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.
The Grand Rapids Trust Building is notable for its dramatic exterior of sculpture and Terra Cotta facade, and for its interior marble staircase leading to a restored ballroom popular for special events.
BUILDING DETAILS: The soaring, nearly uninterrupted, vertical lines of the Art Deco Grand Rapids Trust Building are a contrast to the Italian Renaissance details of the rounded window and entry openings that soften the building's verticality. Like many Grand Rapids buildings, this building is a hybrid of styles. The light-colored terra cotta facade is a standout in the midst of the surrounding banks designed with stone and rich, darker red and brown shades of brick. Though scaffolding covers the building at present, the lobby is worth seeing with its elaborate marble finishes.
The handsome and iconic Native American motifs and sculptural elements, including most notably the American Indian that shapes the corner of the building, give the building a strong historic flavor. The sculpture was designed by Corrado Parducci, an Italian immigrant and popular Michigan architectural sculptor.
HISTORY: Wirt Rowland, the lead designer at the Detroit firm Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, had already designed the colorful and decorative Penobscot Building in Detroit when he started work on the eleven-story tower of the Grand Rapids Trust Building on Monroe Center. The Native American details are similar to motifs decorating Rowland's Penobscot Building, named for a Native American tribe from Maine. The interior was designed by the Wilmarth Company, a Grand Rapids firm that specialized in elegant modern commercial interiors. Today the interior marble staircase still leads to the elegant ballroom that can be rented for special events.