1901 Headshots.png

About Us

Elevate Studio Architecture Design began in 2006 as studio jv|a, an architectural design and consulting firm in Grand Rapids, MI. After 18 years of professional growth and achievement with a regional firm, and with a vision for a highly personal, hands-on approach to collaborative work and client participation, Jim VanderMolen founded the firm to specialize in the planning and design of spaces for spiritual and social community. Services include architectural and interior design and documentation, as well as consulting for pre-design programming and facility...


Dignifying the Ordinary

Philosophy of Design

We believe that every person has a right to a healthy, safe and sustainable environment and that the quality of one’s surroundings directly influences quality of life. We do not believe that quality necessarily means higher cost; rather, we believe that quality reflects value – the wise and appropriate investment of scarce resources toward a higher purpose.

We believe in stewardship. For many projects, the cost of construction often represents sacrificial giving on the part of the owner. We take our role as keepers of your funds very...

Design Process.jpg


We believe that projects best embody the spirit and vision of the client when the design process is creative, interactive and fun. We employ several techniques to ensure broad participation from the staff and users in a context of teamwork and camaraderie. We will work with you to determine which of these activities best suit the programming process to discover and understand your mission, vision, and values. What results is buzz and momentum in the constituency, unity around core values and strategies, equipped ambassadors for the project, and fuel for the design team and...




Master Planning

Feasibility Studies

Architectural Design


Liturgical Furnishings and Art



Elevate Studio Architecture Design values good partners, and seeks on every project to be a gracious partner that shares responsibility well. While we can lead multi-disciplinary projects from our home office, we sometimes partner with local firms or are asked to assist on projects by larger firms. We love working on new teams and learning from new partners, and also value old friends and associates. We are proud to have repeatedly partnered with the following people and firms:

  • Rebecca Ballema Interior Design
  • ...
elevate studio logo for facebook light.jpg


Steve and Jim share a commitment to the profession of architecture that includes preparing students for graduate studies in meaningful ways. In addition to teaching, advising, mentoring, and jurying in the Calvin College and Kendall programs, Elevate Studio Architecture Design is proud to have employed and mentored students in serious project roles between their graduate and undergraduate programs. Therefore, we celebrate, and wish well our alumni:

  • Matt VanderPloeg - University of Illinois - Chicago
  • Julia Mason - University of Edinburgh
  • David Mulder - Pratt...

Career Experience

In their careers encompassing 3 firms and 40 years of experience, Steve and Jim have personally provided professional services for the following clients and institutions:

  • 3 Mile Project, Walker, MI
  • AllShores Wesleyan Church, Spring Lake, MI
  • Appleton Alliance Church, Appleton, WI
  • Auburn Hills Christian Center, Auburn Hills, MI
  • Bailey Christian Church, Bailey, MI
  • Berkley Hills Wesleyan, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Bethany Assembly of God, Adrian, MI
  • Caledonia CRC, Caledonia, MI
  • Calvary Christian...


Here's what others are saying about us:

"Steve's assignment for Church of the Servant was to craft a major addition to a distinctively styled building designed by an internationally known architect. His design creatively integrated with the original concept. For a community as aesthetically alert as this one, that is a very important factor. It's as functional as it is visually striking. And he brought the project in on time and on budget. Altogether worthy of the awards he has won." -David Diephouse, Council President, Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Kentwood,...


Sustainability and Creation Care

Over the past few decades, Christians have become increasingly aware of the impact modern life has on both the environment and the economy through resource usage, operating costs and pollution. This awareness has led to the concept of Creation Care, a principle of stewardship based on God’s command for humans to be caretakers of the earth (Genesis 2:15). As architects, we embrace our role as participants in this calling to inform our clients of the options available, guide them to an appropriate decision and apply principles of sustainable design wherever appropriate. We – along with our...



September 2017 - Elevate Studio's Steve Fridsma leads one of ArtPrize's Top 5 Outstanding Venues

February 2016 - Elevate Studio featured in the Grand Rapids Business Journal

February 2016 - Elevate Studio work, the Mulder Chapel at Western Theological Seminary, used as an example to discuss the theology of worship space at...