Member News

Business Meets Beauty in Integrated Architecture Project

An Integrated Architecture client is seeing increased sales and accolades as a result of the WMSBF member’s crowd-pleasing redesign.

Completed last November, the Baker Book House redesign and expansion of its 20-year-old store at 2768 East Paris Ave. SE marries quality design with necessary business needs.  One, sales for Baker are up. Two, Integrated won an American Institute of Architects award from the Grand Rapids chapter for the design, which the jury characterized as a “library meeting a bookstore,” meaning the retail aspect was deliberately subdued. Because of that approach, Baker Book House gained a distinctive, new identity.

As discussed in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Integrated Architecture design team began its work by flipping the office and retail spaces, moving the retail to the front and the offices to the back. Then they added 2,300 square feet of new space that consisted of cast stone, glass and metal panels along the front of the store that IA said created a “we are here for the long run” statement.

Scott Vyn directs design at Integrated and told the Business Journal a lot of thought went into the practicality of how the firm could improve business at Baker Book House.  “A large portion of their work prior to the renovation was their Internet sales, as it continues to be, which doesn’t require any visibility by the general public or on the street. So a big emphasis of the project from the very beginning was to get a new front door and a new streetscape for the project,” said Vyn. “Going beyond that, our goal was to create an inviting, warm and informative elevation to let people know what the building is.”

The project took a year to complete and cost $1.4 million.

“We had to keep them up and running while the project went forward, which is another key driver … where design has to respect the business side of things,” said Vyn. “So while they were essentially flipping their business 180 degrees, by putting their Internet sales in the back and their retail up front, we had to pay special attention to how we made the changes so they could stay in business and continue to accommodate their sales during that period of construction.”

The project won Integrated an AIA Grand Rapids 2013 Honorable Mention Honor Award in the small commercial design category last month.

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