Welcome to West Michigan Modern!

Read about West Michigan's mid-century modern architectural history in  feature storiesvirtual tours and architects and builders index.  The emphasis is on the Greater Grand Rapids Metropolitan area west to the Lakeshore.  Includes "On-the-Road stories"  that take WMModern across Michigan,  the nation and abroad.  Coming soon is a link to 2019 guided walking tours beginning in April. Use the contact form to share information and contact the website administrator.

Pam VanderPloeg, Researcher and Site Designer ...   Link on the blue text to read more.

 Photograph by Pam VanderPloeg copyright 2016

Photograph by Pam VanderPloeg copyright 2016

READ ABOUT TEMPLE EMANUEL designed by Erich Mendelsohn

Temple Emanuel designed by internationally known architect Erich Mendelsohn is beautifully sited on East Fulton Street at the corner of Holmdene Street and across from the Aquinas College campus.  

 

 Photograph by Pam VanderPloeg copyright 2016

Photograph by Pam VanderPloeg copyright 2016

CITY HALL AND COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING DESIGNED BY SOM

Completed in 1969, the International style 10-story City Hall, and 3-story County Administration Building, are modern steel structures clad in brown Canadian granite and bronzed glass.  They are set back from the street on Vandenberg Center’s raised concrete plaza. Symmetrical, dark and rectangular, they share the plaza with the bright red Calder stabile “La Grand Vitesse,” and overlook the mid-century banks and commercial buildings constructed during 1960’s urban renewal. The County Building roof is covered with an Alexander Calder painting.  These buildings were designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago.  Local architect firms on the project was O'Bryon & Knapp and then O'Bryon & Nachtegal after E. John Knapp left to open a Daverman Associates office in Madison, Wisconsin. 

 
 Grand Rapids Public Library Photo Collection, Grand RapidsHistory and Special Collections (GRHSC), Archives, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Grand Rapids Public Library Photo Collection, Grand RapidsHistory and Special Collections (GRHSC), Archives, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Read about the lost grand rapids press buildings

Two Grand Rapids Press buildings have been demolished.  The Grand Rapids Press Building at 155 Monroe NW was completed in 1966.  It was vacant after the Press moved and,  in 2015, the building was torn down to make way for the Grand Rapids Biomedical Research Facility for the MSU College of Human Medicine nearly completed on the same site.   Read more

 

 

GRAND RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND PARK DEPARTMENT PARK-SCHOOLS 

 PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GRAND RAPIDS CITY ARCHIVES

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GRAND RAPIDS CITY ARCHIVES

Read about the innovative Park-School Development Program, beginning in 1951.  The program achieved national acclaim from the American Institute of Landscape Archtects and Architectural Forum's National Committee of Architects working to solve the unprecedented post WWII postwar classroom shortage.  

Link here to read more and view current and vintage images of the schools and parks.  http://grandrapidsbuildings.com/grand-rapids-park-schools-19511961-1/

 

 

 

 

 

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