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Design sets Sigma Phi Epsilon apart as no. 16 best house nationally


The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house, located at 1148 E. Grand River Ave., photographed Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. The house was listed as one of the best fraternity houses nationally by brobible.com. Danyelle Morrow/The State News

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity was nationally recognized Monday as the No. 16 best fraternity house in the country for its historic architecture and luxurious amenities, including a “full-size stripper pole,” according to brobible.com, a men’s lifestyle site.

Brobible.com associate editor Andy Moore said the top 30 houses were chosen from a pool of 60-70 self-submitted entries.

Moore said the architectural design, history and notable residents of the houses also played an important factor.

The house, located at 1148 E. Grand River Ave., was built and occupied by Beta Theta Pi from 1964 until 2006.

Alpha Epsilon Pi lived in the house until switching residences with Sigma Phi Epsilon following Sigma Phi Epsilon’s spring 2012 expulsion from 225 N. Harrison Road.

Alpha Epsilon Pi member and criminal justice junior Robbie Pasick lived in the house last year, but felt it was too large for his fraternity.

“It was extremely big, it was unique. It was a cool architectural house,” Pasick said. “But as far as brotherhood and parties are concerned, it wasn’t a great house for us.”

Sigma Phi Epsilon President Mike DiFiglia declined to comment for this article.

On brobible.com, members of Sigma Phi Epsilon noted the house’s indoor basketball hoop, two full bars and a “full-size stripper pole.”

Moore said multiple fraternity members claimed the house was designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

City records do not name an architect. The house also does not appear on registries devoted to the architect’s work and was built in 1964 — five years after Wright’s death.

Although it’s unclear who built the house, it still has historic meaning to East Lansing.

In a 2008 report released by the East Lansing Historic District Study Committee, the house was the subject of architectural and historical surveys and was “significant under National Register Criterion C,” meaning that the building exemplifies the architectural style of the time period in which it was built.

“This fraternity has a style that is unique to East Lansing and is a wonderful example of the contemporary, exuberant architecture of the late 1950s and early 1960s,” the report stated. “The river setting, bold design, modernistic style and large scale clearly designate this as a one-of-a-kind fraternity.”

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