Rueter also thinks the trend has changed. In the 1950s forward-thinking architects believed in building Modernist homes, while today they are more into buying an old house or condo in the city and fixing it up. Doug Kelbaugh, U-M professor of architecture and urban planning, is a perfect example of this. When he was a young architect starting out in the 1970s, he built his own Modernist solar house in New Jersey. When he came to the U-M, he designed the interior of his condo in the newly converted Armory Building downtown.
When Wells Bennett became dean of the U-M architecture school in 1937, he worked at hiring architects who were Modernists, such as Ted Larson, William Muschenheim, Joe Albano, Walter Sanders, and Joe Lee, all of whom also designed and built their own houses, as did Wells Bennett himself. Looking at a list of his colleagues, Kelbaugh could find no one who had built his or her own home, although many of them had done major remodeling or big additions on existing homes.
Asked why things changed, Kelbaugh replies that the earlier professors wanted and could afford to make a design statement. "In Metcalf's day, simple Modernism was cutting-edge. Today you have to be more avant-garde, like Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid," architects whose freeform shapes and exotic materials are far too expensive for academic architects.