Education

May 24, 2016

How Sustainable Should Your Space Be?

MMA Talks with Scott Branc of New Urban Home Builders

We invited our partner Scott Branc, Principal of New Urban Home Builders for an MMA Talk. We’re currently working together on a large scale, modern renovation project in Kalamazoo. See more about that project.

Scott is an engineer by education and he described the fundamentals of his work as: building science, high performance construction and a passion for architecture.

Our conversation focused on finding the right level of sustainability for each project and each client, based on a common approach that seeks the right balance of materials and performance characteristics for each individual client and project. The challenge lies in identifying the best balance for each individual and project. …

May 11, 2016

First Cohort in the Master of Architecture Graduates

Tom Mathison and Megan Feenstra Wall serve on the Board of Formation for the new Master of Architecture degree at Kendall College of Art & Design.

Megan had the pleasure of being a guest critic at the thesis final reviews for the first cohort of students to graduate from Kendall College of Art and Design's new Master of Architecture program. Five women and men presented their work to a guest panel, their thesis advisers, and fellow classmates. Megan was impressed by the level of exploration into how architecture can impact community as the projects addressed a number of pressing social concerns.

The work is currently on display through May 21st, 2016 in the Fed Gallery (a former project of Tom's) as part of the 2016 KCAD Annual Student Exhibition. Says Megan, "Three or four years ago we were only talking and dreaming about what a MArch program in West Michigan could look like, and…

April 18, 2016

Design in West Michigan Translates to Architecture

An excerpt from a monthly MMA Talk…

Design happens in West Michigan. There is a rich history of industrial design and that is translating now to design in IT and tech spaces. The West Side is becoming a tech corridor where creative startups are consolidating. Our building alone is full of creative companies. We’re meeting people and talking about how we can partner and create connections with those in the design community outside of architecture.

The maker culture exemplified by GR Makers and The Geek Group brings an innovative thought process, shared work space and equipment and creates different types of design. Major events inspired by creatives like Design Week and ArtPrize bring design to the community.

Industrial design is inspirational to us. We interact with sleek, designed equipment every day with our smart phones but that hasn’t translated to our spaces yet, our homes. We are starting to see trends toward higher performing houses, houses that better our environments. Industrial design is pushing…

March 14, 2016

Federal Building to Ferris Building: Renewal and Reconnection

Thanks to the Grand Rapids Historical Society for inviting our own Tom Mathison, along with Gene Hopkins from HopkinsBurns to discuss the story of transforming the historic Federal Building to the Woodbridge Ferris Building in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Western Michigan Federal District Court was created by act of Congress in late 1863. But it was not until 1872 that efforts to build a federal courthouse started. Site selection was in 1873, and Congress appropriated $70,000 for the site. The site required a lot of filling because it was partially in a low, swampy area. Excavation for the foundation was finally completed in 1876, and the building was completed in 1879 for $212,000. The first court session was held on October 7 of that year. This courthouse served well for about twenty years, when the growth of the district and the growth of the agency staffs in the building demanded more space. Finally, in 1909, the red brick building was demolished. …/p>