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Even the vibrant signage on the storefront does not detract from the bold roof forms that define this iconic building, now Bell’s Pizza. Constructed in 1963, the building formerly housed Dawn Donuts in a design that was replicated throughout Michigan. The dynamic, angled roof is a character-defining feature of the style known as Googie Architecture, which was born in Southern California in the 1940’s and derives its name from a defunct Hollywood coffee shop. The style is further defined by broad expanses of glass and brightly colored neon lights. Here, the grand roof both marks the building and directs patrons to the main entrance.
Contemporary Ranch style houses presented wider street-facing elevations to better capture the attention of passersby. In the same manner, this building was born of the conditions faced as suburban strip development began to appear at the edges of the urban core. Considering the distance that this building set back from Grand River traffic and the parking lot that separates the store front from the road, it was deemed important to have the building forms stand apart from those of a traditional storefront, just as the modern movement was purported to break from the influences of the past.
“Eye Candy of the Week” is our weekly look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates with Eyesore of the Week and Eye for Design. Have a suggestion? Email eye@lansingcitypulse. com or call it in at 517-999-6715.