The Knapp Building says “Lansing has next”

Knapp's Office Centre

Knapp’s Office Centre, photo by Eridony.

Last week on Absolute Michigan we had a story about Lansing being named the Next American City. The article by Ivy Hughes in Next American City is titled Lansing: There’s No Place We’d Rather Be and might change your view of Michigan’s changing capital city. I had selected this photo for a quick link over to the article because I have always thought the building is neat. I soon learned that the long vacant Knapp’s Office Centre building is being renovated, another tangible sign of the new energy that is rising in Lansing.

Wikipedia’s J.W. Knapp Company Building entry says:

The J.W. Knapp Company Building is a historic five-story, 190,000-square-foot (18,000 m2) Streamline Moderne building in Lansing, Michigan, United States. Designed by Orlie Munson of the Bowd–Munson Company, which also designed several other Art Deco landmarks in Lansing, including the Ottawa Street Power Station, it was constructed by the Christman Company in 1937 through 1938. The curvilinear look of the streamlined structure comes from huge plates of concrete faced with enamel, called “Maul Macotta”, a copyrighted product of the Maul Macotta Company and prismatic glass brick windows. Alternating horizontal bands of yellow macotta and glass block are interrupted by vertical blue macotta pylons, rising from the building’s four principal entrances. The pylons are pierced by windows. The entrance portals, display window aprons, and decorative banding are dark blue macotta. Red, yellow and blue spandrels, incorporating the letter “K” as a design element, decorate the entrance portals

The building housed the main department store of the Lansing-based J.W. Knapp Company. When completed in 1939, it was hailed in the contemporary press as “the most modern building in the Midwest”. Today, it is considered to be one of the finest intact examples of Streamline Art Moderne commercial buildings in the Midwest, notable for its size, clarity of design and brilliant colors.

Don’t miss this great set of Historic photos of J.W. Knapps Building in the Lansing State Journal.

See this photo big as a building and see this and other shots of the building in Brandon’s massive Downtown Lansing slideshow.

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