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Wednesday, November 6,2013

Eye Candy of the Week

by Daniel Bollman, AIA
Property: The Dean Apartments, 727 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing

Owner: Dean Investors

This recently renovated apartment block is a short walk from Lansing Community College and enjoys a grand view of Durant Park. The building is finished in brick with stone details, including a continuous base and decorative quoining on the corners. Following the classical tradition, the front elevation is organized into tripartite divisions, including the windows, which offer a variant on the Chicago window — a large center panel flanked by thinner units. A new modern portico, added during the recent renovations, respects the original stone nameplate. In all, the apartments are an attractive, unassuming thread in the fabric of downtown Lansing.

Anyone doubting the significant effect of The Dean Apartments’ traditional, straightforward composition need only compare the building to its neighbors. The Dean’s stylishness is emphasized when contrasted to the building located to its south. Both buildings exhibit similar materials. Their masses are comparable and they have similar uses. Each even has a significant open space adjoining the building. However, with its near absence of street-facing fenestration, the adjacent building ignores the public, turning instead to face the parking lot to its south. The Dean Apartments offer a well-composed street facade; the nearby building is awkward, introverted and entirely lacking in urban context.

Bollman is a local architect interested in historic preservation and critical regionalism. He can be reached at Daniel@eastarbor.com.

“Eye Candy of the Week” is our look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates with Eyesore of the Week.

If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse. com or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.

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