Located at 124 West Michigan Avenue in Lansing, Michigan, the Lansing City Hall and Police Building was designed by the local architectural firm of Kenneth C. Black Associates, Inc. The building is a highly polished example of the International Style and a key historic and architectural landmark in Lansing. The present building replaced the former Richardsonian Romanesque city hall, a towered masonry building that was magnificent in its massiveness and elaborate detailing. The present city hall is an equally fine product of its own day. The current building was the keystone of former Lansing Mayor Ralph Crego’s program to modernize the city, a program that included the construction of other important public buildings during the 1950s. Forward-looking in its design, City Hall was, like the older one, designed by one of the city’s leaders in the architectural profession, and was built using the favored materials of its day, including granite and limestone and the curtain-wall construction that was just becoming popular at the time.
City Hall displays a sculptural representation of the city seal on the Capitol Avenue façade fabricated by an important Michigan sculptor, Leonard D. Jungwirth, best known in mid-Michigan for his Spartan (“Sparty”) figure at Michigan State University. Fronted by a landscaped plaza at the Capitol/Michigan intersection, the building rises above a tall 1-story lobby flanked by lower spaces, including the treasurer’s office and an adjacent side entrance fronting on Capitol Avenue. The main, rectangular 9-story block of the building cantilevers outward to the south and west over the plaza and treasurer’s office area, the part above the plaza rising above a square-plan entry.
Round pinkish-mauve granite columns outside the lobby windows contain part of the support structure. The 9-story main block is faced in limestone at the narrow Capitol end – where the lower surface displays the building’s name, LANSING CITY HALL, in raised letters below Jungwirth’s carved representation of the city seal – and displays a glass and dark green aluminum panel curtain wall across its main south façade above the plaza. The lobby is finished with columns and wall cladding of the same pinkish-mauve granite. The building’s plaza, designed by Black as part of the project, displays planting beds outlined by low random ashlar retaining walls (the foundation wall on the building’s Capitol Avenue side forms a continuation of the plaza’s west-side random ashlar wall). Two bronze World War I memorial plaques, presumably moved from the old city hall, are now positioned on the limestone east wall of the treasurer’s office that projects into the plaza.
Christensen, Robert O. “Lansing Downtown Historic District National Register of Historic Places Registration Form,” Lansing, Michigan, 2008, Section 7, Page 19.
Kenneth C. Black Associates, Inc. Kenneth C. Black Associates Inc.: Architects and Engineers (Lansing, MI: Kenneth C. Black Associates, Inc., 1970).