guests of honor at the events this weekend.

Runnells Weekend Tours and Party Details Finalized

We are posting information about the Tour and Architect, David B. Runnells almost every day, so check out some of the older posts and keep coming back here often.

KCMODERN presents:
When Mid-Century Modern was GREEN
David B. Runnells Climate-Wise Home Tour & Patio Party

Saturday, September 19, 2009, 7:00-9:00 PM
200 W. 94th Street & Wornall Road, Kansas City, Missouri
Park at the Temple at 9400 Wornall and cross street to 94th.
Meet other Modern enthusiasts and experience a unique
Mid-Century Modern “Country Home” designed by David B.
Runnells to be sustainable in 1950. Enjoy campfire food and
yard beer at this special “recession proof” KCMODERN
event. Limited advance reservations are available for $10
per person until Thursday, September 17th. A separate ticket
is required for the Sunday tour.

Cranbrook To Kansas City
David B. Runnells Mid-Century Modern Homes Tour
Sunday, September 20, 2009, 2:00-5:00 PM
This tour will require driving to multiple homes so start early.
Start at 7300 Roe Circle, Prairie Village, Kansas.
Park at Baptist Church, 75th & Roe, walk north to Roe Circle.
Or start at 2400 W. 86th Terr. & Lee Blvd. Leawood, Kansas.
There will be limited parking on 86th Terr. Cul-de-sac.
See at least 8 cool examples of Mid-Century Modern
homes designed by Architect, David Benton Runnells.
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 the day of the tour.
Limited tickets will be sold at the event registration tables
on a first come first served basis, so buy your tickets now!

Order Your Tickets Today
Make your checks payable to KCMODERN and send payment to KCMODERN, 5301 W. 66th Terrace, Prairie Village, KS 66208. All advanced tickets to be picked up the day of the events at the registration table. We will tour the homes regardless of weather. More info at 913.262.5056 or

KCMODERN raises awareness and promotes preservation of Modern Architecture and Design. Proceeds from this event willfund future KCMODERN events and modern activities.

Rapid Rocker by Ralph Rapson

The image above is a 1950's photo of the Ralph Rapson designed Rocking Chair that David B. Runnells owned in his home in Fairview, Kansas. If I had to guess, I would say that it is draped over with a Swedish or Scandinavian wool weaving. The rocker is still in the family and is owned by David's daughter Jill.

The rocker is even more significant because Runnells and Rapson worked on several design competitions together while they were both working in the Saarinen offices in Michigan. In fact, the earliest version of the rocker was done for The Museum of Modern Art, "Organic Design in Home Furnishings Competition," 1940-41, while Rapson and Runnells were working together on other competition projects. More on that later. One would asssume that this furniture purchase was a little homage to his friend Ralph.

Ralph Rapson. Rocking Chair for the "Organic Design in Home Furnishings Competition," The Museum of Modern Art. 1940-41. Black painted frame, reupholstered with linen webbing 32 x 28 3/4 x 39"; seat h. 14 3/4". Collection Ralph Rapson.

Manufacturer: Knoll
Name: (Rapson) Rocking Chair
Designer: Ralph Rapson
Model Number: 57 U
Production: 1945-46
Dimensions: Unknown.
Materials: Birch frame with fully upholstered seat and back
Photo by:
Ralph Rapson

The image above is photo of the rocker design as it looked when it was in production with Knoll as a part of the Knoll "Rapson Line." The rocker was one of eight products introduced by Rapson. I scanned this image from a 1945 Knoll catalog. This is the "solid wood" version that Runnells owned and the version that Knoll sold at Bloomindales. Bloomingdale's took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to promote the chair, proclaiming it an "innovative and attractive modern take on a traditional piece."

More recently, a bentwood version of the design has been released to the public and is still in production. The chair is based on sketches from 1942 that are obviously done after the MoMA design, but predate the 1945 Knoll "solid wood" production. A bentwood prototype version of the Rapsin Rapid Rocker was shown in a 1951 photograph in the book, Rapson: 50 years of Modern Design. This newer bentwood design is now available from the Wieler Store and Highbrow Furniture.
To ensure that the chair meets the architect's original standards of quality, production is being overseen by Rapson Architects of Minneapolis, MN. The maple frame is finished with two coats of clear lacquer. The seat is upholstered with a high-quality polyolefin fabric. The fabric resembles wool and is is exceptionally tough and stain-resistant. The chair's dimensions are 26.25" wide, 35" high, and 33.25" deep, with a weight of about 30 pounds.

Who is George Matsumoto and what does he have to do with Kansas City?

Name: Matsumoto Residence
Architect: George Matsumoto
Year Designed: circa 1951
Builder: Frank Walser
Year Completed: 1952
Size: Unknown sq. ft. (3 bedroom, 1 bath)
Location: 821 Runnymede Road, Raleigh, North Carolina
Type: Residential
Style: Modern / International Style
Status: Good
Photographer: Joseph W. Molitor

George Matsumoto was a partner with David B. Runnells in Kansas City for one year at the firm Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects. We know that the firm did at least one house and the first new building then called just, "The Art School," for the Kansas City Art Institute, There may have been a Doctors Office done as well. It is unknown if the Doctors Office is still standing and if it was done by all four partners or with Matsumoto alone. Waugh and Matsumoto left the partnership to teach at University of Oklahoma with Henry Kamphoefner. They immediately left Oklahoma to start the new school of design at North Carolina State University in 1948.

The photo above is the house that Matsumoto designed for himself in Raleigh, North Carolina. He won many awards for this design and went on to complete many residential commissions.

The folks over at Triangle Modernist Houses have also done a great job of documenting the career of George Matsumoto in North Carolina. The Matsumoto Tribute from and exhibit they did over at the North Carolina State Library has some good info too. Here is the George Matsumoto Group Pool on Flickr.

Below is and excerpt from from the National Park Service Website about the Matsumoto House
The Matsumoto House is one of several Modernist houses built in Raleigh from the 1940s to the 1960s. These houses were the manifestation of architectural concepts embraced by the faculty of the School of Design, established in 1948 at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). Dean Henry Kamphoefner recruited several Modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other Modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. He also brought internationally known architects to the school to lecture and to lead studio workshops. The faculty designed several residences for themselves, other faculty members, or for a small group of clients interested in new ideas in architecture. Built for the most part on relatively ample, wooded suburban lots,located on what then were the outskirts of the city, a key element in most of the designs is a careful integration of the house with its site.

In 1952, faculty member George Matsumoto began construction of his own house on a steeply sloping tract adjacent to a small stream. Its design shows the same attention to economical, post-and-beam modular construction and careful detailing as is seen in his earlier Richter House design. However, the young Japanese American architect was also strongly influenced by the work of Mies Van der Rohe, and the Matsumoto House demonstrates a Miesian concern with exposed structure and a sense of suspension generated by the use of lightweight wall, floor and ceiling planes to articulate its internal space. The sloping site allowed Matsumoto to put a lower level built of concrete block under the house, a space which contained his studio and which forms a base for the frame box cantilevered above it. The rectangular, flat-roofed mass of the main living areas is reached by a small bridge rising from a Japanese-influenced outdoor court. While the street side of the house presents a mostly-blank facade divided into panels, all of the rooms along the back of the house open with glass doors and windows onto a cantilevered, screened rear porch, extending the living space visually into the wooded hillside beyond. The Matsumoto House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.

The Matsumoto House is located at 821 Runnymede Rd. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.

James Ingraham Clark Residence by Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects - Architects House Themselves

The James Ingraham Clark Residence won a mention in the P/A (Progressive Architecture) Awards in 1947. Below is an excerpt, including captions, from a Progressive Architecture article in April, 1949, pp 66-69. This is one of a few buildings known to exist from the Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects partnership. The others are the Kansas City Art Institute Art School Building and a possible Doctors Office that may not exist anymore. The first two photos are by Gene Hook all others by Fred Gund.

This is the home of one of the architects – James Ingraham Clark. -- looking south down the slope

House: Leawood, Kansas
Runnells Clark Waugh & Matsumoto Architects

PROGRAM: Suburban residence for a growing family. Space provided under present bedroom wing for duplication of facilities on upper level.

SITE: Land at end of cul-de-sac street; one acre sloping toward the south; stone ledge under most of actual house site.

SOLUTION: Plan organized to turn its back to the street side and open out to the east and south. Design developed to have advantages of prefabrication although built on the side. Ledge proved both solid and flat; hence, prefabricated heating panels and foundations were laid directly on the stone; footings needed under bedroom portion only where rock ledge ran out. Plan worked out on a 4’-1/4” module – the 4’ to take standard sheets of plywood; the ¼” to allow a space between sheets, eliminating any fitting or butting at the joints. Dry construction throughout.


CONSTRUCTION: Framing: wood. Walls: no footings; stone foundations on solid rock; native stone. Interior finishes: Douglas fir plywood; exterior: 5-ply waterproof plywood. Floors: wood sash: double-insulating glazing; glass block (bathroom only). Insulation: acoustical; cement-impregnated wood-fiberboard exposed on ceilings; thermal’ double-thick expansible blanket; flameproof cotton: glass-wool batts: blown-in wool type. Partitions: frame. Surfaced both sides with plywood. Doors: birch-surfaced hollow core; solid flush exterior doors.

EQUIPMENT: Heating: hot-water radiant panel, zoned for three areas; gas-fired boiler; automatic controls; attic fan. Kitchen: electric stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal unit, deep freeze, and exhaust fan. Special equipment: water softener.

front door - (looking south)

view from street (utility rooms, left, bedroom wing, right)

bedroom wing, additional bedrooms to be added later at lower level

view from east (living rooms left, outdoor living, right center, service right

living room and porch (right); glazed stairwell (left)

(first floor plan)

south window of living room and stair hall to bedroom wing

fireplace corner of living room with east porch beyond

master bedroom with cantilevered deck outside southeast window wall

wall between dining area and kitchen

same wall, opened up

James Ingraham Clark Residence by Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects

Name: James Ingraham Clark Residence
Architect: Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects
James Ingraham Clark, Project Designer
Year Designed: circa 1947-48
Builder: Don Drummond
Year Completed: circa 1948
Size: Unknown
Location: Leawood, Kansas
(Greater Kansas City Area)
Type: Residential
Style: Modern
Status: Good
Photographer: Gene Hook
Photos scanned from and article excerpted from: The American House Today : 85 Notable Examples Selected and Evaluated by Katherine Morrow Ford and Thomas H. Creighton, Reinhold, 1951, pp 134-135


Built for one of the partners in an architectural firm, this house of the James Ingraham Clarks is planned carefully for expansion as the family grows. It turns away from the street – originally a quite thoroughfare which has since became much more busy, partly because people come to see the house – and faces towards the south and southeast on a sloping site which ends in a wooded creek bed. When the house was built there was one child; now there are two, and family plans are for two more. Hence it was desired that the house could grow both in bedroom accommodations and in living space. Facing the street is a “core” which will not change: utility rooms, kitchens, laundry and garage. Past these rooms as one enters the house is a living room which is at present reasonably large, but certainly not oversized. In the future, as the plan indicates, this room will be extended, and even may have a porch on the end as a final expansion. The solution to the addition of bedrooms is made possible by a steep drop of fifteen feet in the site at the point where the bedroom wing breaks from the main house. Under the present two bedrooms there is now an open terraced space which, can, when the family has grown, be converted into a lower bedroom floor with three rooms. Mr. Clark is thoroughly objective about the value or lack of value of a number of ideas that went in the house. Orientation for sun control, studied mathematically, has worked out excellently. Plans to use a certain amount of site prefabrication – panels constructed on the property and raised into place – did not work so well, because of unfamiliarity of the available labor with this system. There is “nearly too much: storage space in cupboards, drawers and shelves. These are minor troubles, however. In general the dry-wall construction, the acoustic ceilings, the efficient kitchen layout, and the orientation have worked very well.


David B. Runnells Residence - Architects House Themselves Update - The Self-Cooling House

After I posted about the David B. Runnells Residence, designed for himself and his family, I got a phone call from Jill (Runnells) Grose. I met her again last week, our third or fourth meeting. Thanks to her, we have some great additional information about the now demolished house her father designed for his family. The article and photos were published in the New York Times Magazine on July 26, 1953. I have reposted a couple of the images because they were larger and better quality images and I wanted to include the captions from the recently found article. The magazine touts the advantages of natural ventilation over 1950's advances in home air conditioning. Here is a the article:

Self-Cooling House
by Cynthia Kellogg

Kansas City, MO- Despite the rapid increase in the number of completely
air-conditioned homes (an estimated 50,000 this year), natural methods of
cooling a house should not be overlooked. A new example of such a
“self-ventilating” home is pictured on these pages. Oriented on its plot
to take advantage of the prevailing winds, it was designed by Architect David
Benton Runnells for his family and is located in near-by Mission, Kan., where
summers are hot. Mr. Runnells used many architectural details, such as
piercing walls with many doors and apertures to aid the air flow, as well as a
simple decorating scheme to achieve a cool atmosphere. To reduce the
temperature of the living room, the roof, which can be used as a sun deck, has
been insulated with aluminum foil and, on hot days, can be flooded with water.
--Scanned from New York Times Magazine, July 26, 1953--

Here are the photos with their captions included under each photo:

OVERHANGING ROOF shields house interior at right, designed by David Benton Runnells, from the sun's heat. Screened gallery on upper level permits free flow of air through bedroom windows and doors which open into it.

BREEZEWAY, shown below, circulates air beneath bedrooms to help cool them. Heating and laundry units are in room on right, seperated from the body of house. Front door, upper left, is at the end of gangway-like walk.

TEXTURES are contrasted, rather than colors, to give cool look to living room at left. Brick "traffic lane" cuts across cork floor under rug. Cool fluorescent light is concealed in a wood strip above picture window. (Editors note: Someone used a little mid-century photoshop on this photo to edit the outside view thru the sliding glass door. Compare this to the previously posted image!)

OPEN FLOOR PLAN aids in ventilation, as below. A low storage wall, over which air can pass, separates the kitchen from the dining/living area. Open stairway encourages airflow in to television room at left.

BUILT-IN STORAGE units used throughout the house reduce amount of furniture to a minimum. The television set and radio are contained within this wall.

DOOR, a narrow version of the French window, is used more to admit air than as an exit. Birch cabinets and matching wood funiture contrast with redwood walls.

OVEN, right foreground, is a separate unit built into storage wall away from work area. Burners, more often used, are fitted into counter top at end of kitchen.

APERTURE in walls in corner of bedroom permits flow of air from the rest of the house. Light within the opening also illuminates the stairwell on other side.

Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity House at KU by Architect, David B. Runnells

Name: Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity House
Architect: Runnells & Winholtz
Principal Architect: David B. Runnells,
Year Designed: 1964
Builder: Dasta Construction
Year Completed: October 1966
Size: 16,809 sq.ft. - sleeping quarters for 81 men,
kitchen, dining, a housemother's quarters, study
rooms, lounge and living area
Cost: $310,000
Location: 2021 Stewart Avenue
(22nd & Stewart), Lawrence, KS
Type: Fraternity / Residential
Style: Modern
Status: Demolished
Photographer: Unknown

The Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity House at the University of Kansas, by Architect, David B. Runnells was described by the Lawrence Daily Journal-World as "a cross between a gentlemen's club and an European villa" and features a massive stone fireplace in the lounge area. In addition the house featured the signature Runnells exposed post and beam and wood deck construction.

Somehow I come away with the feeling that the house was intended to be a plush, playboy lady trap.

David B. Runnells Residence - Architects House Themselves

Name: Runnells Residence
Architect: David Benton Runnells
Year: Designed circa 1950
Year Completed: circa 1950
Size: unknown sq. ft. 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath
Location: Windsor Street, Fairway, Kansas
(Greater Kansas City Area)
Type: Residence
Style: Modern / International Style
Status: Demolished
Photographer Wayne Wright, taken circa 1951
Scanned from Architectural Record, February 1955

This Residence was built by David B. Runnells for himself, his wife and two children. It was located on a golf course lot in Fairway, Kansas and was near a few other houses of his design. The plan would suggest certain Scandinavian influences, while the exterior appears that Mr. Runnells may have been influenced by the work of R.M. Schindler. We can also see some relationship to the work of George Matsumoto who had partnered with Runnells just after World War II.
Runnells traveled extensively in Europe on a Scholarship after college and we see in the photos that he furnished the home with many pieces of Alvar Aalto furniture, which he first saw while in Finland in 1936. The Ralph Rapson Rocker pictured is significant because Runnells attended Cranbrook and worked in the Saarinen office with Rapson.

Sadly, the home was torn down in the 1980's and replaced with a French Country McMansion.

Be sure to tour some of the remaining homes by David B, Runnells at KCMODERN's,
David Benton Runnells House Tour and Party.

We will feature at least six Modern Houses by the architect. The dates of the events are
September 19, 2009 for the Runnells House Party and
September 20, 2009 for the Runnells House Tour.

David B. Runnells House Tour and Party - Save the Date for Our Mid-Century Modern House Tour

KCMODERN's David Benton Runnells House Tour and Party will feature at least six Modern Houses by the architect. The dates of the events are
September 19, 2009 for the Runnells House Party and
September 20, 2009 for the Runnells House Tour.

Kansas City Art Institute - Art School by Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects - Part 2

Name: Kansas City Art Institute - Art School
Architect: Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects
Year Designed: circa 1945-46
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: circa 1947-48
Size: Unknown
Location: Kansas City, MO
Type: Education
Style: Modern
Status: Fair with multiple additions that obscure major parts and concepts of the original building
Photographed By: Fred Gund
Photos Scanned From: Progressive Architecture February 1949. Art School, Kansas City, Missouri. pp 62-65.

The design concept for the Kansas City Art Institute's new Art School was all about securing natural north light for all of the studio classroom spaces. The studio classrooms were placed on the west side of a single loaded, "display corridor" that acted as a north-south spine. Display alcoves were naturally and artificially lit and placed opposite the studios on the east side of the spine. These alcoves were expressed as projecting boxes on the exterior of the east side of the building. The display alcoves are no longer visible on the exterior or naturally lit because of a recent addition.

The studio classrooms were the programmatic heart of the building. Each studio classroom had an exterior courtyard space between it and the next studio. These could be used as outdoor work spaces in fair weather. This exterior space between studios allowed natural diffused light to enter each of the studios through a large north facing window wall from the courtyard. Natural ventilation entered through louvers and exited through clerestories. Southern clerestories let light in from the south, while the west facades of the studios were blank brick walls to protect the rooms from the low western sun. Today these courtyards have been filled in to create more interior space.

The studio roofs were raised higher than the surrounding corridor and service spaces to accommodate clerestory windows and give that portion of the program a sense of hierarchy. The building was framed in concrete with some steel bar joist roof construction. The frame was then filled with concrete block walls and the exterior of the building was rendered in a vocabulary of red brick, concrete block, limestone and corrugated asbestos cement panels. The interiors were mostly concrete and lightweight concrete block left in a raw unfinished state.
The north end of the spine was punctuated by a two level classroom wing, with a full level below the main floor. The classroom wing housed industrial design studios upstairs and painting, typesetting and service areas downstairs. These rooms all had large north facing windows.
The south end of the spine was marked by the main studio, a life drawing studio done in a sculptural form of contrasting limestone. The stepped trapezoidal plan and section segments allowed for multiple north facing clerestories to light the large complex space, which was designed for 150 people. Today the clerestory windows are covered with sheet metal siding.

The main stepped form of the life drawing studio was likely inspired by some of Alvar Aalto's work in Finland. We know from Runnells sketch books that he traveled to Finland and certainly would have been familiar with the work. Runnels and Matsumoto's body of work certainly was closely related to Aalto's use of light and "Aaltos Red Brick Period."
The transplanted Finns, Eero and Eliel Saarinen were also very influential on this design. This was because the partners of this firm met at Cranbrook and came out of the Saarinen studio and architectural offices. The plan definitely used the Saarinen designed Crow Island School, with is courtyards between studio classrooms, as a precedent. And there was some relationship to the unbuilt, competition winning, Smithsonian Art Museum design. Even the signature Runnells-red brick chosen for the classroom portion of the building was a nod to the Cranbrook campus.

Besides relating to Cranbrook the red brick with limestone trim was also a tribute to Vanderslice Hall. The limestone cladding of the life drawing studio related to the cladding of the nearby Nelson Atkins.

A 1949 Progressive Architecture article gave this project a P/A Award Special Citation.

This article was written to familiarize our readers with the work of Architect who will be the featured in KCMODERN's David Benton Runnells House Tour, which will be held on September 20, 2009. Watch for more details soon!