Dow Chemical Biochemical Research Laboratories and Greenhouse
4607 Eastman, Midland, MI
Designed by Alden B. Dow FAIA in 1940.
The C. B. Branch residence began life as the Dow Biological Laboratory and Greenhouse. In early 1961, Alden B. Dow began drawing up plans to transform the buildings into a home for Charles B. Branch. Mr. Branch was instrumental in developing the international markets of the Dow Chemical Company, rising to serve as president and chief executive officer from 1971 to 1976.
To the original 2,569 square feet of the Lab and Greenhouse was added 2,713 square feet of new construction. In a letter to the general contractor, Collinson Construction Company, Mr. Dow emphasized that the maximum construction cost was not to exceed $121,271 with a scheduled completion date of November 1, 1961.
The Branch residence is built into a gently sloping, heavily wooded lot. A pitched shingle roof overhangs slightly the brick exterior of the nearly 5,300 square foot home. Large windows offer views of the nearby pond and natural surroundings. A stucco spandrel separates the windows on the upper and lower levels facing the pond. An undated photograph of the residence shows one of the original greenhouses visible in the background.
The basic floor plan is a modified L-shape. The main entrance opens to a long hallway with a brick floor and a large living room to the right. A band of four windows fills the opposite wall with a built-in window bench running its length. At the end of the hallway and off to the right is a study with a fireplace and built-in sofa. A door in the living room opens to the master bedroom with adjoining dressing room and bathroom.
Turning to the left at the main entrance leads to the other wing of the house. Straight ahead is the dining room with its ceiling of 15 box lights arranged in a 16 foot by 9 foot grid pattern. Lined up beyond the dining room are the kitchen and family room. At the juncture of the two wings is a group of four bedrooms and a bathroom. Two additional bedrooms are located in the sloped lower level of the house.