Robert Metcalf, 1923-2017

The Ann Arbor architect Robert Metcalf passed away last month (obituary here). He built over 150 houses in Michigan and Ohio with the great majority of them being in and around Washtenaw County. U of M had a retrospective of his work a few years ago which has some great pictures and background to the houses he built. Michigan Modern and A2 Modern also have a bunch of stuff about him and his houses. The old Ann Arbor News still has a story up about their visit to his house in 2012 which has great pictures and is a cool read. His houses look absolutely great in the mid-century modern perspective.

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The Robert Metcalf House, built 1954 (courtesy of the Ann Arbor News)

I love the mid-century modern look.It makes me want to shell out $5,000 for an Eames chair and set it in the middle of my Cape Cod or maybe fill in by basement and make a conversation pit (which should be brought back!) surrounded by wall to wall windows and laugh at those squares.

Mr. Metcalf was also an Army vet who served with the 84th Infantry Division in Europe. His obituaries only stated that he won a battlefield commission and that he was awarded the Silver Star. According to wikipedia, the 84th landed in France in November 1944 and fought its way to the Elbe by VE day. The division had 7,260 casualties and 1,280 KIA during its time in Europe. It’s too bad the obits and U of M’s retrospective didn’t detail more what he did during the war. It was a given among that whole generation though that you probably did something, which also meant you didn’t talk about it much.He did so much as an Architect and left an amazing legacy in Washtenaw County, his wartime service gives an even better sense of who he was as a person.

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Mr. Metcalf in 2012. Courtesy of the Ann Arbor News

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