Property: 307 East Grand River Ave., East Lansing
Architectural critics often divide their subjects into ‘capital A’ Architecture and ‘small a’ architecture. The former category includes famous museums, large monuments and examples of structural engineering gymnastics. The building above is of the latter variety: a charming example of a modest background building.
The front elevation is simple, composed with a slight change in height to emphasize the center of the main elevation. The copestone is matched in the window sills and a carved limestone plaque crowns the composition with the building’s name. The building is elegant, achieving understated distinction while avoiding being overwhelmed by louder, more colorful and much, much taller buildings nearby.
Naturally, a building of this era would benefit from targeted, ongoing maintenance. And the curiously asymmetrical sign might be expanded — or at least centered — to fill the area intended by the building designer. However, as the surrounding streets and blocks develop and grow, this charming building remains a pleasant reminder of an earlier streetscape. Like the houses in the animated feature “Up” and the children’s book “The Little House,” the building (and the business within) continue to endure in a changing world of rapidly overturning redevelopment and commonplace online book purchases.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call Berl Schwartz at 999-5061.