Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris University, Federal Building Redevelopment

Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • FIRM



    Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

  • AREA

    90,000 sq.ft.





The Federal Building, built in 1909, occupies an entire city block in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. Though it has served as a federal post office and courts building as well as the Grand Rapids Art Museum, it had been vacant and deteriorating since 2007.

Through a ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMChristman Capital Development; Hopkins Burns Design Studio; Via Design StudioCOST PER SQ FT$177.78CITATIONSpecial CitationFEATURED IN2013 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYHistoric Preservation public/private partnership, the team creatively converted this iconic building into a contemporary learning environment within the framework of classic design and timeless craftsmanship.

Complying with historic preservation requirements, all five floors were converted to educational spaces: auditorium, library, art galleries, cafe, art supply and bookstore, workshops, metal art and ceramics labs, classrooms and offices. The Wege Center for Sustainable Design is housed on the fourth floor, where once-covered skylights now provide natural light, making space usable for creative learning and allowing an integrated approach to sustainability in art and design education.

The building is energy-efficient and sustainable through new systems, technology and controls. Construction waste management achieved 91 percent waste diversion by weight, and sensitivity to detail resulted in reuse of 95 percent of existing walls and floors. Historic windows were restored and reinstalled with energy-efficient glazing, and more than 200 interior doors and light fixtures were reused.

The Federal Building now stands transformed and repurposed, reflecting the past, accommodating the present and inspiring creative minds for the future.

“Amazing mix and respect of existing architecture and a modern program. A very nice adaptive reuse that didn’t overdo it, but rather unveiled the existing beauty.”--2013 jury