• Featured,  Form

    Shingle-style adaptive

    When creating a new residence, adaptability is a valuable term during each stage of the process, especially for the architect, whose task is to deliver a home balancing practical and aesthetic goals. Sometimes a difficult task, achieving this ideal balance can also be highly memorable and, in the case of the team of designers at Sears Architects, something that is reflected on during other projects for years to come. Sears Architects, an architectural and planning firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the design team behind a 2013 residential project on the city’s eastern side that highlighted the firm’s affinity for producing adaptable designs—an element that continues to distinguish it in…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Park project

    Text: Kyle Gandy The Grand Rapids Department of Parks and Recreation, located at 201 Market Ave. SW, is a perennial division of city government responsible for the myriad of parks meticulously woven into the urban metropolis of the city. Their latest project is a $250,000 reconstruction and modernization of Coit Park, which is tucked away in the northeastern region of the city neighboring the Medical Mile and the Belknap lookout.  This particular project is a part of a comprehensive revitalization strategy, which began in 2013 following a park agreement that was passed to bring $28 million to all 74 parks in the city. Coit Park’s upgrades comprise an improved playground,…

  • Design Spotlight,  Print Edition

    Functional art

    While a return to modern and a look to contemporary design has taken hold of the industry in more recent years, there is a luxury home furnishings company in Grand Rapids, Michigan—Joseph Jeup Inc.—that has emerged as a high-end, couture furniture designer with a collection that defines lifestyles and redefines luxury.  “I would love to say that our furniture is like a good pair of jeans: you can dress them up or dress them down depending on where you are going. I think that is the same with our products: you can put them in a very high-end, traditional or eclectic environment, or you can put it in a real…

  • Print Edition

    Megan Feenstra-Wall, AIA

    Architect | Mathison|Mathison Architects Grand Rapids, Michigan There was a period in time when Megan Feenstra-Wall, AIA, architect at Grand Rapids-based Mathison |Mathison Architects, and her husband took a year off from their professional careers and spent nearly six months backpacking and traveling through southeastern Asia and the subcontinent of India. While the trip, which was rather spontaneously decided last minute after abandoning the original truck, tent, and cross-country tour planned stateside, may not directly influence Feenstra-Wall’s design work today, she noted she would like to think it does subconsciously. “There are so many great sites in the world. One of our favorite places on the trip was Bagan, Myanmar…

  • Print Edition

    Robert Sears

    Owner, Principal | Sears Architects Grand Rapids, Michigan Robert Sears, owner of the boutique architecture and planning firm known as Sears Architects, considers himself lucky. “I knew what I wanted to do. So many people don’t have a passion or a clear direction for their career,” Sears said. “I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was in sixth grade. I’ve always wanted to have a storefront office like we have now, so I geared my whole education and job experience toward that.” Goal burning bright in his mind, Sears went on to tailor his classes in high school and college, and even the job choices and locations to help…

  • Print Edition

    Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA

    Owner, Principal | Visbeen Architects Inc. Grand Rapids, Michigan | Chicago, Illinois Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, owner and founding principal at Visbeen Architects Inc., is passionate about his craft, which shines through in his artful, real-time sketches as he combines his creative vision and technical skill to bring his clients’ dreams to reality. His dedication to delivering innovative solutions—both visually appealing and functionally efficient—drives him, and he finds inspiration in everything around him, from bridges and buildings to the natural environment. “I think what has happened in my life is that my vocation has become my vacation: design and development, design and travel, national and international travel. I take it…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Evolution of sustainability:

    Text: R. Collins a look at the development of an international competition focused on sustainable design. Within today’s complex economies lies an inner-voice belonging to sustainability as it tries to make itself heard. The A to B mindset that governs much of our business and systems-thinking also plays a significant role in the direction of our economies, which often lead products through the same cycle: raw materials compose a product, then the product is recycled, and the waste is disposed. For four years, the Wege Center for Sustainable Design at The Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, organizes an annual student design competition…

  • Creative Endeavors

    The appliance factor

    Text: R. Collins For many, the west Michigan region has become known for its craft beer retailers, music venues, and art festivals; and while it can often leave some other industries overlooked, there is an award-winning, high-end appliance and electronics retailer making a name for itself—and for the area. Bekins, the Grand Haven-based certified member of the Custom Electronics Design & Integration Association, has not only expanded with a showroom location in Grand Rapids and facility in Coopersville, but also has become known throughout its 42-year-history as one of the places homeowners can go for a well-rounded appliance and electronic purchasing experience. President and Owner Scott Bekins of Bekins and…