‘Kaleidoscopic’ sky cone at GRCC to bring pop of color to skyline

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new project at Grand Rapids Community College will change the Grand Rapids skyline.

Work is underway on the Secchia Piazza, part of the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center. When it is complete, it will be a place to gather, teach and learn.

“There will always be color and warmth in this room even on a cold winter day…. The light from the cone will come down through and illuminate the ground as well as the presentation wall that’s going to be built right here,” Senior Design Architect Ned Baxter said.

He says the sky cone is the focal point of the new space. Ambassador Peter Secchia himself had a hand in the vision before his passing in 2020.

“He used the word ‘kaleidoscopic.’ He used the word ‘joyful’ and so we knew we had to find a way to make that happen,” Baxter said.

Secchia Piazza (Jan. 13, 2022)

When it’s complete, the colored glass will come down lower into the room, throwing shadows and color on the floor below which will also be a piece of art.

“It’s going to be a new event space with a lot of storytelling built into it. You’ll see a design on the floor that will represent journeys and the pathway that students will take from outside to here in Grand Rapids but also from Grand Rapids to around the world,” Dave Murray, Communications Director for Grand Rapids Community College, said.

The culinary school the piazza is attached to played a big part in the inspiration for the design.

“The reds and oranges and greens we were thinking about the harvest, we were thinking about autumn, we were thinking about the food that makes the Secchia Culinary Institute so much a part of this project,” Baxter said.

The piazza is slated to be complete this fall. A new pop of color for Grand Rapids Community College and downtown.

“It will be a beacon for the city and maybe something Grand Rapids is recognized for. You’ll see the colored skylight and you’ll know where you are,” Baxter said.

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