GRAND RAPIDS | New Buildings + Current Projects

Posted in ARCHITECTURE, GRAND RAPIDS, URBANISM by urbanmi on July 31, 2010

Recently arrived back in Grand Rapids.  With the little time I have back home, I have tried to travel to as many of the new constructions as I can to have some thoughts.

Betty Van Andel Opera Center:  This is an architectural monstrosity.  No design thought and intent are apparent.  There is no considered entrance.  If the investment in a building was going to occur for this type of purpose, making the effort to make the building notable seems essential otherwise the pre-existing center for the Grand Rapids Opera was adequate, because this building does little to nothing to promote Opera in Grand Rapids and only adds to the increasing portfolio of horrible design and architecture in many newer buildings, such as the Gerald R Ford International Airport and the Convention Center.

Urban Institute of Contemporary Art

UICA:  very excited and interested in this building at this stage the infrastructure for the final building is in place.  The mesh lining the exterior of the building will provide support for the plantings and ivy that have been placed behind the screens, which in the coming months and years will allow for the plantings to cover portions of the exterior of the building.  The building is designed by Chicago’s BuiltForm Architecture.

Medical bridge:  I don’t know what is going on here.  An awkward connection between to buildings whose designs have no relations to their connection.  The bridge itself only highlights this difference with its relatively extreme design.  Otherwise it’s a worthwhile addition; it’s superior to stylistically safer alternatives and adds to Grand Rapids attempts of incorporating more design into the city.

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