Property: 217 S. Capitol Ave., Lansing
Recent architectural theory provides direction toward shaping a structure by accounting for a series of building contexts. One factor, Context of Purpose, considers whether a building’s appearance unmistakably identifies the uses within. That is, can a passerby tell that a building is a church or a school or a bank without identifying signage?
This Classical Revival building was constructed in 1924 as a Masonic Lodge. At that time, contemporary practice dictated that such a building should take the form of a Greek temple. In this case, that form is expressed with exaggerated verticality. The lower cornice is decorated with Masonic symbols carved in stone among the classical swags. Stout Doric columns and pilasters at the main entrance continue through the upper stories as engaged square columns. The upper frieze is punctuated with large windows, replicating the classical metopes and triglyphs.
The building was designed by architect Edwyn A Bowd, of Lansing's Bowd Munson Co., which was also responsible for other Lansing landmarks, including the Knapp’s Center and the Ottawa Street Power Station, now the Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America. The building was converted for use by the Cooley Law School in 1974, where it continued as another suitable example of Context of Purpose. It's for sale.
“Eye candy of the Week” is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail email@example.com or call Berl Schwartz at 999-5061.