SiTE:LAB names winners of 54Jeff space-design competition

SiTE:LAB names winners of 54Jeff space-design competition

The old Grand Rapids Public Museum building on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. Photo via

As part of its ArtPrize festivities, SiTE:LAB has revealed the winners of its 54Jeff challenge — an open ideas competition, seeking designs for the future of the former Grand Rapids Public Museum space.

Last night, a jury of art industry professionals awarded $10,000, $5,000 and $2,000 in prize money to the top three designs, as well as a $1,000 student award.

The nonprofit SiTE:LAB posted this challenge to designers: “We challenge competitors to create compelling visions for the future of this former museum. While not every proposal may be feasible in light of the political, legal and financial obstacles facing the development of any new urban public space, each can raise the community’s awareness of the unique potential of 54 Jefferson to serve Grand Rapids in new and innovative ways.”

SiTE:LAB has collaborated with the former Public Museum on four projects, including serving as an ArtPrize venue for the past two years.

The organization hopes to initiate a community-driven re-examination of the building’s potential as a public space and said that the ideas competition is the first step in that process.

The competition is purely an ideas competition, and there are no current plans or commitments for transforming the 54 Jefferson location.

Thirty-four entries were submitted and have been on display since Sept. 18, inside 54 Jefferson. They will remain on display through Oct. 6.


First prize: Danielle Berwick, Reforestation

Second prize: Doonam Back, Yann Caclin, Hugo Pace, Light Beams

Third prize and Student Winner: Peter Dumbadze, Grand Rapids Automation, University of Michigan/Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning


Reed Kroloff: a principal in jones|kroloff, director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, and a nationally known commentator in the world of architecture and urban design

Eva Franch i Gilabert: executive director and chief curator of Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City. She is a registered architect, researcher, curator and teacher as well as founder in 2003 of Office of Architectural Affairs.

Stephen Zacks: an internationally recognized architecture and urbanism reporter, theorist and cultural producer based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and a native of Flint, Michigan

Alois Kronschlaeger: best known for his site-specific installations and sculptures, which demonstrate a preoccupation with environment and light, as well as an interest in exploring time and space via geometry. Most recently, he completed Habitat, a 27-part architectural intervention within the deserted habitat dioramas in the former Grand Rapids Public Museum.

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