Mid Century Modern Grand Rapids – James Bronkema

bronkema drawingsTo coincide with the Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America Exhibition & Symposium coming to Grand Rapids this Spring and Summer, the Local History Department will be featuring a series of displays on mid century modern architecture and design in the Grand Rapids area.

The first of these highlights architect and builder, James Bronkema. Born in Grand Rapids in 1924 Bronkema attended Christian High School where he took classes in mechanical drawing and architecture. He also attended Calvin College, studying dentistry, before entering the war as a naval aviator.

After the war, Bronkema went into the real estate business with his father, and decided to build a house for himself and his wife. From 1949-1960 James Bronkema designed around 200 homes and commercial buildings in Grand Rapids, making a significant impact on the architecture of our city.

This display, located on the 4th floor of the Main Library,  is somewhat timely as Mr. Bronkema recently passed away. More information about him and his architecture can be found in this article.

Special thanks to West Michigan Modern for sharing current images of some of the homes and commercial buildings designed by James Bronkema for use in the display.

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