As a century-old building designed for the furniture industry, the Widdicomb building is full of local history, from the large, now-defunct boiler in the heart of the building to the circuitous circulation and brick bearing walls, evidence of a building altered over the years. The owner of this large multi-tenant office building on Grand Rapids’ Westside recognized that the grand lobby and common spaces were underutilized and dated. Mathison | Mathison Architects (MMA) was asked to reimagine the 6,000 sf lobby and all first-floor common spaces.
MMA monitored circulation and use patterns and recommended removing a set of underutilized and redundant exterior doors, giving a large portion of the lobby to gathering and collaboration space for tenants instead. Careful placement of hard and soft surfaces was used to emphasize travel patterns. Finishes and lighting were updated, coordinating with existing brick and the featured boiler, while also unifying various brick colors and patterns added over the decades. Existing finishes were accommodated wherever possible to extend their life.
The break room was reconfigured in a similar way. A second entry brought visitors and tenants directly into a dated kitchen space right off the street. Moving the kitchenette into a nook hidden from the entry allowed the space to feel more open and inviting and provided extended gathering and remote work space for tenants.
Architect of Record: Mathison | Mathison Architects
Builder: Rockford Construction