Architectural firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mathison I Mathison Architects marked the 10-year anniversary of their firm this month. The firm is currently managed by three principals: founding principal, Evan Mathison, Megan Feenstra Wall and Ben Franceschi. Their team consists of 20 architects, interior designers and support staff. Continuing to invest in the west side of downtown Grand Rapids, they recently expanded their office space in the 1883 Widdicomb building from 3,800 square feet to 6,000 square feet to accommodate for their growing team.
The firm began in October of 2013 when Evan Mathison decided to take a leap of faith and move back to West Michigan from Boston, where he had completed his Masters Degree in Architecture at Harvard University and started his career at an architecture firm there. He approached his father, Tom Mathison, who was at the peak of a successful architectural career at a large firm in Grand Rapids about starting a new firm together.
“This was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to start anew with my son and an opportunity I could not let pass me by,” shared founding principal, Tom Mathison.
Mathison I Mathison Architects (MMA) started in a 300 square foot space above the garage at Tom Mathison’s house. Evan, his wife and three children moved into the basement as they began the design and construction of their own home. Two years later Evan’s family home and the west side office were completed and ready to move into.
“Starting the firm on the west side in downtown Grand Rapids was important to us. We wanted to be part of the community and continue the ongoing investment into this city,” said Evan Mathison.
Over the years the firm has designed marquee projects like the Grand Rapids International Airport Viewing Park and Pavilion, Glen Lake Public Schools, the Special Olympics Michigan Unified Sports and Inclusion Center, the renovation of St. Cecilia Music Center, Muskegon Community College Downtown Center, Glen Arbor Arts Center renovation and expansion, Eastown Veterinary Clinic, Montcalm Community College and over 200 residential projects from Lake Michigan to New England to Clearwater Beach.
Tom Mathison retired in 2022 and the transition to new leadership began. “Ben and Megan were the two leaders that we needed to continue the growth of the firm and both brought a unique background, skillset and perspective to the team,” said Tom.
“The entrepreneurial spirit that our young growing firm embodies is infectious. I wanted to invest in this team and help it continue to grow. At the same time I fell in love with West Michigan and the community here and knew this was a permanent home for me and my family,” shared Franceschi.
Throughout the years the firm has been awarded numerous project awards from AIA Grand Rapids, AIA Michigan, ArchDaily, American Institute of Building Design as well as being named Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce for EPIC Creative Business of the Year in 2022, a 50 Michigan Company to Watch, “Best Young Firm” from Architizer and awards from Grand Rapids Business Journal with team members in the 40 Under 40 class and as West Michigan Most Influential Women. The firm and their work have been quoted or highlighted, including multiple cover features, in over 50 stories across local, state, regional and national publications.
The team is currently working on projects for the Muskegon Museum of Art, Traverse City Whiskey Company, Eastern Kille Distillery, OST Headquarters, Walker KDL, Muskegon State Park Beachhouse and over 25 active residential projects.
“We are excited about our future and look forward to the next ten years,” shared Feenstra Wall. “The projects we are able to work on continue to challenge us and help learn and grow as a result. We plan to contribute to the fabric of our communities, state and region long into the future.”