Architecture

August 5, 2019

Design Insights: Van Dyken Mechanical

As a long-standing fixture in the community and profession, Van Dyken Mechanical underwent a renovation to unify their three companies [Van Dyken Mechanical, Grand Valley Automation, Mechanical Testing Services] and update their Grandville office to reflect the same polished service they provide their clients each day. The daily operations were analyzed to develop a more intuitive space plan that would allow each company to work within their department in a more efficient way. An emphasis was put on collaboration and communication, which is seen in open workstations, community tables, lounge spaces, and technology driven meeting rooms. Having built their reputation on relationships, VDM wanted to enhance the client experience starting from the initial drive-in. A strong entry was the focal point of the renovated exterior, allowing clients to easily define their path to the reception and provide more of a presence from the main street. The exterior materials are a combination of more industrial finishes with lighter metals, dark gray, and grounding brick, while the warmer white oak and glass provide brightness to a previously dark interior. Black accents help ground the palette, modernize the exterior, and emphasis the strong horizontal lines of the building. The exterior materials carry through […]
June 19, 2019

Riverglass House Featured on the Cover of Michigan BLUE

Thanks to Michigan BLUE for featuring our Riverglass House on the June 2019 Cover!
May 9, 2019

Design Insights: Romence House

The owner was able to secure a serene vacant lot in an established neighborhood in the City of Grand Rapids, which backs on to a beautiful wooded parcel to the north. The goal of the project was first and foremost to design a home that met contextual needs from the street-side, but took full advantage of the unique natural setting in the rear.  MMA saw the opportunity for horizontal extension of the residence to quiet the home and ground it into its surroundings, and in so doing maximize rear courtyard space for a homeowner who has long term permaculture aspirations.  A detached garage was used to take full advantage of side-setback requirements. Additionally, the garage completes the open courtyard and creates an open moment of outdoor reception to the secluded outdoor space.  The L-shaped plan form created a simple diagram for living–a public arm of space that includes the mudroom, kitchen, dining, and living room, then a private arm of space with office, bedrooms and bathrooms. To accentuate the difference in use and experience, a 12 ft high wood ceiling space covers the public area, allowing ample clerestory light, while a lower ceiling provides intimacy, punctuated by skylights, in the […]
April 12, 2019

Design Insights: Westshore Community College Safety Training Center

In response to the growing need for public safety training, WSCC developed a vision for a multi-dimensional regional training center for public safety programs, including law enforcement and related fields, generating interest throughout central west Michigan.  The College identified an available existing 15-year old building on seven acres in Freesoil, Michigan that could be adapted and reused as an education and training facility to serve both the College and other communities on a regional basis. The adapted building includes classrooms, offices, reception area, conference space, computer labs, simulation labs, forensics lab, 911 training space, open training area, locker rooms and shower facilities, student commons, indoor firing range, and related spaces within the two-story, 21,000 SF facility. As an education facility, the development of new student-occupied space on two levels for WSCC use included:   Architectural upgrades throughout the existing building Fire Protection for the south portion of the main level Elevator to connect both levels Simulation labs New corridor passageways Observation spaces for groups The inclusion of an indoor firing range required particular design focus on two things:  quick evacuation of smoke and acoustic separation to diminish interruption of normal operations in surrounding spaces.  Within the limited floor-to-floor dimension, an […]
March 19, 2019

Airport Pavilion Featured in The Golf Explorer Magazine!

Thanks to “The Golf Explorer” Magazine for featuring the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) and its Viewing Park, which was designed by MMA, in their 2019 edition!  ## The GFIA Viewing Park, owned by the airport and located at 4820 KraftAvenue SE in Grand Rapids, has served as a popular place for local residents, families, visitors, and aviation enthusiasts alike since it first opened in 1995. Initially a park featuring a long, serpentine-shaped parking lot and cul-de-sac with picnic tables where visitors could capture the drama of flight as planes roared down the East-West runway, the site has been transformed and elevated with a simple, yet carefully detailed structure designed by Mathison | Mathison Architects, or MMA, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “This goes back to the primary kind of architecture: it is shelter. It has columns, the building is telling you what it is doing, it is directing rain, and it has this kind of purity as a structure,” said Ben Franceschi, architect at MMA. MMA, a full-service architectural firm grounded in modernism, is a practice striving to deliver projects that embrace its site, enrich its surrounding environment, and provide meaningful authentic experiences. Thomas R. Mathison, FAIA, principal and […]
January 31, 2019

Design Insights: Riverglass House

The family intelligently acquired a piece of property whose natural attributes eclipsed its suburban surroundings. The lot lines create a compressed, modest street presence and then expand in a gesture to the unique pointed setting on the Thornapple River, with a 200 degree water view. The concept of a long, welcoming landscape to a house that re-dramatizes the opening to a river view was foundational for the design process. Thinking about the house as a threshold to the river experience was an organizational tool for the project. A three story central core is a quotation of the outdoors—a large interior void around which all the individual uses of the house are organized. The core welcomes, but also negotiates egress between offset levels on either side. A large semi-public living room with high ceilings and prominent river views couple with the Master suite above to comprise the southern half of the house. Family function is supported to north: an expansive casual living, dining, and kitchen area on the main level, and children’s bedrooms and play area on the second level. At the highest point of the house, the third level provides multi-directional views and is reserved for focused work, reflection, wellness, […]