To the greater glory of God – A.M.D.G.
AMDG began as a partnership – four architects wrestling with how to bring greater purpose to their practice. At the time, three of them were University of Michigan Architecture School students. Calvin Jen, who founded the firm in 1992, was their professor.
Before having a single client, the four already agreed on a name—an acronym rooted in the Latin phrase Ad majorem Dei gloriam (To the greater glory of God). Not just a name, AMDG was a belief that design should serve more than the architect. By honoring our Creator, design is elevated to its highest potential and becomes more capable of serving people.
Two years after founding the firm, Cal moved AMDG from Ann Arbor to his hometown of Grand Rapids. Peter Baldwin, one of the original four, reunited with his professor, joining in 1997. The two quickly picked up on where they left off, innovating their approach to design and business. One example is encouraging employees to use their talents across multiple roles rather than strictly adhering to one. AMDG also found more engaging ways to involve clients in the design process.
With three distinct studios, and more than two dozen employees, AMDG continues to put client needs first. Spanning residential, education, healthcare, office, sports and fitness, AMDG is today what three students and their professor envisioned years ago: a testament to the glory of God.
AMDG – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
AMDG is an acronym for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, which in Latin means, “To the greater glory of God.” To fulfill this purpose we glorify God through serving, leading, and guiding others.
AMDG Architects, Inc. was founded by Calvin Jen in 1992 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Cal’s vision was to own an architectural firm that would foster personal working relationships with everyone involved on a project, hold the highest ethical standards, and produce excellent design.
Peter Baldwin, Cal’s former student and long-time friend, joined the firm as a partner in 1997. As the firm grew, Cal and Peter maintained a high level of involvement as principals to ensure continuity of vision and service.
In 2005, Tom Sinke and Don Cok joined Cal and Peter as shareholders in AMDG Architects—a natural step in the firm’s growth. At the same time, Peter transitioned to the role of president in keeping with AMDG’s long-term strategic plan.
During this period, new technology and tools transformed how AMDG engaged in the design process and worked together. AMDG also began evolving a new paradigm of strengths-based leadership and co-teaming. This approach intentionally combined team strengths and passions for better and more collaborative results.
As AMDG increased in size, the firm adopted a “pod” style of teaming, forming 3 smaller teams based on the strengths and experience of each member. Blessed with a growing number of clients, including clients in Chicago, Indiana, Kentucky, and New Mexico, AMDG expanded to the floor above, allowing for greater collaboration with clients and improving the way the team works together. In 2017, AMDG recognized Tom Sinke, Don Cok, and Brent Dykstra as senior associates, while also naming Adam Westmaas as an associate. In 2018, Todd Plamer was also named an associate.