West Michigan continues to be home to an amazing group of talented modern architects and builders. Here are a few examples.
Roger Allen, born in 1892, was a prolific architect, humorist, speaker and writer. He designed the Grand Rapids Public Museum art deco building, completed in 1939, and several schools including Mulick Park and Hall Street School (gone). Allen was a founding member of the Grand Rapids Architecture Club and became the Central Michigan University Architect. Watch for a story about Roger Allen coming soon.
Firant trained with Mies van de rohe at the Armour (now Illinois Institute of Technology) and received awards for church design. He also designed several small commercial buildings similar to this law office, and several notable modern East Grand Rapids homes. For a more complete biography link here: http://wmmodern.com/august-28-tour-home-of-architect-edgar-r-firant-aia/
Bronkema enjoyed painting and studied architecture at Grand Rapids Christian High. He left Calvin College to serve as a naval aviator in World War II, and then worked for his father in real estate. After designing his own modern ranch home, he launched Bronkema Builders. Bronkema designed somewhere between 150 - 200 homes and builders. His commercial buildings on Cherry Street are some of his finest works. See feature story: http://wmmodern.com/645-cherry-bronkemabuilt/
At age 25, the youngest President of Grand Rapids Home Builders, Bronkema brought the new California ranch style to Grand Rapids and Muskegon. He designed a cul de sac of Eichler-style modern homes on Fultonwood. The homes featured brick floors, built-ins, wood paneled walls and glass curtain walls to bring the outside in. Bronkema said, “Good modern is natural and functional, featuring the use of natural stone, woods and brick, and the shape and design of the exterior are determined by the plan of the interior, “ Bronkema also designed innovative modern commercial building, most notably on Cherry Street where large estates of early Grand Rapids residents were torn down.
Bronkema left Grand Rapids for Florida in 1960 where he continue to design and build modern commercial buildings. He moved from there to California where he managed the Embarcadero. James Bronkema died in Palm Springs in 2015.
Link here to read about the Katydid House in Kalamazoo designed by Carver http://wmmodern.com/katydid-house-kalamazoosebastian/
Read more about Carver here: http://wmmodern.com/norman-f-carver-jr/
Spring Lake resident Phillip Lundwall, FAIA designed the Holcomb Hills House in the Dunes as a home for his family in 1969 http://modernwm.org/holcomb-hills-house-in-the-dunes/
McClure received a Bachelor's Degree in Architectural Engineering from Iowa State College 1949, worked as an architectural engineer for the FHA in the Hawaiian Islands and then designed custom and developer homes throughout metropolitan Grand Rapids. http://wmmodern.com/wayne-mcclure/
Also Read about the first Grand Rapids Parade of Homes which featured a Wayne McClure home: http://wmmodern.com/1959-parade-of-homes-1/
Wilfred McLaughlin designed Palomita - the Sebastian Family Cottage. Read about Palomita here: http://wmmodern.com/sebastian-family-cottage-grand-haven-township/
Read more about McLaughlin http://wmmodern.com/wilifred-mclaughlin/
Carl Zillmer was the son of Emil Zillmer. Carl was an AIA registered architect who worked for O'Bryon and Knapp during the years when they completed over 300 builder home designs and also for Colton, Steenwyk and Hornbach. One interesting thing is that he worked on the Dixie Square Mall in Illinois made famous or infamous in the Blues Brothers movie.
Link here for a story about the Surf House designed by Carl Zillmer http://wmmodern.com/surf-house-overlooking-muskegon-lake/
Born January 10, 1891 and died August 31, 1957. Graduated with a B.S. from Armour Institute of Technology (now ITT), Chicago in 1913. Known works include a number of commercial buildings in Muskegon and a number of residential designs in Grand Rapids. One especially notable residence is the Dr. Mauris home at 855 Pinecrest in East Grand Rapids.
Read about the International style home he designed in East Grand Rapids http://wmmodern.com/new-page-8/