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Grand Rapids Public Museum Expansion

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27 minutes ago, TheLonesomeHobo said:


I’ll post the rendering photos when I get on an actual computer if someone doesn’t beat me to it. This was not on my 2021 bingo card. I hope they can raise the funds.

4 story tower add on? Pfft. Should be 40!


But seriously, this is awesome. 

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It's a very nice mostly external renovation. I'm mostly meh on it. I think part of it is that I still see the "new" museum as just a bit shallow and terribly outdated even 20 years ago. Honestly looks inside and out like the architectural embodiment of 1995.  The institution needs a major makeover. Something far more bold to counter the silly move to plant it in a spot where it had no way to ever expand significantly in anticipation for future growth.

 IDK, I just think that what they are proposing is just more of that "phone it in" vibe I get from the institution. Honestly, they need to bulldoze the parking ramp, add a whole new 4-story wing (different architecture) that includes the Holiday Inn lot, then partner with the Ford Museum to construct a parking ramp for all three on the surface lot next to that facility. Run a skywalk from there to the hotel that continues on to the new museum wing, and then you got something bold!


Edited by GR_Urbanist
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Interesting. I actually feel the opposite. Other than the glass block on a portion, I think the museum has aged well and has a nice, subdued design. I agree that the parking ramp is “meh”, but it’s a parking ramp  built at a time when there wasn’t much going on over there. 

in general, I like the museum, and the exhibits. I think the furniture exhibit is a bit dated, but that’s what happens with technology and animated characters. 

I’d love to see them add another permanent attraction, similar to the whale, carousel or steam wheel. 

I also think it’s a perfect spot for an expansion. I never realized (until Art Prize) how much dead space is sitting on the southeast side of the building. 

I’m excited. 


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I found this buried in an article about a new fundraising director at the public museum:

”Upgrades to the pavilion that hosts the museum’s carousel are also being eyed. The idea is to detach the structure from the museum’s main building to create an accessible trail connection along the river. The pavilion would also be outfitted with a green roof.”

I can’t figure out how this would actually work/what it would look like but found it interesting. 

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15 minutes ago, Zads said:

Alright, we're moving closer to the start date, which the article says will be this fall. The City Commission approved $50 million in expansion funds. 


Fences are up, and a construction trailer is on-site as of this morning.

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On 10/11/2023 at 12:00 PM, joeDowntown said:

I'm still a little bit confused by the change in access to the carousel. Will the carousel have a separate entrance accessible from outside? It looks like they are removing the inside entrance and just keeping a roof over the walkway to the carousel.


I was wondering the same and it looks like there will be a second level crossing?

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On 11/8/2023 at 5:40 PM, gvsusean said:

Just out of curiosity, why do they want it separated from the museum?

I think it's to make it more connective to the riverwalk/river.  The two definitely feel disconnected now and going from one to the other is awkward.   I think that's why they're getting rid of that "wall" of landscaping and opening it up (3rd rendering)

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