Architecture tour of downtown Grand Rapids

Posted at 8:06 AM, Oct 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-01 08:06:32-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Architecture is art for Sam Cummings.

As a managing partner of CWD Real Estate, buildings are his business, so who better to give FOX 17 a tour highlighting some of the structures in Grand Rapids' downtown area?

Our tour began at the CWD office at 50 Louis NW, a building originally constructed by the Masons and which sat vacant until it's renovation in early 2014. Cummings discussed the building's history and talked about the different architecture styles seen in the structure before leading us through the city's streets to check out buildings old and new.

"I love old buildings, and I think it improves your treatment of them when you treat them gingerly and with respect,," said Cummings, whose knowledge and enthusiasm shine through during our tour.

Some of Cummings' favorite locations include the Ledyard Building,second-oldest in the city of Grand Rapids, the Trust Building, which was at one time the tallest in the state, and the Pantlind Hotel, which, Cummings said, sparked a rebirth of the city when it reopened as part of the Amway Grand Hotel in 1981.

Cummings also talked about Calder Plaza and how the city showcases and cherishes the famed sculpture placed there in 1969. He said other cities may have a Calder, but none of them get used as much as the one in Grand Rapids. "I'm one who firmly believes that we, Grand Rapids, will be the most art savvy city in the world in ten to twenty years. Now? Now, we're only in second grade."

An event like ArtPrize will certainly help educate residents when it comes to painting and sculpture, but Cummings wants them to see the beauty that remains in the city year-round, after the contest wraps up and the contest entries are taken down.