Welcome to Architecture Grand Rapids where you will find guided architectural tours, stories about homes and buildings, interesting neighborhoods, classic and modern architectural styles, and a growing list of architects and contractors who created the built environment in Greater Grand Rapids and neighboring cities between 1850-1980.
Climb the grand stairs to get a close up of the Civic Auditorium located on a plaza west of Monroe Avenue, slightly hidden from view behind the Pantlind hotel where Lyon Street meets the Grand River.
BUILDING DETAILS: The Neoclassical building has a facade of Indiana Limestone with fluted columns and dramatic stair approach. The interior lobby features a combination of burnished wood paneling, large glass windows, gleaming tile floor, and decorative ornamental metal balcony and stair railings. The rest of the building was demolished to make way for the DeVos Place Convention Center.
The Detroit architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls designed the building, Local architects Frederick Sloan Robinson and Antoine Campau were associate architects on the project, and the venerable Grand Rapids firm of Owens, Ames, Kimball were the contractors. Detroit sculptors Corrado and Rudolph Parducci carved in cut stone the building's classical figures and motifs including the seal of Grand Rapids, signs of the zodiac, and allegorical figures representing the arts, science, sports and commerce.
William R. Moore, at the time the President of the American Institute of Interior Decorators, led the interior design.
HISTORY: The 1932 Civic Auditorium was often referred to as the Welsh Auditorium in honor of the former Mayor George Welsh who, despite the economic challenges of the Great Depression, made the construction of the building possible by using the "scrip" system. Under this system, workers were paid not in cash but in "scrip" that could be exchanged for groceries and goods in special Scrip stores. After the original building on the site was torn down, the Scrip workers scraped the mortar off the remaining bricks so they could be used to construct the pool house at Richmond Park on Grand Rapids westside.