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Steelcase Corporate Headquarters

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1981–1983, WBDC, Inc. 901 44th St.

The huge corporate headquarters of the furniture maker is located on a 22.5-acre site adjoining the 292-acre main manufacturing complex and is fully landscaped with pond and plantings. WBDC, Inc., architects, planners, and engineers, of Grand Rapids designed it as a living laboratory and a working showroom for Steelcase office systems. The building consists of two wings branching at a 120-degree angle from a central atrium. The alternating horizontal bands of red Carnelian granite panels and bronze-tinted glass give a low, ground-hugging appearance to this large structure. It is five levels, with the first floor partially below grade and with successive walls cantilevered to create a sunscreen. The stainless steel sculpture Two For One (1985) by Dennis Jones stands before a second-level entrance that leads into the four-story, skylight-topped atrium lobby.

The granite and glass of the exterior continue into the atrium, which is open on all sides, providing views into functioning office areas. Here Ode IV, a twenty-two-foot-high stainless steel sculpture created in 1982 by James Rosati to symbolize the “energy and dynamism” of the corporation, rests in a reflecting pool against the backdrop of a water plane. The standard work stations of the offices are based on a modular plan and are, needless to say, outfitted with Steelcase furniture.

The building houses the executive, marketing, finance, and administrative offices of Steelcase. Planned for continued growth, the building was designed to accommodate a third wing. The pyramid-shaped Steelcase Corporate Development Center (1986–1989), also by WBDC, Inc., was closed in 2010 when Steelcase consolidated its employees at Steelcase Corporate Headquarters.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


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Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Steelcase Corporate Headquarters", [Grand Rapids, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 261-261.

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