As the following photos will demonstrate, when it comes to mixed-use development there can be bland designs and there can be “GRAND” designs. The first two mixed-use buildings (see below) are located in East Lansing and tend to come across as bland, uninviting monoliths. Frankly, there are tombs with more expression and life in their design. Given their appearance, is it any surprise that foot traffic along the sidewalks in front of these buildings is often null and void?
Just a half-mile to the west in the City of Lansing is a favorite new mixed-use development – Midtown (see below and at the top of the post). While my preference would be for it to be situated a bit closer to the street, the project exudes vibrancy, whimsy, and excitement through architectural design and the use of vivid colors. No drab Earth tones here! Two adjacent retail commercial developments have adopted similar appearances bringing spontaneity and vibe to Michigan Avenue and helping foster the area’s resurgence.
Greater Lansing has had its share of bland development projects. It is nice to see innovative, cutting-edge designs being employed not only at Midtown, but in downtown East Lansing (such as the Broad Art Museum and Albert Place) and in downtown Lansing (such as the Stadium District, Marketplace, Accident Fund HQ, and the Outfield).
As more bold architectural experimentation takes place in Greater Lansing, it serves as terrific way to shake off a region’s past rusty image and to chase away the blahs than to bring inspiration, motivation, and most importantly…life to city streetscapes. Namaste!