City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Public Museum Expansion and Renovation

Grand Rapids

To accommodate the growing number of guests and to improve customer experience and flow, TowerPinkster was selected by the City of Grand Rapids to lead the expansion and renovation of the museum. The updated facility will increase the Museum’s offerings and improve accessibility and inclusivity for all.

To kick off the project and begin the conceptual phase, TowerPinkster developed a comfortable platform for discussion and discovery using interactive visioning sessions. These sessions drew input from community partners, museum staff, and other stakeholders by dividing the users into four groups representing the Museums’ four main attributes: accessibility, education, connectivity, and the city of Grand Rapids. After the session concluded, the pictures and comments were then gathered and assembled by the TowerPinkster team and displayed to create a visual of the needs, challenges, and opportunities for the Museum’s expansion. This visual, developed by museum stakeholders and Grand Rapids community members, became the scope for the Museum’s expansion.

As the design of the expansion has progressed, the scope of the project has grown to include several exciting and innovative features.

A transformation upon arrival.

To stimulate the museum’s presence, each entrance will become a connective experience for visitors, creating access on all four sides of the building. The existing carousel will be separated from the museum, making the East entrance accessible from the riverfront and to the public. The ceiling connecting the East entrance of the museum to the carousel will use a metallic, reflective element that will mirror its surroundings. In addition, lighting features will be used to illuminate the pathways at night in a way that will not affect the migratory pattern of birds. The West entry, which currently feels like the back of the building, will display a media-mesh wall that will portray people and places from all over the world as a welcoming gesture to global culture. It will also become the school drop-off, alleviating existing congestion, and overlap between school groups and the general public.

Design for water.

During a workshop with the project team, water responsibility emerged as a core value for the project alongside energy efficiency and education. From these values grew specific goals to design with water in mind; to recognize the importance of water in all places, to use sustainable resources, and implement lasting design solutions that tell a story and spark curiosity. The project achieves these goals using low-flow plumbing fixtures and native landscaping. In order to alleviate domestic water loads from the city, rainwater will be captured on the roof of the north end of the building to provide irrigation. In addition, a 2,700 SF green roof and permeable ground cover will reduce water runoff.

Growth for future learning and experience.

The Museum expansion includes a new South Tower which will increase space by 25,000 SF and provide more opportunities for future exhibitions, events, and education.

GRPM Half Width Image Size 2
GRPM Half Width Image Size 1
GRPM Half 2
GRPM Half 1
GRPM Half Width Image Size 4
GRPM Half Width Image Size 5
GRPM Full 2