Fusion Education Group at the Morton
Design Awards / Fusion Education Group at the Morton
Small Commercial Design: 2016 Winner
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Fusion, an alternative middle | high school program, operates schools on both the East and West coasts. Its web site states there is nothing typical about the way they teach. Similarly, the challenge of designing their new office in a 1920’s multi-purpose high rise building was anything but typical. Fusion’s office, housing 50 + employees links two unique areas of the 95-year old building: the top of a two-story open bank lobby and the third floor of what once was a 400-room hotel. Successfully connecting the two historically separate spaces required the creation of a communicating stair and careful attention to massive concrete transfer beams which span above both floors. The beams guided the location of the main conference room, determined the placement of the communicating stair and were celebrated as they add levels and interest to the ceiling plane. Riveted steel columns intersperse the office offering a visual counterpoint to the tech-savvy, video-conferencing corporation, as does an ornamental staircase that once connected the bank mezzanine and lobby with the basement vault room. The bank lobby’s two story windows were revealed by removing a portion of the floor. Whites and grays assist the natural light in brightening the space. Additionally, the neutral colors focus attention on staff creativity and energy. Fusion’s corporate colors also provide a pop and support the corporate identity program. Fusion schools operating from an office fused from a bank and a hotel. An appropriate solution.