architect

January 14, 2020

Design Insights: Hudson Valley House

High in the Catskill Mountains of Hudson Valley, NY a small 1960s ranch-style house sat on 80 acres of land. After years of frustration due to the steep hill and treacherous driveway, the family hired MMA to design their bold vision: a legacy property where multiple generations could gather, stay and enjoy family time together.
November 30, 2019

Tom Mathison Featured on the Cover of Great Lakes by Design Magazine

Thanks to Great Lakes by Design for featuring our own Tom Mathison on the cover of their "Architects" edition in 2019.
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 […]
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 […]
January 8, 2019

Design Insights: Eastown Veterinary Clinic

Eastown Veterinary Clinic is located in the vibrant business district of Eastown in Grand Rapids. Eight years ago, the owner renovated a vacant former bank building on a tight but prominent site. The community welcomed the veterinarian, and the practice quickly flourished and outgrew the existing space.  In addition to needing more exam rooms and treatment space, the veterinarians felt that separating the dog and cat entrances would provide a more stress-free visit for their small clients. Yet, like many urban lots, the building was bordered by streets on three sides and a shared parking lot in the rear. Utility easements criss-crossed the site, and the trio of streets meant three “front yards”, which have greater setback requirements than a typical side yard. Working with experienced animal care facility designer and engineer Design Learned Inc., the Mathison | Mathison team maximized square footage by proposing a two-story addition meeting all required setbacks and easements.  MMA worked closely and efficiently with the City of Grand Rapids and civil engineers from Comprehensive Engineering  to help secure an amendment to an existing Special Use Permit for the new addition. The veterinarian had previously done a nice renovation to the aging bank building, removing […]