Photo by Pam VanderPloeg, 2015.

Photo by Pam VanderPloeg, 2015.

The Transamerica Title Company was completed in 1964-65 while architect E. John Knapp worked for Daverman Associates in Grand Rapids. The structure is steel frame with curtain walls of concrete block, porcelain panels with large tinted glass areas.  

The building's striking concrete facade resembles a clamshell.  The front of the building faces Ottawa and the Calder sculpture on Vandenberg Plaza. The back looks out at Ionia. Originally there was parking on the main level underneath the cantilevered concrete roof deck supported by concrete columns.    The two-story glass section was added later possibly when the building was remodeled between 1974-1977.    The county bought the building in 1980 for court rooms and offices. 

The Transamerica Title Company building and the other modern bank buildings and the City Hall and County Administration Buildings on Vandenberg Plaza were constructed after this stretch of Ottawa NW, between Michigan and Lyon Streets, was cleared of old buildings during the urban renewal period.

 Michigan Street Side of the building showing the parking deck.  Photo Courtesy of City of Grand Rapids Community Archives and Research Center.

Michigan Street Side of the building showing the parking deck.  Photo Courtesy of City of Grand Rapids Community Archives and Research Center.

 

 1960''s Photo Transamerica Title Company showing building before the expansion on the north side.  Photo Courtesy of City of Grand Rapids Community Archives and Research Center.

1960''s Photo Transamerica Title Company showing building before the expansion on the north side.  Photo Courtesy of City of Grand Rapids Community Archives and Research Center.