Ferris State University Kendall College of Art and Design

Federal Building Renovation

Grand Rapids, Michigan // 92,000 sq. ft.

Client Challenge and TowerPinkster Solution

This building started life in 1909 as Grand Rapids’ Federal Post Office and Courts which occupied the building until 1981. The City of Grand Rapids then renovated the first three floors for the Grand Rapids Art Museum which left in 2007. Since that time, the building sat vacant and deteriorating.

TowerPinkster, HopkinsBurns Design Studio, and The Christman Company worked closely to rehabilitate and repurpose the building as a twenty-first century academic learning environment for art and design programs, studios, lecture halls, exhibit galleries, classrooms, and offices while providing stewardship of an important building by preserving its historic, character-defining features.

Selected interior walls were removed to create larger classroom and studio spaces. New mechanical and electrical systems were integrated with the existing structure to create energy-efficient operations for ceramics studios, metal welding, lecture spaces, galleries, and offices. Once-covered skylights on the top floor were uncovered and restored to allow for natural light. Specialized gallery and art storage spaces incorporate special mechanical and electrical systems for temperature and humidity control, as well as lighting.

The design was developed in close collaboration with the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, National Parks Service, and U. S. General Services Administration to achieve compliance with historic preservation standards.

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