New works commissioned for the Union Depot will take you on a trip... without ever leaving the station.
Michael Bahl,"Mesohippus Mirabilis,"2007
Take, for instance, the work of Michael Bahl. Bahl, who keeps a studio in Lowertown, describes himself as a "Paleo-osteological Interpreter" - a sort of imaginative revisionist archeologist.
Using actual bones from a variety of animals, Bahl assembles them in new and intriguing forms that propose an alternate zoological history.
Bahl will create two such "creatures" to hang in the Union Depot's concourse, where they will be displayed along with a description of their life and discovery.
Kyle Fokken is known for creating what he calls "3-D collages," combining disparate objects into into one single other-wordly creation.
For the Union Depot's grand waiting room Fokken will create three "retro-futurist" train sculptures, which will be exhibited not far from a terracotta frieze that shows the real-life evolution of transportation in Minnesota.
And sculptor Aldo Moroni, who creates entire cities out of clay, will take visitors back through time with four different pieces exhibited in the depot's head house. Each will depict St. Paul at different points in its history: 1850, 1900, 1950 and 2013.
You can find out more about the artists selected to create work for the Union Depot here.
All images courtesy the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority
What will cities of the future look like?
You may - or may not - find the answer in a slew of short videos submitted to this year's "Videotect" competition.
The event challenges creative types to express design ideas through video. This year's theme: City of the Future.
This year's submissions are in and up on the website; the public can vote for their favorites through February 15. Awards for the winners, both juried and by popular vote, will be handed out on March 7.
Here's just a sampling:
The board of the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority has approved the selection of four public art commissions at Union Depot. They are as follows:
• Amy Baur and Brian Boldon of In Plain Sight Art Studio (Minneapolis, Minn.) have been selected to produce a work of art in the carriageway of Union Depot, which will serve as a primary drop off site for those arriving at Union Depot by auto, taxi or accessible transportation services. The artists will use multi-layered digital imagery on ceramic tile and glass to create a mural along the blank 170-foot long wall to welcome the public and engage them in history of the site. ($150,000 commission)
• Ray King (Philadelphia, Penn.) has been selected to create a suspended sculpture in the Great Hall Atrium, which will be visible from the depot's front plaza and from inside the Great Hall. King uses materials such as glass, metals and laminating films to create luminous sculptures that animate the architectural environment. ($200,000 commission)
• Tim Prentice (West Cornwall, Conn.) will create a suspended kinetic sculpture in the newly built Kellogg Entry, where transit riders will ascend from street level to the train deck and historic waiting room. ($200,000 commission)
• Steve Dietz of Northern Lights.mn (Minneapolis, Minn.) will work with a team of artists to create a series of multimedia installations throughout the Union Depot. Dietz is the founder of Northern Spark and previously the Walker Art Center's new media program. ($500,000 commission)
According to Josh Collins, Public Art Administrator for the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, the RCRRA is investing approximately $1.25 million towards public art at the renovated Union Depot, with 80 percent ($1 million) of those dollars coming from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
The four commissions make up about 85 percent of the overall public art program budget. The RCRRA plans to issue another Call to Artists in the coming months to engage additional artists in projects at Union Depot.
The winning projects were selected from 156 applications by a review panel of artists, art professionals, historic preservationists, project partners and community representatives.(2 Comments)
This week the world is talking about sports, thanks to the 2012 Olympic games in London.
But 100 years ago the Olympics included not just sports, but art. Medals were awarded for sport-themed painting, sculpture, literature, architecture and music in games held between 1912 and 1952.
NPR's Audie Cornish spoke with historian John MacAloon, who explained the idea was conceived by the founder of the Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin:
MACALOON: [He] was inspired by the ancient Greek Olympic Games, which most expressions included competitions in musical performance, in singing and in heralding, public announcement, if you will, he wanted to make sure the modern games follow that.
Secondly, he felt very, very strongly that if you didn't have competitions in the arts, then all you had, as he put it, was a mere series of sporting world championships. So it was his idea. He fought for it, and it took till the Stockholm Games of 1912 for the first competitions to actually be organized.
CORNISH: Essentially, anybody could submit works of art to the competition to be judged by, I guess, by commissions in the host country. How seriously did the art community take the competition?
MACALOON: Well, this was the problem right from the beginning. The debates began almost immediately. True art is art for art's sake. How could this art for sport's sake really be authentic? Would you get any quality submissions? Why would artists create original works against such a new and uncertain format? Artists themselves are not always really happy to compete directly with one another. And when they do, they would prefer a jury of their peers. So the artists were afraid that they would be judged by people from sport, and the sports people were afraid that they'd get submissions from artists that really were not deeply connected with the theme.
As a result, winning submissions - especially in the literature category - were, well... not that winning.
The American Swedish Institute celebrates the opening of its new cultural center in South Minneapolis tomorrow.
A bird's eye view of the American Swedish Institute's new Nelson Cultural Center
Image courtesy the American Swedish Institute
The Nelson Cultural Center features classrooms, performance spaces, a studio, a cafe and gift shop. It will also serve as the ASI's new entrance. ASI President Bruce Karstadt says the new center, next to the grand 1904 building which has long served as the ASI's home, celebrates Minnesota's Nordic traditions while also looking to the future.
"We have this fairytale castle, at 26th and Park, the Turnblad mansion, and now sitting next to it, but separated by a beautiful new courtyard is a new cultural center designed by local architects but which has been inspired by Nordic design and Nordic traditions of architecture."
Karstadt says the opening is a celebration of the new building, and a reaffirmation of the organization's commitment to the community.
"We are really excited and so happy to see this culminate this weekend but yet viewing it as a springboard into a next period of our service."
While building on Nordic tradition, the ASI will offer classes and cultural events to all communities in the area. The Institute attracts more than 65-thousand visitors every year. The King and Queen of Sweden will formally open the new center in October. This weekend's celebration will feature food, arts and crafts demonstrations, and music including ABBA impersonators.
Lori Greene is filled with expectation.
"It's like being pregnant, but having no idea when you're due," she chuckled on a recent summer afternoon.
Greene is the force behind Mosaic on a Stick, a combination store, gallery, classroom and community center for people interested in making mosaics.
Lori Greene stands before the current home of her store Mosaic on a Stick
MPR Photo/Marianne Combs
Located on the corner of Snelling and Thomas Avenues in St. Paul, Mosaic on a Stick has worked over the years to beautify the immediate neighborhood, covering the street planters that line Snelling with colorful tile art made in classes. Greene also often works on murals for schools and other communities.
But Greene said her current space isn't meeting the needs of the store, and she's hoping to move to a new space with a long history.
The Hamline Park building
MPR Photo/Marianne Combs
The Hamline Park Building was built by Cap Wigington in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration project. Located just a block from Mosaic on a Stick's current site, the building sits on the corner of a park that is regularly filled with kids and young adults of various ethnic backgrounds playing basketball and tennis, and climbing the jungle gym. For the last year the building has sat empty.
For Lori Greene, it's a perfect place to call home.
It's fabulously beautiful. Look at all that park land around it - we can have classes in the park, maybe do a sculpture in the park, projects with kids that play in the park.
Greene said the new building will make it easier for her to hold multiple classes simultaneously (her current is basically a single large room, with storage space). It also helps her to move closer to fulfilling a longtime mission, namely to get diverse youth involved in her community building projects.
And on top of everything else, the rent will be cheaper.
Detail of the Hamline Park building
MPR Photo/Marianne Combs
Tom Russell, with the City of Saint Paul's Parks and Recreation, says the Hamline building hasn't been used for actual recreation purposes since the late 1980s. As Parks and Recreation tries to reduce the amount of its capital liability, he says it is becoming more and more common for the agency to assume the role of landlord.
Russell says, for the city, having Mosaic on a Stick move into Hamline Park Building is a win-win for both organizations.
In addition to a good business plan, Mosaic on a Stick also has community support and will be providing services to the community - so two big pluses. Mosaic on a Stick has also committed (with the Historic Preservation Commission) to improving and preserving the historic nature of the building. So they will help preserve a historic community asset - another plus.
Lori Greene has one last hurdle to leap before making the move into her new home; currently the park building is zoned for everything except retail. In order to re-zone the building, Greene needs to get permission from neighbors, allowing her to sell her art supplies on site.
If all goes well, Greene hopes to open Mosaic on a Stick on its new site in October.
Editor's note: this update comes from MPR's Curtis Gilbert, who reported on the Peavey Plaza controversy earlier today.
Peavey Plaza was named a "marvel of modernism" by the Cultural Landscape Foundation in 2008. Now it's being demolished in order to make way for modern improvements.
Minneapolis -- The Zoning & Planning Committee of the Minneapolis City Council voted 5 to 1 Thursday to to grant a demolition permit for Peavey Plaza.
Historic preservationists have been fighting a plan to redesign the 37-year-old downtown park in front of Orchestra Hall. They argue Peavey Plaza is an important example of modernist architecture that should be restored, not removed.
"There's intrinsic value in the way the site was designed to move people through it, enjoy it," said landscape architect Gina Bonsignore.
But City Council member Lisa Goodman wasn't persuaded.
"Especially when you're dealing with landscape design -- trees, flowers, the life cycle growth -- the only thing that's consistent in landscape design is change," Goodman said. "We need to embrace that change. That's what the public is demanding."
Goodman argues the new design will make Peavey Plaza safer and accessible to people with disabilities.
The committee's vote means it's likely that next week the full City Council will overturn a previous ruling by the city's Heritage Preservation Commission.
Private donations will pay most of the $8 million to $10 million budget. But the city does not have the funding in hand yet.(1 Comments)
A Minneapolis City Council committee is in a hearing today discussing whether Peavey Plaza is worth preserving.
People enjoy an afternoon at Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, Minn. Wednesday, May 16, 2012. After Minneapolis' Heritage Preservation Commission voted in support of saving the plaza, the Minneapolis City Council will vote this month on whether the plaza should be preserved or demolished and rebuilt. MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson
The city's planning department says the downtown park is unsafe, inaccessible and too expensive to maintain. They want to replace it with a newly designed plaza they say will better suit the city's needs.
But MPR's Curtis Gilbert reports historic preservationists see the plaza as a significant work of modernist architecture and they're fighting to save it.
"Demolition is drastic," says Charles Birnbaum, a historical preservationist and the president of the of Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington, D.C.
"Because Peavey Plaza, I would say is a seminal work of landscape architecture of national import, it is worthy of careful change."
Birnbaum says Peavey represents the first "park plaza" in America. It combines paved and green space in a way that has been imitated since. He wants to see it preserved.
On Wednesday evening, Birnbaum unveiled a proposal to update Peavey Plaza. The plan adds additional wheelchair ramps, a restaurant and a bridge that connects 12th Street to Orchestra Hall. It was created by the original architect, Paul Friedberg, who is now 81 and lives in New York City.
"You don't have to destroy something to improve it," Birnbaum said.
Friedberg and Birnbaum were originally part of the team charged with coming up with a revitalization plan for Peavey Plaza, but they were eliminated from the process when Minneapolis decided it wanted to completely replace the plaza.
You can read the rest of Curtis Gilbert's story here.
The debate has also reached the attention of the New York Times, which reported on the story this morning. You can find that here.(2 Comments)
The future of Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis is the source of national debate among landscape architects.
Peavey Plaza was named a "marvel of modernism" by the Cultural Landscape Foundation in 2008.
Bradford McKee, Editor of Landscape Architecture magazine says the plaza -which is slated for a major overhaul that has infuriated fans of brutalist architecture - is a lesson in idealism vs. reality:
To a trained eye, Peavey Plaza stands for a particular place in design time. But in the belly button of a major downtown these days, connoisseurship alone is unlikely to save much. In cities where land is valuable, everything has to pay its own way. Arguments about design and history have to be woven with economy and culture to make them work among the more careful alderpersons. You have to show that preservation benefits a district, which it usually does. This is especially true now that cities, more spontaneously than not, are getting the upper hand in their struggles with the suburbs.
It looks as if a permit to demolish Peavey Plaza will be approved imminently. This is harsh news, but it is unsurprising when you consider the many ways cities are rewriting the action at their centers. [Tom Oslund, lead architect of the redesign] may someday see another reincarnation of Peavey Plaza. As a landscape architect he designs and builds and turns his work over to the public for its pleasure for however long it lasts.
Mckee says "When you work in the public realm, you've got to have a thick hide. If you don't, the public will give you one."
You can read the rest of his editorial here.
View of Peavey Plaza looking south, summer
Artist rendering courtesy of Oslund & Associates
Plans to build a new concert hall at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts have been pushed back to the spring of 2013.
Rendering of the new hall for the Ordway
Image courtesy of St. Paul's Artistic Partnership
The renovation, which was tentatively scheduled to break ground this year, was contingent on the Arts Partnership (the Ordway, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and the Schubert Club) completing its $75 million capital campaign.
Currently the partnership has raised approximately $55 million.
While only about half of the campaign money is designated for the renovation, and the other half for an endowment, Ordway president Patricia Mitchell says the partnership does not want to move forward until all the funding is in place.
It's easier frankly to raise money for the building piece than for the endowment piece. But this whole project is focused on solving the two major problems at the Ordway for all of us as partners - time and money. The concert hall solves the time part but without the endowment we don't solve the money part.
Rendering of the Ordway's exterior once the expansion is complete
Image courtesy of St. Paul's Artistic Partnership
Mitchell notes that fundraising has its own tempo, and unlike musical compositions you can't necessarily make it go faster:
I think there's a high level of confidence that we will be able to start next spring. One of the things that's peculiar about this project is that we really can only start in a spring, because we cannot - or choose not to- interrupt the activities of all of us in the music theater. So that gives us a construction schedule that is somewhat less flexible than it otherwise might be. So if somebody gave us a check for 25 million dollars on August 1st, that would be lovely - but we still couldn't start until next spring.
Mitchell says the decision to postpone the renovation has opened up opportunities for programming this summer - including a run of Chicago in August - and for the McKnight Theater in the coming year.
You can read more about the planned renovation here.
How do you study the bones of a creature without destroying it in the process?
Simple enough - you take an x-ray.
In the case of Lynne Parenti and Sandra Raredon, you take thousands of X-rays of fish specimens. Their work is for scientific research, but the results have been so beautiful that they're now the subject of an exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
Credit: Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution
Arranged in evolutionary sequence, the X-rays give a sense of the long chain of fish evolution. X-rays may also reveal other details of natural history: undigested food or prey in the gut might reveal to an ichthyologist what a fish had for its last meal.
Credit: Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution
Not headed to Washington, D.C. anytime soon? No worries - time is on your side. The exhibition, titled "X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out," will be heading out on a national tour, and is scheduled to make a stop at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona in May of 2014.
Last night marked the second annual awards ceremony for Videotect, a video competition that was created to get people thinking about urban design issues.
Last year's topic was skyways; this year it was transportation.
This year I had the pleasure of being one of the judges, and after biting my tongue for several weeks I can now finally share the winners. Here you go!
The Grand Prize Winner: Saddlebag
Honorable Mention: A Fistful of Asphalt
Honorable Mention: Over/Under
Honorable Mention: Church of Automobility
Honorable Mention: Sustainable Transportation
Last but not least, attendees to last night's awards ceremony got to vote for their favorite. The Popular Choice winner was Twin Cities Trails:
Congrats to all the winners!
The American Swedish Institute is getting a sizable expansion.
On June 30, the Institute will open the Carl and Leslie Nelson Cultural Center, which adds 34,000 square foot to the insitute's campus, including new galleries, studios, a flexible meeting space and an expanded café. The center is connected by a courtyard to the institute's historic home, the Turnblad Mansion.
Architectural rendering of Nelson Cultural Center as seen from Park Avenue
The center is designed to create a more accessible, welcoming entrance in the Phillips West neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Institute staff say they hope the addition will position the museum squarely as a significant cultural center for the region, featuring the remarkable --and unexpected -- in Nordic arts, music and culture.
The June 30 opening will be marked with an all-day festival featuring tours, live music, and other family activities.
Architectural rendering of the lobby of the new Nelson Cultural Center.
Construction began in May of 2011.
Q: How do you get people excited about urban design?
A: Hold a video competition.
At least that's the answer that came to Architecture Minnesota magazine.
Last year Architecture Minnesota held the first annual "Videotect" competition, asking for people to submit short films on the topic of Minnesota's most controversial urban design element - skyways.
Last year's Videotect Grand Prize Winning entry
The competition, culminating in a live screening at the Walker Art Center of the most popular candidates, was a hit according to Architecture Minnesota editor Chris Hudson:
We knew that with a public video competition we wouldn't necessarily get highly prescriptive commentary, but we guessed--and guessed right--that what the entries lacked in analysis they would more than make up for in entertainment value. Bringing entertainment to urban design discussions is a pretty cool thing, in our eyes.
Honorable Mention and Viewers' Choice Finalist for the 2011 competition
Videotect is back this year for round two. This time the topic is "sustainable transportation and its enhancement through quality design" and each video has to be two minutes or less in length.
39 videos were submitted to this year's competition, predominantly from Minnesota, but also Oregon, Illinois, and New York, and from as far away as China, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Hudson ultimately sees Videotect becoming a popular international competition.
You can watch the videos, and vote for your favorites here.
One of this year's entries in the Videotect competition
Voting for the people's choice award runs through Friday, however tomorrow afternoon I'll be sitting down with fellow panel judges to pick our favorites. And trust me, it's not going to be easy!
This year there will be a screening of finalists on March 1 at the Walker Art Center, culminating in a vote for the popular choice winner. The creators of the winning videos will be awarded $2000 (for Grand Prize and Popular Choice) and $500 (for Honorable Mention) respectively.
Another entry in this year's Videotect competition
This week's hounds say you can't ignore a chance to tour a stunning 1915 'Prairie School' home in Minneapolis, a variety show guaranteed to fill you with mirth and merriment, and a special evening for show and tell-oriented nerds of the Duluthian variety.
(Want to be an Art Hound? Sign up!)
Interested in seeing how the holidays were celebrated in Minneapolis circa 1915? Hopkins Center for the Arts Director Amanda Birnstengel heartily recommends visiting the Purcell-Cutts House. Tours of this immaculately maintained Prairie School gem, which is owned by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, are conducted by docents dressed in period garb and focus on the holiday decorations, gift giving, and social traditions of the period. The tours take place every Saturday and Sunday through the holiday season.
Holiday-themed entertainment often triggered a gag reflex in improvisor Tane Danger, until he went to see "Spiked Too!" by Table Salt Productions at the Lowry Lab Theater in downtown St. Paul. Tane, founder of the "Theater of Public Policy," says the early '70s style variety show is stocked with talented musicians and funny performers who will help you give in to the spirit of the season. On stage through December 17.
Nerds, and Duluth theater artist and playright Jean Sramek counts herself among that crowd, have their own semi-regular special evening at Teatro Zuccone in Duluth. Jean says "Nerd Nite" turns the stage over to local nerds who want to share their vast knowledge of obscure subjects with other nerds and imbibe together. The next Nerd Nite is Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7:30pm.
And you can get an early sneak peek at the Art Hounds' picks every week by texting the word ART to 677-677.
Art Hounds is powered by the Public Insight Network.
Rendering of the new hall for the Ordway
Image courtesy of St. Paul's Artistic Partnership
The 1,100 seat hall will stand on the site currently occupied by the 300 seat McKnight Theater. HGA architect Tim Carl says the expansion respects the original Ordway design:
The new Concert Hall will have a physical and acoustical intimacy that will provide a visceral and direct connection between the audience and the artists on stage. Warm materials articulate and shape a beautiful hall with an acoustic environment that will envelop the listener with warmth and resonance. The Ordway's existing lobby dynamically frames views of Rice Park and the city beyond. New lobby space wraps the Concert Hall and continues the rhythmic beauty of the existing lobby windows and extends those views to Fifth Street and the Saint Paul Cathedral to the west.
The Arts Partnership consists of the Ordway, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and the Schubert Club. Ordway President Patricia Mitchell says the new hall will become home to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and allow more flexibility throughout the building.
Many more organizations will use the Ordway than currently can. Now we sit and hope the phone doesn't ring because there is no time in the hall for anybody to use it. That will happily change to everyone's advantage. It frees up time on the mainstage for the Opera, the Ordway's own programs, world music and dance can expand, and the concert hall becomes available to so many other music organizations in the Twin Cities.
Rendering of the Ordway's exterior once the expansion is complete
Image courtesy of St. Paul's Artistic Partnership
Of the more than $50 million raised so far, corporate and foundation funders have committed $19.1 million, individual funders have committed $13.475 million, the City of Saint Paul has committed $3 million and the State of Minnesota has committed $16 million in bonding funds.
If the Partnership can complete the rest of the fundraising in the next few months, construction is scheduled to begin next spring. However Mitchell says - due to the press of productions - if it takes longer to raise the money the next opportunity to break ground will be spring 2013.(1 Comments)
Last month Partners in Preservation announced the Basilica of St. Mary was the winning recipient of its grant challenge, awarding it $110,000 to repair and preserve its building.
This morning, Partners in Preservation announced the allocation of the remaining $1 million in grant money to historic and culturally significant sites across the Twin Cities.
Here are the results:
The Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis: $110,000 to repair the Narthex and the Sacristy of the Basilica, including the repair of decorative ceilings, limestone walls and damaged plaster and restoring the historic paint and gold leaf found throughout the structure.
Emerge Career and Technology Center, Minneapolis: $110,000 to restore the library's ornate interior, including surviving 1893 interior woodwork, flooring and plaster walls, along with its distinctive wood windows.
Waterford Iron Bridge, Waterford Township: $95,000 to remove and replace the cracked southeast wing wall.
American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis: $90,000 to restore the historic first floor kitchen, dry storage room and butler's pantry to their original condition.
Pilgrim Baptist Church, Saint Paul: $86,000 to repair heavily damaged sections of brick masonry on the exterior of the building.
Harriet Tubman Center East, Maplewood: $84,000 to update the Center's public restroom facilities at the first floor.
C.S.P.S. Sokol Hall, Saint Paul: $80,000 to install an air conditioning system in the second floor auditorium, which will allow the space to be used for public events year-round.
Historic Pilot Knob, Mendota Heights: $75,000 to bury existing power lines that currently disrupt the natural landscape.
The Soap Factory, Minneapolis: $70,000 toward the repair of the failing roof of the main building.
Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill, Saint Paul: $50,000 for brick masonry repair and the repair of the church's prominent concrete columns that define the main entrance of the church.
Fort Snelling Upper Post, Building 67, Hennepin County: $40,000 to restore the rare historic Seth Thomas/Hotchkiss model clock in the clock tower.
Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, Saint Paul: $30,000 to achieve the original architectural vision for the historic ramp with the installation of tower lights and new fencing that is in character with the 1937 structure.
Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery, Minneapolis: $20,000 toward the removal, cleaning, repair and reinstalling of the cemetery's historic fence.
In addition, the remaining 12 finalists, listed below, will each receive $5,000:
Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, Fridley
Chaska Athletic Field, Chaska
Episcopal Church of Transfiguration, Belle Plaine
Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul
Hennepin Center for the Arts, Minneapolis
James J. Hill House, Saint Paul
Landmark Center, Saint Paul
Mill Ruins Park, Minneapolis
Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis
Minnesota Transportation Museum, Saint Paul
Washington County Historic Courthouse, Stillwater
Wayzata Depot, Wayzata
Mayor R.T. Rybak and the Minneapolis City Council today approved the new design for the revitalization of Peavey Plaza.
View of Peavey Plaza looking south, summer
Artist rendering courtesy of Oslund & Associates
"The new, revitalized Peavey Plaza retains the most beloved aspects of the current Peavey Plaza and dramatically improves upon it," said Mayor R.T. Rybak. "We could not, and would not, build today the Peavey Plaza that we have loved for 40 years, but we are getting the best of both: we are honoring the modernist history of the original and making it safe, accessible and sustainable for the 21st century."
Last month a group of architects and preservationists - including the original architect of the plaza, M. Paul Friedberg - expressed concerns that too much was being lost in the renovation.
The new design calls for more efficient fountains and meets the American Disabilities Act requirements.
The $8-$10 million project is supported by $2 million in state bond funding, with the balance to come from private contributions that the Mayor and representatives of the Minnesota Orchestral Association have committed to raising. The City and the Minnesota Orchestra are collaborating in the revitalization of Peavey Plaza, which is adjacent to Orchestra Hall, in conjunction with the Orchestra's $50 million renovation of Orchestra Hall.
Groundbreaking is tentatively set for spring 2012 with a grand opening in summer 2013.
Editor's note: If you've been following this blog in the past two days, you know that there are architects and preservationists currently protesting the redesign process of Peavey Plaza. Here's the latest from MPR's Brandt Williams on today's unveiling of the proposed redesign.
A partial view of Peavey Plaza at it appears today in downtown Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Brandt Williams
Minneapolis city officials today unveiled the design for the renovation of Peavey Plaza. The 40-year-old plaza, which is adjacent to Orchestra Hall downtown, needs repairs and updates. Mayor RT Rybak says the new plaza will comply with laws that require accessibility and sustainability. He says the renovation will get rid of the steep stairways, and will feature a fountain that won't waste thousands of gallons of water.
We've learned that we can do fountains that are much shallower, that have the same impact, but are much more sustainable. Those of us who remember back during a drought about 15, or so years ago, when this was turned off, know that those droughts in the new world are going to happen more. So sustainability needs to be part of this work as well.
Peavey Plaza as it might appear, looking north, winter
Artist rendering courtesy of Oslund & Associates
Architect Tom Oslund says the new plaza fountain will be easy to drain, in order to make room for more seating for events.
The idea of a public plaza and how it is used, designed and programmed are far more sophisticated and complex today than they were when Peavey was conceived.
View of Peavey Plaza looking south, summer
Artist rendering courtesy of Oslund & Associates
The price tag for the renovation is estimated at between 8 and 10 million dollars. City officials say most of the money will come from private sources. An open house later today at Orchestra Hall will show the public the new design for the Peavey Plaza renovation.
Editor's note: There's been quite a bit of controversy over architect Frank Gehry's proposed design for a memorial for Dwight D. Eisenhower. As the architect of the newly re-opened Weisman Art Museum, I thought you might want to know what else he's up to. The below article comes from Brett Zongker of the Associated Press.
Renowned architect Frank Gehry explained his ambitious design for a future Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial to architecture colleagues Tuesday night, saying criticism of the
sweeping scale of his project honoring the 34th president has mostly been fair.
A rendering of Frank Gehry's proposed memorial for Dwight D. Eisenhower, as it was presented in March, 2010.
Image from Gehry Partners
Famous for his striking structures with undulating exteriors, Gehry said his design is evolving for his first project in Washington. He explained his concept to the editor of Architectural Record and others at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
The design draws on Eisenhower's homecoming speech after World War II when the war hero spoke of a barefoot boy from Kansas who went on to fame in Europe. The design would include large metal tapestries depicting trees, grain silos and "Ike's" home in Kansas. Those tapestries and huge columns designed to uphold them have drawn criticism from some quarters.
"The people are asking good questions," Gehry said of his concept. He added that the project is undergoing a complex but "very intelligent" approval process required for national memorials.
The memorial also would include a landscaped park with other features marking Eisenhower's presidency and war years. It would be built just off the National Mall among buildings linked to Eisenhower's legacy, including the National Air and Space Museum
and the U.S. Education Department.
Organizers hope to complete the memorial in 2015 at a cost of $90 million to $110 million.
Susan Eisenhower, the president's granddaughter, recently issued a statement to The Washington Post on behalf of her family, saying they have concerns about the "concept for the memorial, as well as the scope and scale." It did not note any specific objections.
"We feel that now is the time to get these elements right - before any final design approvals are given and before any ground is broken," the statement read.
Eisenhower's grandchildren have requested a meeting with Gehry and officials from the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. David Eisenhower, the president's grandson, is a member of the commission.
"We're clearly going to make them happy," Gehry told The Associated Press after his remarks Tuesday night.
The grandchildren may have a certain image of their grandfather that they want to share, he said.
Dan Feil, executive architect for the project, said the memorial group is arranging a meeting with the family.
"They need to be involved, and we're trying to do that," Feil said, adding that it won't necessarily affect the memorial's timeline.
The 80-foot-tall columns measuring 11 feet in diameter that would hold up the memorial's tapestries have been the main point of contention. One member of the National Capital Planning Commission called them "gargantuan."
Gehry's selection of Kansas imagery for the tapestries also has been questioned.
Architect John Hart, who represents Maryland on the commission, has said earlier that he didn't see enough of Eisenhower in the design. "I'm not seeing the celebration of the man ... in the depiction of a rural landscape," he said.
Gehry said Tuesday evening that his idea was to build a tapestry that tells a story as tapestries have been used in generations past. The architect said he traveled as far away as Japan to learn how to accomplish that. "And I didn't have a plan B," Gehry told
His goal, he said, is to capture the story of "Ike."
"He was a very modest guy - but tough," Gehry said. "And he did great things for this country. I didn't know it when he was president."
During the design competition for the memorial, Gehry began reading everything Eisenhower, and "I really got to know the guy," he said.
After leading the Allied forces in Europe in World War II, Eisenhower went back to Abilene, Kan., a place that he loved and that formed his character, Gehry added.
"He didn't beat his chest and say `I won the war,"' Gehry noted.
The design will evolve before a Dec. 1 meeting of the commission when organizers plan to seek preliminary approval of Gehry's design.
Gehry said he has already made changes from criticism he's heard. But he disagrees with those who believe he should focus more on war because Eisenhower would want it to be modest, not "overblown," Gehry said.
Another federal panel, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, has commented favorably on Gehry's design and supported the concept.
The memorial would follow a monument to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which on Sunday became the first memorial honoring a black leader to be dedicated on the National Mall. The Eisenhower Memorial would be the first to a president since the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial opened in 1997.
Posted at 4:12 PM on October 18, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
This afternoon I heard back from Krista Bergert with the City of Minneapolis. Bergert pulledl together these bullet points on the process surrounding the redesign of the downtown Minneapolis plaza:
CEC (Community Engagement Committee) members were shown design images in June. We did not give them copies of the images because they were still evolving. For that reason, we preferred that they not talk about the designs they've seen. They were not told they could not discuss the process.
Friedberg and Birnbaum are subconsultants to Oslund, not the City. My understanding is that Oslund did consult with them, but at a point, Friedberg and Birnbaum said they were not in favor of pursuing a new option for Peavey Plaza. Because of their viewpoint, they were not consulted beyond that.
The City and Orchestra have held two open houses to date to ask for public comments on the design of the plaza, and we received many. In June the CEC was shown four design schemes, a preservation scheme, a hybrid option and two new schemes. We received comments on all the schemes. Subsequent to that meeting, the Review Committee limited the options to preservation or new design. On August 23, the Review Committee voted to go with a new design option.
We never told the CEC that a preservation option would be twice as expensive. In fact, we said that it would cost $11-12 million while the new scheme would be $8-10 million.
Landscape architect will be responsible for the preparation of cost estimates for alternative concepts. The MOA and City will work together to determine the best alternative based on the limited funds available for the project.
Again, a public open house is planned for Wednesday, October 19, from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. in the MN Orchestra Hall lobby to review the design being recommended by the city and the orchestra.
What started out as a seemingly very open discussion about the future of Minneapolis' historic Peavey Plaza is now being accused of just the opposite.
Peavey Plaza was named a "marvel of modernism" by the Cultural Landscape Foundation in 2008. Now architects and preservationists are concerned a redesign will eliminate key features.
A group of landscape architects and preservationists are now expressing their dismay at how those involved - namely the city administration and the Minnesota Orchestra - have denied key people access to the redesign process. That includes two-thirds of its own redesign team, Charles Birnbaum and the original architect of the plaza, M. Paul Friedberg.
The coalition released a statement today listing its concerns - here are a couple of key excerpts:
...Sadly, the City and the Minnesota Orchestral Association have subverted the process of planning its revitalization. What was initially portrayed at the project's onset as an open process, and included a public interview of the four finalist consulting teams at the Minneapolis Convention Center chaired by Mayor RT Rybak, is now a closed‐door process and guided by factors uninfluenced by public input.
...On October 12, 2011, CEC members were given a preview of the single option
developed for revitalizing Peavey, an option that removes the signature and defining elements. Setting aside the merits of the proposed re‐design, which some of our signatories have previewed, we are concerned that the design decision‐making process has not been transparent. The public was assured that several design schemes would be developed, and yet only one is being presented to citizens; meanwhile, the Minneapolis City Council is scheduled to take action to approve the redesign next week.
The project has $2 million in state funding, so the public should be given a greater role in determining the Plaza's future. CEC members were told that rehabilitating the existing plaza would be more than twice as expensive as the proposed new design, and that prospective funders (yet unidentified) are unwilling to support a rehabilitation scheme. However, thorough cost analyses have not been presented for either scheme. How did we get to this point?
We call on the Mayor, the City Council, and the Plaza's principal neighbor, the Minnesota Orchestra, to honor the right of citizens to effectively participate in the design decision‐making process. To do otherwise would diminish Peavey Plaza's once and future role as the heart of downtown Minneapolis.
I've got a call in to the City of Minneapolis for a response the allegations made above, and will post it as soon as I get it.
Update (1:56pm): Krista Bergert at the City of Minneapolis says they've only just received the statement themselves, and there's no one currently available to respond.
As for the Minnesota Orchestra, PR Director Gwen Pappas says "We're supporting the city. We've seen the design, and we like the design."
A public open house is planned for Wednesday, October 19, from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. in the MN Orchestra Hall lobby to review the design being recommended by the city and the orchestra.
After three weeks of public voting, the Basilica of Saint Mary has been named victorious in a bid for $100,000 to help preserve and maintain its historic building.
MPR Photo/Tom Weber
Partners in Preservation, a joint project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, is giving out a total of $15.5 million over ten years, focusing on a different community each year.
This year the focus is on preserving buildings in the Twin Cities. Twenty-five historic sites were named as finalists for the $100,000 grant, and the voting public got to pick the winner.
Officials with the Basilica say the funds will be used to make repairs to the Narthex and the Sacristy of the Basilica, including the repair of these rooms' decorative ceilings, limestone walls and damaged plaster while also restoring the historic paint and gold leaf found throughout the structure.
A total of $900,000 in additional grants will be awarded on November 9th to a number of the other Twin Cities participating sites, after review by American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the advisory committee comprised of Twin Cities area civic and preservation leaders, co-chaired by Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and Mayor Chris Coleman of St. Paul.
The other participating sites are listed below:
• American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
• Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, Fridley
• Chaska Athletic Park, Chaska
• Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill, Saint Paul
• C.S.P.S. Sokol Hall, Saint Paul
• Emerge Career and Technology Center (Old North Branch Library), Minneapolis
• Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Belle Plaine
• Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul
• Fort Snelling Upper Post, Building 67, Unincorporated Hennepin County
• Harriet Tubman Center East (Former Saint Paul's Monastery), Minneapolis
• Hennepin Center for the Arts, Minneapolis
• Historic Pilot Knob, Mendota Heights
• James J. Hill House, Saint Paul
• Landmark Center, Saint Paul
• Mill Ruins Park, Minneapolis
• Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis
• Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, Saint Paul
• Minnesota Transportation Museum (Jackson Street Roundhouse), Saint Paul
• Pilgrim Baptist Church, Saint Paul
• Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery, Minneapolis
• The Soap Factory, Minneapolis
• Washington County Historic Courthouse, Stillwater
• Waterford Iron Bridge, Waterford Township
• Wayzata Depot, Wayzata
Weisman Art Museum
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson
Gehry designed both the original museum and the expansion, a rare occurrence in the architecture world.
MPR's Euan Kerr spoke with Gehry, who explained his original inspiration for the Weisman design:
Some observers claim the building's famed asymmetrical facade was inspired by reflection on the waters of the Mississippi River below it. But Gehry said his inspiration came from elsewhere.
"The first inspiration came from the Tibetan monasteries that are on hills, where the big frontal elevation is off the side of a cliff," he said. "That was really the building type that came to mind when I looked at that facade on the river."
Gehry said he originally had intended for a duller finish on the exterior of the building, but then he visited the site with his son on his way to a hockey camp.
"There were samples of the shiny metal and the duller metal, and he said, 'Which one are you going to use?'" Gehry recalled. "And I said, 'I'd like to use the shiny one but it might be too much in their face.' And he said 'Poppa, you gotta do it!'"
The Weisman was the first museum Gehry designed in its entirety, and was the testing ground for ideas he used later in the better known Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
There you have it.(1 Comments)
Closed a year ago for expansion, the Weisman Art Museum is now ready to throw open its doors to the public.
Weisman Art Museum's new galleries
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson
The newly expanded University of Minnesota museum features twice as much gallery space, and a new studio designed to house creative collaborations.
Both the original museum and the expansion were designed by internationally reknowned architect Frank Gehry. MPR's Euan Kerr spoke to museum director Lyndel King, who said it couldn't be any other way:
"We knew we had to go back to Frank, because the building is like a work of art," she says. "I mean we consider it a piece in our collection."
To do anything else, King says, would be like asking a sculptor to alter someone else's work.
The Weisman was the first museum Gehry designed from scratch. His later [works], the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Experience Music Project in Seattle got a lot more attention. But King is OK with that.
"We are the Baby Bilbao," she said. "We like to say we taught Frank everything he knows about designing museums."
This weekend the Weisman will celebrate its re-opening with a gala event on Saturday (sold out) and a public party on Sunday, featuring music, dance, and printmaking.
Hennepin Avenue is going to be getting a makeover, and the National Endowment for the Arts wants to make sure it's a good one.
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman will be in town this Friday for a roundtable discussion that includes Mayor R.T. Rybak and other city leaders, and will be moderated by Tom Fisher, Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. The topic is "Creative Placemaking."
Hennepin Avenue at night
Image: wikimedia commons
Minnesota economist Ann Markusen defines creative placemaking this way:
In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.
In the case of Hennepin Avenue, there is talk of creating a "cultural corridor" that leads from the Walker Art Center's sculpture garden all the way through downtown to the river.
The event is hosted by the Hennepin Theatre Trust (the owners of several theaters along Hennepin Ave), which received an Our Town grant from the NEA to lead the planning process for revitalizing the main artery in downtown Minneapolis.
The roundtable discussion takes place from 1:30 - 3pm on Friday at Minneapolis Central Library's Pohlad Hall.
So I returned to work yesterday after taking a nice late summer vacation in Door County, Wisconsin.
Quilt pattern: "North Star"
Located on the Olson Farm on the County Highway in Sturgeon Bay
Image courtesy Door County Barn Quilts
It turns out, this is the second year of the Door County Barn Quilts Project, which is simultaneously celebrating the area's agricultural, architectural and quilting heritage.
Quilt pattern: "Flying Geese"
Located on the Smith's barn on Highway 42 in Sturgeon Bay
Image courtesy Door County Barn Quilts
Barn quilts, according to the project's website, are "large, colorful, painted wooden quilt blocks that range in size from 6' to 8' square."
Quilt pattern: "Crazy Quilt"
Located on the Lasee Farm on Hwy 57, Sturgeon Bay
Image courtesy Door County Barn Quilts
The patterns were selected by the barn owners, then painted by 4-H members and other volunteers. According to coordinator Pam Peterson, volunteers are getting started on a second round of painting and will soon be adding another dozen quilts to the current 24.
Art is everywhere!(1 Comments)
Today I had the pleasure of sitting in the host chair on Midday.
It was a particular pleasure because I got to spend the first hour talking with architectural historian Larry Millett about some amazing buildings.
Charles G. Gates' palatial home stood for only 19 years on Lake of the Isles Parkway in Minneapolis before it fell victim to its own lavishness.
Image courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society
Millett is the author of several books on Twin Cities' architecture; his newest book "Once There Were Castles" profiles 90 mansions and estates that have been lost to history.
One of the interesting facts gleened from the conversation: many of these mansions were "too big to survive" - once the owner died, there was no one around willing to take over the cost of upkeep.
You can listen to the entire hour by clicking on the audio link below:
Today's nomination for the Celebrating Minnesota Architecture series takes us to Owatonna, and comes from one of the world's leading architects.
National Farmers' Bank of Owatonna
Image courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
Not long after I started this series, I recalled an interview I did with architect Cesar Pelli on Midmorning back in 2006. He was in town for the opening of the Minneapolis Central Library, which he designed. But while we were on the air he raved about another architect's work - the National Farmer's Bank in Owatonna, designed by Louis Sullivan:
Louis Sullivan's bank in Owatonna is one of the great buildings in the world. It's a great jewel - the proportions, the forms, the materials are all so exquisitely well used. It's a joy to see it, to be in its space.
Well, that sounds like a nomination to me! Here's what the Minnesota Historical Society has to say about the building:
Location: 101 N. Cedar St., Owatonna, Steele County Built: 1908 Architect: Louis Sullivan and George Elmslie Listed on NRHP: August 26, 1971
One of the first American architects to break free from the influence of classical revival styles, Louis Sullivan completed a series of eight banks in small Midwest towns during the last years of his career. The National Farmers' Bank of Owatonna is arguably the best. Sullivan, known for a "form follows function" philosophy epitomized in his prototype skyscraper designs, applied those principles to the smaller scale of the Prairie School bank's still-monumental form.
Sullivan designed the bank to resemble a jeweled strongbox, giving depositors a sense of security. The building is bathed in a symphony of color, as Sullivan described it. Green and brown terra cotta panels and blue and gold glass mosaic bands contrast with the reddish brick walls and the red sandstone base that anchors the bank to its site. Elegantly arched stained-glass windows are mirrored on the interior by murals of dairy and harvest scenes painted by Chicago artist Oskar Gross. The lavish organic ornamentation, designed largely by Sullivan's partner George Elmslie, carries through all interior elements, from 18-foot-tall light fixtures down to the tellers' window grills.
National Farmers' Bank of Owatonna interior cast iron electrolier, 2001
Image courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
Have a building you'd like to nominate to the Celebrating Minnesota Architecture series? Send a photo or two, along with your explanation of why you like the building, to email@example.com.(1 Comments)
Gran Hotel Ciudad de México, Mexico City (Image courtesy BBC)
The BBC travel folks are encouraging people to look up. They have create this online-gallery of the great ceilings of the world.
We have some pretty impressive inner roofs here in Minnesota. What would be your nomination for the best ceiling in Minnesota?(3 Comments)
Today's nomination is an ode to the movie palaces of the 1930s and '40s.
The NorShor Theater in Duluth
Photo courtesy of Robb Mitchell
Robb Mitchell of St. Paul brings us this nomination:
THE VARSITY, UPTOWN, AND NORSHOR THEATERS: Buildings by Liebenberg and Kaplan
Architecture goes through cycles of life and vitality while remaining the cornerstones of neighborhoods and this risk cycle is particularly true of the neighborhood movie palaces. The architecture partnership of Jacob K. Liebenberg and Seeman Kaplan were known for their designs for movie houses/theaters that brought wide acclaim. At the beginning of their careers, Liebenberg and Kaplan embodied of the most eclectic elements of the 1920s and the newer Streamlined and Zigzag Art Deco motifs of the 1930s. During their careers, they designed over 200 movie houses theaters throughout the Midwest. In the Twin Cities alone, Libenberg and Kaplan were responsible for the Granada (Suburban World, 1927-28), the Wayzata (1932), the Edina (1934), the Hollywood (1935), the Uptown (1937), Hutchinson's The State (1937), the Varsity (1938), Duluth's NorShor (1941) and others no longer standing. Often through the cycle of rebirth and renewal we through out gems from our past in favor of the new only to later cringe at our neglect of past palaces.
Preservation is about the art of reversing neglect and ignoring the thrill of current trends.
I found this additional information on the NorShor Theater at its website:
July 11, 1941 NorShor Theatre opens as an Art Deco movie venue. Minneapolis-based architects Jacob J. Liebenberg and Seeman Kaplan design the remodel to include the old Orpheum in its construction, with a new entrance on Superior Street. They reverse the layout of the original theater and add a marquee that includes a 64-foot-high tower, completely sheathed in porcelain, incorporating 3,000 lights. It is said to be visible from 60 miles away. The theater's Arrowhead Lounge milk bar features a mural of dairy and farm life by Gustaf Krollman of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The opening movie is Caught in the Draft, starring Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.
Here's that milk bar:
NorShor Theater's milk bar
Image courtesy the NorShor Theater
Many thanks to Robb Mitchell for his nomination. Do you have a building - or series of buildings - you'd like to nominate? Send a photo or two, along with your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's nomination for the Celebrating Minnesota Architecture series takes us to Mahnomen County in Northwest Minnesota.
Mahnomen County Fairgrounds
Comet Bowen sent me a brief note submitting the WPA-era buildings of Mahnomen County for the series, including the county fairgrounds and the city hall. While I couldn't find any information on the city hall, here's what the Minnesota Historical Society has to say about the fairgrounds:
Architect: George H. Carter
First held in Minnesota in the mid-1850s, agricultural fairs provided a gathering spot for the state's farming communities. The harvest celebrations served as social events, educational forums and business opportunities. Fair exhibits featured modern farming techniques and current agricultural research, while livestock and horticultural displays allowed farmers to compare their products. Amusement areas, including rides, games and sideshows, kept fairgoers entertained. The fairs also provided a forum for fund-raising and political discussion of farming issues.
The Mahnomen County Fairgrounds, built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936, has retained five of its original wood-frame buildings, along with an entrance gate and ticket office of indigenous stone. The largest building and focal point of the fairgrounds is the Livestock Pavilion, a hipped-roof, wood-frame building in three sections connected by covered walkways. All contributing buildings on the grounds exhibit architectural characteristics promoted by the WPA, particularly high-quality craftsmanship.
Thanks to Comet Bowen for the nomination. Have you got a building you'd like to submit to the series? Send a photo or two, along with an explanation of why the building appeals to you, to email@example.com.
Leonard Parker, known for his work designing the Humphrey School and the Mondale Law school at the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Convention Center and the original Minnesota Public Radio building died Sunday at age 90.
Parker whose parents were travelling across Poland in a wagon when he was born, moved to Milwaukee as a boy. After a stint in the army in World War II, during which he took part in the liberation of the Dachau death camp, he returned to the US and ended up going to School at the University of Minnesota architecture school.
After getting a masters in architecture at MIT he joined modernist Eero Saarinen's firm, and worked on two of his significant US projects, the St Louis Gateway Arch and Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis. Following Saarinen's death he formed The Leonard Parker Associates in 1958.
The list of his projects is significant: Minnesota Public Radio (1979), the Mondale Law School at the University of Minnesota (with one of the earliest green roofs in Minnesota 1978), the Humphrey Center (1988), the Minneapolis Convention Center (1989 & 2002), an addition to the Minneapolis Institute of Art with Kenzo Tange (1974), the Minnesota Judicial Center (1998), the Totino Fine Arts Northwestern College (1974), the South Korea Embassy in Ottawa (1996), and the US Embassy in Santiago Chile (1994).
Parker also taught at the University of Minnesota for many years, and many of his students have gone on to have significant careers themselves.
Services for Leonard Parker will be held at Temple Israel in Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon.
You can listen to Marianne Comb's 2005 interview with Leonard Parker in the second part of a Voices of Minnesota program posted here.
Sometimes it's not just the architecture that draws us to a building, but the childhood memories it evokes.
Cream of Wheat, Minneapolis
Photo by Stuart Klipper
Such was the case for photographer Stuart Klipper. Here's his nomination:
I moved to Minneapolis from NYC nearly 41 years to the date.
I quickly began exploring. I wanted to get a handle on the place I had plopped myself down in. An early and exultant discovery was the Cream of Wheat HQ on Stinson Blvd. in one of the industrial quadrants of the city I was drawn to.
From the moment I laid mine eyes on it, I've claimed it to be my favorite building in the known universe. Florid phrasing; but really not hyperbole.
It was archetypal! It bore a cast of purity and authenticity. It was a plainspoken and forthright structure. It was heraldic of American enterprise, and ideals. Standing apart and four-square, flag gloriously rampant at the apex of its tower, I marveled at its bearing and presence.
Across its façade, the name of a favorite cereal of childhood. Yum! I still can sing its advertising jingle.
I am a photographer and have perennially returned to the building and its immediate surrounds to make pictures of it again and again.
Here's what else I was able to find out about the website on the City of Minneapolis website:
The Cream of Wheat Company exemplifies the business spawned in the late nineteenth century by the Midwest's flourishing agricultural economy. Drawn to Minneapolis by the region's dominance in the grain-milling industry, the fledgling company grew to become a major player in the hot cereal market. A symbol of the company's success was its 1927-28 corporate headquarters and factory at 730 Stinson Boulevard. The Cream of Wheat Building, with its prominent corner tower, is of architectural interest as well. Featuring a classic 1920s design that seamlessly incorporates office and factory uses, the building is further enhanced by its setback from Stinson Boulevard and the landscaped yards that surround it on three sides. The noteworthy design by engineer Walter H. Wheeler served the Cream of Wheat Company for several decades until Kraft Foods purchased the company and relocated it in 2002.Now you can actually live in the old Cream of Wheat Company building - it's been converted into "CW Lofts."
Thanks to Stuart Klipper for his nomination. Have a building you admire, that you'd like to share? Send a photo or two along with your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's selection for our Celebrating Minnesota Architecture series seems both modern and timeless as it approaches its 50th anniversary.
St. John's Abbey Church
Image courtesy of Chris Hudson
Chris Hudson, who has quite a bit of experience with architecture, brings us this nomination:
As the editor of Architecture Minnesota magazine, I've had the good fortune of seeing a great many Minnesota landmarks up close, and far and away the one that's made the deepest impression on me is Marcel Breuer's Abbey Church at St. John's. Not a surprising choice, I know. This image by photographer Paul Crosby captures both the breathtaking volume of the interior and how that monumentality somehow becomes intimate with the rich texture and patterns of the board-formed concrete. I could sit in this church for days.
St. John's celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Abbey Church's dedication this fall. On the one hand, it's hard to believe anything so thoroughly modern could be a half-century old. On the other, this landmark has the air of timelessness, of something much older.
The St. John's website has this to add:
The Saint John's Abbey and University Church was designed by the Hungarian architect and former member of the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer (1902-1981). Mr. Breuer joined Walter Gropius at Harvard in 1937 and worked there as an associate professor until 1946. On his own in New York, Breuer saw a practice that had been essentially residential finally expand into institutional buildings with the UNESCO Headquarters commission in Paris in 1952.
In December 1950, Abbot Baldwin Dworschak, OSB, newly elected sixth abbot of Saint John's, made a bold and visionary decision resulting in what one art historian has called "a milestone in the evolution of the architecture of the Catholic Church in this country." He contacted twelve prestigious architects -- among them was Marcel Breuer. Abbot Baldwin asked the architects to submit a comprehensive building design for the second century of Saint John's.
As part of his specifications, Abbot Baldwin required a design for "building a church which will be truly an architectural monument to the service of God." He explained, "The Benedictine tradition at its best challenges us to think boldly and to cast our ideals in forms which will be valid for centuries to come...."
The monks of Saint John's Abbey chose Marcel Breuer. On January 28, 1954, he brought the drawings, models and books for the comprehensive 100-year plan before a meeting of the monastic community. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that building an addition to the monastic quarters would begin in the spring of 1954 and a church would follow. Construction of the church lasted from May 19, 1958, to August 24, 1961.
Today's nomination is for a family farm built in the 1940s in the Bloomington area, but like many family farms, was removed to make way for a housing development.
All images courtesy Gordon Frederickson
Gordon Frederickson has this nomination for his family's farm:
I like the architecture in Minnesota that came from the needs of regular people who built things quickly to survive. Maybe it's the difference between "great architecture in Minnesota" designed by architects and "great Minnesota architecture" built by regular people.
Attached are my submissions for your request of Minnesota Architecture. The pictures were taken by my wife, Nancy, and are of my parents' barn and silo. The barn was built from used lumber that came from buildings torn down in the Bloomington area about 1940. Field stones were used for part of the basement built on to a wall of stone left from an old horse barn built into the hillside about 1900. The rafters extended to the basement wall giving the barn no wooden sides. The cows were kept in the basement and they could walk out onto ground level on the south end of the barn. The barn was nice and cozy in the winter because the north and west walls were built into the hillside. The silo was built without a roof because it was cheaper.
The barn was not designed by an architect but by my grandfather, William Fredrickson, who had built several houses in Elko, MN and one on his nearby farm. I think the design of the barn was influenced by whatever used lumber was available. My uncle, Ted Cervenka, was the main carpenter and my father, Gordon H. Fredrickson worked on it too. Dad and I built the silo room addition on the south side from scrap lumber about 1958.
Like so many of these structures across rural Minnesota, these are no longer standing. The farm was too small and the buildings not valuable enough to be preserved so everything was removed to make way for a housing development. But I have preserved this great Minnesota architecture heritage through my published books of a farm family in 1950 on a farm that looks very much like this farm that I grew up on.
Many thanks to Gordon Frederickson for his nomination, and for pointing out the beauty of architecture that serves its purpose well.
Have a building you'd like to nominate for our Celebrating Minnesota Architecture series? Send a photo or two along with an explanation of why you're nominating it, to email@example.com.
Kristina Erickson of Herman brings us today's nomination for our Celebrating Minnesota Architecture series. It's a building that people in her home town wanted so badly, they were willing to steal for it, but alas, it stands in Elbow Lake.
Grant County Courthouse
Photo: Calvin Beale
Here's Erickson's nomination for the Grant County Courthouse.
The Grant County courthouse is a grand structure that sits on a hill overlooking Elbow Lake and it's the first thing you see when you turn into town from the south. Being a resident of Herman I must bring up the rather tumultuous past of the recognized seat of Grant County. At the time Herman was a far bigger town and many thought it should be the county seat - disagreement ensued and in the end residents from Herman rigged an election and made off with the court records in the dark of night. At the turn of the 20th century the current structure was built and is still in use today. The high ceilings and cool, echoing halls give one a sense of the past and occasion to remember those who have passed through the doors and the events that the courthouse has overlooked throughout its years.
Indeed, this USDA research site includes the following story about the battle for the county seat between Herman and Pomme de Terre Village:
Although Grant County was formed in 1871, it was not officially established until 1873 when the governor appointed three commissioners to organize the county. These three were Henry Sanford, K. N. Melby, and S.S. Frogner. Their first task was to choose a county seat and elect officers. The only two settlements that amounted to anything at that time were Herman (which already had rail service) in the southwestern part of the county and Pomme de Terre in the northeast. Mr. Frogner wanted Herman to be the county seat; Mr. Melby wanted Pomme de Terre. Mr. Sanford, caught in the middle, privately suggested to Mr. Frogner that a neutral site should be chosen and that it would then be easier to get the county seat moved to Herman at a later date. At least it wouldn't be in Pomme de Terre.
The men chose Elbow Lake as the county seat. It was located next to Sanford's land, nearer to the center of the county than either of the other two choices. It was not until 1878 that a courthouse was even built. Elbow Lake remains the county seat although it was not without a fight. In 1881 Herman was able to get the state legislature to name Herman the county seat if residents of the county voted in its favor. In a special election, it appeared that Herman had won. Although the voting was being appealed, a group from Herman raided the courthouse in Elbow Lake and took all the records to Herman. A courthouse was quickly built there. When an investigation found out that a number of ineligible votes had been cast in the Herman area and that the votes of one of the northeastern townships had not been counted at all, the final vote was overturned and Elbow Lake was again declared the county seat. A number of men from the Elbow Lake area in turn raided the Herman courthouse one night, returning all the records to Elbow Lake.
The present court house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1906.
Thanks to Kristina Erickson for her nomination. Got a building in your neighborhood or town that you think is worth celebrating? Send along a photo and your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This downtown Minneapolis abode is something Dumbledore would feel right at home in.
Image courtesy Curt Lund
Today's nomination for our Celebrating Minnesota Architecture series is a bit of a magic-themed mystery [Editor's note: not anymore! See below]. Who built it? Who lives there? Curt Lund doesn't know, but the exterior of the building intrigues him:
For a little over four years, I've worked at Minnesota Center for Book Arts, located near the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis in the Open Book building. And for all those four years, I've walked by this amazing and mysterious fortress, between Open Book and the Metrodome. Turrets, stained glass windows, a walled garden, medieval flags flying -- it looks like a chunk of Ren-Fest dropped into our little corner of downtown. This house has affectionately come to be known as "the Wizard Jail", because of this: an honest-to-goodness wizard (sculpture), breaking out of a barred second-story window. What in the world is this place? The mystery remains -- mainly because I've never worked up the courage to simply go knock on the door and ask!
The "Wizard's Jail"
Image courtesy Curt Lund
Update: Thanks to our dear smart State of the Arts readers, and an article in Twin Cities Metro, we now know much more about the house.
Built in 1911 as a blacksmith shop, musician Jeff Arundel bought the house from Sage and John Cowles (of Cowles Center for Dance), who used the space as a yoga studio/philanthropic office and abode.
That's when he put metalworker Paul Tierney to work converting the space into a home for wizards.
The home is now for sale - for a cool $3.5 million.
You can see many more detailed shots of the home at Paul Tierney's website.
Have a submission of your own for the Minnesota Architecture series? Send a photo or two along with your nomination to email@example.com.(4 Comments)
Today's nomination comes from Lake Park, Minnesota, east of Moorhead.
Eksjo Lutheran Church
Image courtesy of Becky Mitchell
Here's Becky Mitchell's nomination for Eksjo Luthern Church:
As a young child growing up in Moorhead, MN I spent many weekends traveling to Detroit Lakes. My parents were both from DL and my grandparents lived there. That beautiful church on Highway 10 in the countryside between Hawley and Lake Park had so many meanings over the years. When I was real young it meant we were almost to grandma's house! As a teenager I have memories of pulling into the lot with a broken down car waiting for help, wondering how many people could possibly go there or why one would travel "to the middle of nowhere" to attend church. After all it wasn't in a big city like Moorhead where church was just a few blocks from your house.
Fast forward many years. I left the Fargo Moorhead area in the late 90's and moved to Ohio. When my family decided to come home to Minnesota, for many reasons we settled in the lakes country. My lakes years were spent in the Cormorant area, we had family here and that is where we wanted to be. Walking into Eksjo Lutheran Church for the first time as an adult with a family, I quickly learned that this church was so much more than a beautiful church on the side of Highway 10 (and of course is very much not in the "middle of nowhere"). There is great pride taken in the Swedish heritage of the church and many spend countless hours working to keep it beautiful and prominent in our community. It is one large family where people gather to celebrate, to mourn, to worship, but most importantly to support each other. It is a place one can go to for friendship, fellowship and it doesn't matter if you attend weekly or yearly, you always have a home at Eksjo.
The church's website has this to add about its history:
On October 16, 1871 seven families, one young woman and ten young men met at the home of O.B. Anderson and adopted a constitution forming "The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Eksjo" (Oak Lake). ...For the first five years families took turns hosting worship services in their homes. In 1878 the first church was built. It's dimensions were 24 feet wide, 30 feet long and 12 feet high. At that time our congregation numbered 100 confirmed members and 150 children, and was being served by our first resident pastor, J.P. Mattson. In 1879 a decision was made to build a parsonage just west of the church. In 1884 the congregation voted to share a pastor with the newly-formed Strandvik congregation, and in 1885 the two congregations called P.P. Hedenstrom. At this time the church building was enlarged to accommodate the growing congregation. It's length was extended by 10 feet, and 14-foot balcony was built. Currently, Eksjo Lutheran Church is a member of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) . It is a part of the Gloria Dei Parish made up of Houglum Lutheran Church, Strandvik Lutheran Church and Eksjo. More then 400 souls are buried in the Eksjo Lutheran Church cemetery.
Many thanks to Becky Mitchell for her nomination. Do you have a building in your community that you particularly admire? Send a photo, along with a paragraph or two explaining why, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not many people can claim to love the building they work in, but Cindi Beth Johnson can.
Photo credit: Sieger/Dolan
Here's Johnson's nomination:
Over the last seven years it has been a setting for the gifts of performing artists including Jearlyn Steele, Kevin Kling, Peter Mayer and Sandra Benitez. It has been a place for profound worship services led by students, faculty, and guest preachers. It has been a place for interfaith worship, weddings, memorials, and community presentations by speakers including Walter Mondale, Marcus Borg and Winona LaDuke.
It has been a respite for the weary and a place of engagement for those who come with questions about faith and meaning. The architectural space is a profound statement of God's presence and mystery in the world made manifest in wood, stone and glass.
The HGA website has this description of the building:
Clad in textured precast stone and infused with warm interior light, the 5,300-square-foot Bigelow Chapel has become the architectural focus of the United Theological Seminary's multi-denominational campus. The chapel sits horizontally on its site. A 42-foot-high bell tower marks the south end. A glass curtain wall defines the western façade. Inside the sanctuary, the translucent maple panels radiate warmth while the curving wood frame wraps visitors in a gentle embrace to create an intimate environment. The interior/exterior glass fins further diffuse light from the curtain wall and skylights, introducing a weightless quality.
Many thanks to Cindi Beth Johnson for her nomination. Do you have a building you'd like to nominate to the Minnesota Architecture series? Send a photo or two, along with a paragraph on why you admire it, to email@example.com.
Today's nomination for the Minnesota Architecture series actually brings together two buildings in one photograph. Look closely; at first the image may appear to be an abstract painting, but it's not.
Gold Medal Flour
Photograph by Todd Donery
Here's photographer Todd Donery's nomination:
This is a photograph I took last fall of the Gold Medal Flour building reflected into Jean Nouvel's Guthrie Theater. My wife and I held our wedding at the Guthrie last July, so it is a special place to us both. The mill area of downtown Minneapolis was a mysterious playground of my youth. I felt a sadness at it's decay through the years and now to see a revitalization in the area brings me much joy.
I love the juxtaposition of old and new in Donery's photograph. FYI, the Gold Medal Flour sign sits atop the grain elevators of the Washburn A Mill Complex. Here's what the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota has to say about the complex:
Built in 1878, the Washburn "A" Mill housed a thriving flour-milling business until the Great Depression. The building sat vacant along the Minneapolis riverfront for six decades until it was nearly destroyed by fire in 1991. Today it stands as a remarkable adaptive reuse as home to the Mill City Museum, which provides hands-on experiences and an interpretive center focused on the city's milling and lumber industries. The architectural firm of Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Ltd. designed the project for the Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Center and is an office tenant in the complex. Today the neighborhood surrounding the "A" Mill is a burgeoning center for the arts and residential development.
Thanks to Todd Donery for his nomination. Do you have a beloved Minnesota building you'd like to nominate? Just send along a photo with a few lines explaining why you like it so much to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $200k to Hennepin Theatre Trust to revitalize vacant private and public spaces along Minneapolis' main thoroughfare, Hennepin Avenue.
According to a news release Hennepin Theatre Trust, along with the Walker Art Center, the Cowles Dance Center and Artspace, will use the grant to "begin the planning process to re-invent Hennepin Avenue as an arts-inspired cultural corridor stretching from the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to the Mississippi Riverfront."
Hennepin Theatre Trust runs the Orpheum, State and Pantages theaters, all located on Hennepin Avenue. In addition to the Walker Art Center and the Cowles Dance Center, other cultural stops along the the avenue include Burnet Gallery and the Minneapolis Central Library (designed by Cesar Pelli).
When people look back at their high school years, not many are thinking about the architecture. But not so for Lynn Falk who, like Robert Zimmerman before her, attended Hibbing High School.
Hibbing High School
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Lynn Falk provides us with today's Minnesota Architecture nomination; here's why she choose her alma mater:
Beyond the beauty of the auditorium and the library, the main entrance has a marble staircase and pillars and additional murals painted on the walls. Being in the high school band, we traveled around the state performing at different schools, and even as a teen, I was able to see how fortunate I was to be able to go to school in a museum. The sad part for me was when they tore down the football field to construct the band and fitness facility. The auditorium has doors on the south side that opened up into the bleachers. All I can say about the auditorium is wow. It is worth the trip to Hibbing to see the beauty of the high school.
Hibbing High School Auditorium
Image courtesy Iron Range Tourism Bureau
A grand staircase leads to the medieval castle-like framework of the historic school, built in the early 1920's for almost $4 million.
Unique hand-molded ceilings in the foyer welcome visitors and accent the breathtaking auditorium designed after the Capitol Theatre in New York City. Cut-glass chandeliers of crystal, imported from Belgium, light the 1800-velvet seat grand auditorium. The cost of each chandelier in 1920 was $15,000 and today they are insured for $250,000 each. The auditorium boasts a magnificent Barton pipe organ, one of only two that still exist in the United States. Containing over 1900 pipes, the organ can play any orchestra instrument except the violin.
Postcard depicting aerial view of Hibbing High School, circa 1940
Image courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society
Hibbing High School was promised to be a "Castle in the Woods" to promote the relocation of the town from North Hibbing. It was funded in large part by mining companies; it was the growth of the mining industry that forced the town to move in the first place.
Interested in nominating a building for the Minnesota Architecture series? Just send a photo with a few lines explaining why you like it to email@example.com.
Today's selection for our series celebrating Minnesota Architecture is a building complex that has typically drawn strong emotions, both positive and negative.
Christian Novak nominates Riverside Plaza, the apartment buildings designed by Ralph Rapson in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Currently the complex is undergoing a $65 million renovation.
I only know a little about the design and architecture. What I love about Riverside Plaza most; it's this "brutalist", intriguing, colorful depiction of Le Corbusier's ideas, providing us with an unadulterated glimpse of Minneapolis. I love the juxtaposition that it was nationally known as the TV "home" to America's sweetheart, Mary Richards (aka Mary Tyler Moore), yet locally, the "crack stacks" as we so lovingly called them, were vital in renaming Minneapolis, Murderopolis. Now it has taken on a new role in the Twin Cities as a cultural hotspot to dozens of ethnicities, languages, and beliefs. It's a housing development that I see everyday. I am excited to know that Ralph Rapson's best work is being revitalized to depict the new tenants. It will be great to see the colors once again pop against the harsh poured concrete.
Thanks to Christian Novak for his nomination. Do you have a building in your town or neighborhood that you particularly admire? Send a photo along with a few lines on why you want to share it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll add it to the series.
Today's nomination for our series celebrating Minnesota architecture was actually constructed in Wisconsin. But today it stands on the campus of Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
photo by Mike Hazard
The spirit of Muskego Church always moves me. It is a log cabin composed of 200 trees. Built in 1844 in Muskego, Wisconsin, near Racine, it was the first Norwegian Lutheran church in America. In 1904 it was taken apart and moved to the campus of Luther Seminary in St. Paul where it was reassembled piece by piece. You can find numbers on the ends of some planks. Muskego, which means sunfish in Potawatomi, is still used as a sanctuary for worship and weddings. I love to sit in it. Inside is a throne-like chair carved out of a single trunk of wood which has human teeth embedded in it.
The Luther Seminary website has this to add:
Fathers and sons cut down, cleaned and hauled over 200 trees while mothers and daughters went searching for moss for the chinking. All this was done in the midst of the immigrants' fight for survival. Even while they were hunting for food, building their own shelters and gathering wood for heat throughout the winter, they built this house of worship.
The congregation sat divided-men on one side, women on the other-in this unheated building. The lay leader, or "klokker," sat on the men's side in front and helped lead worship.
In 1904, it was moved to the campus of Luther Seminary piece by piece and now stands as a reminder that it was the people who sat in these pews who had the vision for this seminary as a place where pastors would train. Their descendants still come to take care of the old building on a regular basis. It is still used as a sanctuary; for worship, weddings, baptisms and ordinations.
The church was also the subject of a profile in American Woodturner magazine, which you can read here.
Interested in nominating a building for the Minnesota Architecture series? Just send a photo or two, along with a few lines on why the building appeals to you, to email@example.com.
Interested in buying a beautiful home rich with history?
Today's nomination for our "Celebrating Minnesota Architecture" series happens to be for sale, at the recently reduced price of $995,000.
Photo courtesy John Finn
Here's Winona resident John Finn's nomination:
I nominate Winona's Huff-Lamberton Home that's centrally located at the edge of downtown. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a local historic landmark. The current owners, a local nursing home that used to operate the property as an assisted living facility, have maintained the structure and grounds with a level of care befitting its status as one of Winona's architectural treasures.
The house, brightly lit at sunrise and sunset, is visible from our living room windows. The large landscaped lawns offer abundant opportunities for our dog to chase rabbits. Besides the architectural features and landscape vistas that benefit the neighborhood, the property now serves as somewhat of a deterrent to MnDOT's plans for locating a major highway interchange around it.
The house has been for sale for the past few years with no serious offers because the current zoning limits its use for anything other than the previous assisted living apartments or for three family residences. A zoning change was recently denied due to the wide variety of possible permitted uses that were deemed incompatible with the nature of the surrounding neighborhood and adjacent city park. Since the owners won't be able to afford its upkeep indefinitely, the future of the property is uncertain.
Photo courtesy John Finn
You can find the listing for the property here, which includes several interior shots of the home. Here's the Preservation Directory's information on the property:
The Historic Huff / Lamberton home was originally built by Charles Huff, who platted the city of Winona. Building it of brick and stone with 16" walls, he felt it needed to be strong and enduring like the town he helped to found. It was built over a period of two years with the best materials available and the most skilled craftsmen. Charles was the founder of the Huff House hotel. 15 years later it was purchased by the Lamberton family, prominent bankers and lawyers, who continued to improve the property, adding electricity, central heating, elevator, and eventually, air conditioning. Bas-relief decorations for the music room were imported from France and from Czechoslovakia came hand-cut crystal chandeliers. After Mrs. Lamberton died in the mid-1950's, the home became an orphanage for a time and then an assisted living facility. It is an imposing structure with a prominent tower, carriage house and ornate porch, another addition by the Lambertons. Set on a 1.5 acre parcel across from a beautiful city park in the center of town, it is considered one of Winona's historic jewels.
Many thanks to John Finn for his nomination. Interested in nominating a building in your neighborhood or town? Just send a photo with your explanation of why you're nominating it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.(1 Comments)
Today's nomination for our "Celebrating Minnesota Architecture" series comes from Pam Capin in Eveleth. Her choice? The Eveleth Manual Training School.
This building has always reminded me of the Larkin Administration Building that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was built in 1914. I don't know the name of the architect. It is very different from the other Eveleth school buildings, except for the color, and the diamond pattern in the brick just below the cornice. The windows and doors were replaced years ago, which gave the building a more industrial look, and resulted in the differently colored brick around the openings. Notice the old fallout shelter sign above the left side door!
Photo courtesy of Pam Capin
Well, I did a little digging, and I have some information for Pam, thanks to the Minnesota Historical Society and the National Register of Historic Places. The Eveleth MTS was added to the registry in 1980, and according to the entry, was designed by architects William Bray and Carl Nystrom. Here are there bios, thanks to the University of Minnesota's Northwest Architectural Archives:
William Bray was born in New York State in 1868 and had an early apprenticeship there in architecture. He moved to Duluth in 1891 to work as a draftsman and was employed in the office of Traphagen & Fitzpatrick from 1892 to 1898. In 1902, he was a partner of Carl Wirth, and then joined I. Vernon Hill in partnership from 1902 to 1904. From 1904-1905 he practiced alone and in 1905 he partnered with Carl Nystrom; the partnership lasted until about 1915. He returned to private practice and subsequently entered into a partnership with Claude H. Smith in 1923 which lasted until 1925. When Bray retired he moved to California. He died in Beverly Hills in 1959.
Carl Nystrom was born in Sweden in 1867 or 1868 and immigrated to the United States in 1889. He worked in several architects' offices in Ironwood (Michigan), Ashland (Wisconsin), and Duluth, where he settled in 1892. He was a partner in the firm of Young & Nystrom from 1902 to 1905, and then joined William Bray in partnership until 1915. After the dissolution of the firm, Nystrom practiced alone until his death in 1944.
Wondering what a Manual Training School was, exactly? Here's the MNHS' description:
Built in 1914, the Eveleth Manual Training School was Minnesota's first vocational school, established to meet the needs of the iron mining industry as it shifted to extracting and processing lower-grade ores. The new technologies required new kinds of skilled workers - mechanics, vehicle operators, machinists. Vocational schools like this one were thought to be the best way to train industrial workers
Many thanks to Pam for her nomination. Do you have a building you'd like to call out for its particular beauty or charm? Send me a photo, along with a paragraph or two on why you like it, to email@example.com.
Not one but two people have nominated today's building in our Minnesota Architecture series. It's the Cloquet gas station, designed by none other than famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Lindholm Service Station in Cloquet
Photo courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey
On the Fourth of July it seemed fitting to honor one of America's great architects, and a building many people will be stopping at this holiday weekend - the gas station.
Our nominations come from Sarah Johnson and Maria Bartholdi - first Maria's nomination:
While I've moved away from Cloquet, the Frank Lloyd Wright gas station will always have a special place in my heart. It sticks out from the rest of the buildings in town -- but not in a bad way. It has a unique, irreplaceable look to it -- and still draws in tourists more than 50 years after its construction. It's also the *only* service station Wright ever designed. It looks impossible... meaning, it looks as though it shouldn't be able to stand -- thanks to the crazy way it's constructed. An awesome bit of architecture in a tiny, unassuming town. What more could you ask for?
Indeed! And here's Sarah Johnson's nomination:
My parents have a cabin on Lake Vermilion so I pass it on the way "up north" and it never ceases to amaze me as an unexpected find in such a small town. I've stopped there numerous times as it's still a functioning full service gas station but I've never learned what drew Frank Lloyd Wright to Cloquet? And why did he decide to design a gas station there? Maybe someday when I'm a woman of leisure I'll have a chance to look into it.
And in his story, Weber provides what may serve as the answer to both of Sarah Johnson's questions:
The station is named for Ray Lindholm, who hired Wright to build it a few years after Wright built Lindholm's private home. Lindholm's grandson, John McKinney, now owns the station.
"I think Wright probably pushed it, too, is what I'm hearing," said McKinney. "Once the house was built, [Wright said] 'Mr. Lindholm, let's build this station.'"
FYI, the Cloquet gas station cost approximately four times the average cost of building a station in the late 1950s ($20,000, instead of $5,000), probably due in part to its copper roof.
Have a Minnesota building you're particularly fond of? Send me a photo with your nomination - firstname.lastname@example.org.(1 Comments)
And we're off! Today marks the first installment of what I hope will be a long-lasting series, celebrating the great architecture of Minnesota.
We begin with a charming submission from Audrey Helbling:
Vesta liquor store
Here's Audrey Helbling's nomination:
The two photos I am submitting are of the Vesta Municipal Liquor Store in my hometown. That would be Vesta, a farming community of about 350 half way between Redwood Falls and Marshall along State Highway 19 on the southwestern Minnesota prairie.
Only in recent years have I come to appreciate the exterior of Vesta's muni, built in 1961. I don't know the architectural style (maybe art deco), but the simple lines of the building and the colorful tile on the front appeal to me aesthetically. I can't recall ever seeing another structure quite like this.
Adding to the building's charm is the vintage signage. I shot these images with my son's cheap point-and-shoot camera some five years ago, before I got my Canon DSLR. I haven't checked recently to see if anything has changed on the muni's exterior. It is one of the few remaining businesses on the one-block main street of my hometown.
If you take the time to explore the small towns of Minnesota, you'll find many such architectural treasures.
Helbling keeps a blog called "Minnesota Prairie Roots" where she recently wrote about an old bank building in Mankato and how it relates to a current sculpture exhibit in that city. You can find it here.
Interested in nominating a building from your neck of the woods? Send a photograph of it, along with a few lines on why it appeals to you, to email@example.com. It's that simple.(2 Comments)
My nomination for the MN Architecture series: Church of St. Columba, in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of St. Paul
Last week I put out a call for people to nominate their favorite buildings near where they live. Whether it's a church, a school, a Dairy Queen, or someone's home, the only thing it needs to qualify is your affection.
I'm happy to say I've already received several submissions, from Faribault to Eveleth and points inbetween.
Don't be left out! Give your local architectural gem the fame and glory it deserves!
All you have to do is take a picture of the building and email it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a short paragraph on why you like it. Easy as can be.
I'll start posting the results on Friday.(1 Comments)
So, I have to admit a personal bias.
I love architecture.
I haven't always loved architecture, but reporting on the transformations of the Guthrie Theater, the Walker Art Center, the Children's Theatre Company, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the MacPhail Center for Music have instilled in me a deep appreciation for a finely designed building.
But of course great architecture is not limited solely to those huge cultural institutions downtown. We have lovely buildings tucked away in our neighborhoods and along old country roads. Even a particularly well designed Dairy Queen or White Castle can become an architectural icon over the years.
So here's the deal - I'd like you to look around your neighborhood and pick out your favorite building (I'm guessing many of you already have one in mind). Take a picture of it, and send it to me (email@example.com) with a short paragraph on why it's your favorite.
I'll post the results, and we can all revel in what a cool state we live in, architecturally speaking.
To get us started, here's my personal pic. You don't need to be Catholic to appreciate the dramatic lines and smooth curves of the Church of St. Columba in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. Enjoy!
Church of St. Columba, in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of St. Paul
View from Wabasha Bridge towards downtown shows Ramsey County Jail in Red Brick and old West Publishing to the left
All images courtesy the American Institute of Architects
Sometimes it's hard to understand the logic behind the decisions of our forebearers.
For instance, why would someone build a jailhouse on prime riverfront real estate?
The Ramsey County Adult Detention Center was built in 1979 and many credit its striking architecture and rooftop garden with helping to revive the riverfront. It even received a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects for its contribution to urban renewal in St. Paul.
A typical jail cell, complete with a view of the Mississippi
But since the inmates were moved to a larger facility in 2003 the jailhouse has sat empty. Numerous attempts to sell the property to developers have fallen through.
What to do?
This weekend, architects and designers will gather to brainstorm their best ideas for making use of the jailhouse. The event is called "Unauthorized Design" and takes place all day Saturday. The public is invited to a presentation and discussion beginning at 4:30pm in the 3rd floor conference room of the neighboring Ramsey County West.
Jail Commons - Each pod has approximately eight jail cells opening off of a two-story community space
Dr Sarah Parcak uses satellites to probe beneath the sands, where she has found cities, temples and pyramids. image courtesy BBC.
File under "how cool is THAT?!"
According to the BBC, US Egyptologist Dr Sarah Parcak has led a team of researchers that analysed infra-red images from satellites orbiting above Egypt. The cameras are so powerful they can pin-point objects less than 1 meter in diameter.
What they discovered includes 1,000 tombs, 3,000 ancient settlements and 17 pyramids all buried beneath the sand and silt.
Ancient Egyptians built their houses and structures out of mud brick, which is much denser than the soil that surrounds it, so the shapes of houses, temples and tombs can be seen.
"It just shows us how easy it is to underestimate both the size and scale of past human settlements," says Dr Parcak.
And she believes there are more antiquities to be discovered:
"These are just the sites [close to] the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt. This is just the beginning of this kind of work."
My favorite quote from Dr. Parcak?
"Indiana Jones is old school, we've moved on from Indy. Sorry, Harrison Ford."
The BBC will air a documentary about the discoveries titled "Egypt's Lost Cities" on May 30.
Each year the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota releases its list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places, with the hope of drawing enough public attention to save otherwise threatened structures.
This year, the list didn't come soon enough for one well-known drive-in: Porky's.
In this evening's release the folks at the alliance note:
The demise of Porky's raises troubling questions about the future of other historic sites along the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (LRT) line. Architectural surveys carried out during LRT planning stages determined that Porky's and nearly two dozen other properties were individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This federal process is supposed to ensure that impacts on historic properties are carefully considered. Unfortunately, Porky's fate was determined in a rash decision by private owners that did not include a thorough exploration of alternatives or any opportunity for public consultation. Porky's is gone, but other sites along the St. Paul LRT corridor are still at risk.
Here are the other nine buildings on this year's list along with a few historical details provided by the alliance.
Pillsbury A Mill Complex, 301 Main St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
The Pillsbury A Mill on the Mississippi River's east bank near downtown Minneapolis was once the largest flour mill in the world. The overall 7.9-acre site is approximately three square blocks, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Minneapolis historic site. The "A" Mill building itself is a National Historic Landmark.
Jackson Street Water Tower, 422 Jackson Ave., NW, Elk River, MN 55330
Long a landmark for citizens of Elk River, the Jackson Street Water Tower was once a symbol of engineering technology in the early twentieth century.
St. Peter's Church, 810 W. 3rd St., Duluth, MN 55806
St. Peter's Church, once the cornerstone of the Italian-American community in Duluth, was constructed in the mid-1920s. The building's striking variegated stone exterior was the work of Italian-American stone masons from the church's original congregation.
Mayowood Historic District, 3700 Mayowood Rd. SW, Rochester, MN 55902
The Mayowood Historic District includes one of the great county estates in the Midwest, home of the Charles H. Mayo family.
Johnston Hall, 633 SE First St., Faribault, MN 55021
Designed by prominent New York architect Henry Congdon, Johnston Hall was built in 1888 as a library and seminary faculty residence for the Seabury Divinity School. The building is an excellent example of Richardsonian Romanesque style architecture, constructed of locally quarried blue limestone.
Howe School, E. 38th St. and 43rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55406
Howe School, built in 1927, was once the center of community life in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The school design incorporated natural light, ventilation, steam heating, modern sanitation systems, and fireproof construction, as well as public meeting rooms, which helped foster a strong bond between the school and its community.
Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center, 1400 N. Union Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537
The Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center was built in 1888, accepted its first patients in 1906, treated thousands of the state's mentally ill, and sustained the local economy with hundreds of jobs until its closure in 2005. The Fergus Falls complex was built using a model developed by Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride, based on the belief that building design aided in the recuperation and maintenance of mental health.
Dredge William A. Thompson, Mississippi River (Winona vicinity)
For over 70 years, the William A. Thompson was an integral part of maritime activity in the Upper Midwest.
Mitchell Yards, 4685 Redore Rd., Hibbing, MN 55746
In the late nineteenth century, the U.S. became an industrial powerhouse, and the Iron Range of northeastern Minnesota led the way by providing raw materials for the growth of industry. At its heyday, "the Range's" many iron ore mines buzzed with activity and employed thousands of people. A strong infrastructure of rail and maritime transportation was needed to move the iron ore from the mines to shipping ports in Duluth and on to steel plants in Chicago, Gary, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Railroads played a key role, but many of the structures and switching yards--essential cogs in this industrial process--have been lost.
Riverside Plaza, Minneapolis
Riverside Plaza is about to get a $65 million facelift.
When architect Ralph Rapson designed the Riverside Plaza apartments in the early 1970s, he envisioned a chic living space reflective of modernist design. At first the apartments seemed fitting with the time and were even pictured as where Mary Richards lived on "The Mary Tyler Moore" show.
But over the years the colored panels on the buildings have faded, and the apartments have aged. Now it serves as a symbol of Minneapolis' immigrant population, offering affordable housing in a neighborhood often referred to as "Little Mogadishu." It is the largest affordable housing development in the state, serving approximately 4,440 residents.
A shot of Riverside Plaza's modernist interior, circa 1973
Today formally marks the start of a project that will renovate 1,303 units as well as common areas, and expand the neighboring Cedar Riverside Community School. Improvements will include work on energy efficiency and public safety. It will even restore the exterior panels to their original colors.
Work actually began in February; 65 units are being renovated each month through October 2012. Meanwhile, affected residents are temporarily relocating to "hotel" units while their unit is under construction.
The renovation and refinancing of the Riverside Plaza is, according to the city of Minneapolis, one of the largest HUD-supported projects in the country, totalling $132 million. The project will create 200 construction jobs, of which 90 are reserved for Minneapolis residents, with an emphasis on employing residents of the neighborhood.
Riverside Plaza was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in December 2010. Architect Ralph Rapson is best known for designing the original Guthrie Theater, which was torn down in 2006
A design rendering of the Riverside Plaza by Ralph Rapson
"By appreciating the darkness, when you design the light you create much more interesting environments that truly enhance our lives." - Lighting architect Rogier van der Heide
In under 17 minutes Rogier van der Heide manages to cover a lot of territory - from the inside of a typical office space to a view of earth from the universe, showing us how much light is wasted, never reaching its intended destination. Too much lighting, he argues, only serves to make us feel out of sorts.
Van der Heide argues that proper lighting, which allows for an interplay with darkness, can make us more alert, or help us sleep better. It can inspire us, or help us to feel at peace. Using examples drawn from art, architecture and theater, van der Heide shows how spotlighting, new LEDs, and ambient luminescence can all work together to create more beautiful spaces, while preserving our views of the night sky.
"A lot of architects tend to make up their own words," says architect Evan Hall. "They're always trying to find the new word to describe a new way of generating space, so it's really hard to kind of narrow it down to a few we use a lot."
Today we continue our series explaining unusual words and phrases in the arts by looking at the language of architecture.
Hall's own style of practicing architecture involves making foam-core models of conceived structures and spaces, which helps avoid having to coin a lot of descriptive words to conjure an imagined building. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in architecture and worked for a year in Japan before getting a Fulbright to study architecture in Korea, where he worked in architecture and urban planning.
Evan Hall (at right) presents a model of a proposed structure while working as an architect at Sejima and Nishizawa Architects Associates in Tokyo. (photo courtesy Evan Hall)
Hall is now back in Minnesota and is preparing for the next chapter in his architecture career, and he recently shared a number of interesting terms from his profession.
A building that's described as being tectonic is one where steel or wood framing and other devices are used to support the structure, where the push and pull of physical elements is evident.
Tom Fisher, the dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, says the Marquette Plaza building in Minneapolis -- with its transparent suspension-bridge support system -- is a good example of a tectonic building.
Hall says stereotonic is a good counterpoint to tectonic, insofar as a stereotonic building is one where the primary structure consists of limestone or granite, without the aid of secondary materials or structures to keep it standing. Because so many buildings combine stereotonic and tectonic elements, Hall says it is difficult to classify buildings as exclusively one or the other.
Hall says the Minneapolis City Hall (built 1904) may appear stereotonic, but it has steel and wood structures on the inside to help support it.
An axonometric drawing is a three-dimensional drawing that architects make where every line is measureable. "If you were to see a perfect cube in an axonometric drawing, you would be able to go in and measure every line and they would all be the same," Hall says. "In a perspective drawing, however, the lines start to get distorted a little bit."
The material that is put up over an exterior wall is called cladding. It can be wood, metal, stone, vinyl ... the most important thing is that cladding is waterproof.
The UBS Forum at Minnesota Public Radio is covered in sheet-metal cladding.
A wall that doesn't provide any structural support to a building but keeps out the elements or separates interior spaces is called a curtain wall. Such walls are called "curtain walls" because, like window curtains, they hang from a supporting framework.
Similar to a mechanical pencil, a leadholder is a drawing tool into which an architect can insert lead or plastic pieces of various softness and weight. "Sometimes you can have a whole book of different types of pencils that you can use for different line weights," Hall says. "The line weights are extremely important when making a drawing."
According to Hall, the reason line weights are so important is because the thickness of a line weight connotes the architectural significance of a drawn feature. "All architectural drawings are abstractions of something that is designed to be crafted in reality," he says. "Line weights in drawings give hierarchy to an idea."
This sounds like a specific type of rounded detail, but a French curve is actually a tool that architects use when drawing plans. "It's a plastic or metal stencil that has curves on the inside and outside," Hall explains, "and pretty much any type of curve that you need to draw in an architectural drawing, you can get off the French curve in combination with a compass or a straight edge."
When architects need to make a quick sketch of a building detail, whether from a paper plan or an autocad rendering, they'll lay a thin piece of vellum over the plan and trace the detail onto it. This thin sheet of tracing paper is called bumwad ... and yes, the name comes from exactly what one might suspect. "It looks kind of like a cheap toilet paper," Hall laughs. "I'm pretty sure you could just use it for that purpose!"
Evan Hall at his desk; in his right hand is a leadholder; the thin yellow paper is bumwad. (photo courtesy Evan Hall)
Visit State of the Arts next week, when we look at words from film and video.
Posted at 1:21 PM on March 10, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
An architect's drawing of the expanded and renovated Hennepin County Library - Northeast, which reopens on April 2.
Drawing credit: Cuningham Group
After being closed for 16 months, the Hennepin County Library of Northeast Minneapolis is re-opening with a new look on April 2. The remodeling includes a 2,400 square-foot addition, zinc panels on the exterior, large windows, new furnishings and computers, and a fresher collection of books.
A local woodworker used wood from an old oak tree removed from the front of the library to make all the occasional tables in the library.
A public celebration will take place April 2, featuring a scavenger hunt for kids and an accordian performance by Dan Turpening. T.C. Bear, the Minnesota Twins mascot, will also be on hand to greet visitors.
The Northeast public library was built in 1973, and is located at 2200 Central Ave. N.E in Minneapolis.
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents gave their final approval today for the financing package that will renovate the 1929 building that serves as a major performing arts venue for the Twin Cities.
According to a release, the renovation is estimated at $80.8 million dollars and is intended to restore the center with a "multi-purpose 2,800 seat hall, featuring state-of-the-art acoustics, significantly improved sight-lines, cutting-edge technologies and updated amenities, including a cafe and coffee bar."
The funding for the renovation comes from a combination of Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funds, private donations, university funds and savings and debt service.
The Northrop will close on Monday, February 14, with construction to begin on the 82-year-old facility later this month. The grand re-opening is scheduled for Fall 2013. In the meantime, university activities usually programmed for the Northrop Auditorium will be moved to other venues such as the State and Orpheum Theaters.
When you work for a radio station, you tend to notice the acoustics of the space you're in. So it wasn't long after MPR staffers moved into our expanded digs in downtown Saint Paul that folks began to take note of the back stairwell. I once caught classical host Jeff Esworthy practicing his sitar there, and other enthusiasts even started a series of lunchtime stairwell concerts by MPR talent - accordians, violins, you name it.
Yep, that's right - we have world class studios in our building, and yet we've fallen in love with a bare, cold section of the building most people never see.
So it was no surprise when I heard that MPR's Marc Sanchez was taking our "musicians-in- residence," Cantus, to the back stairs. It might seem like some sort of arcane punishment ('hey guys, thanks for the free holiday concert in the UBS Forum, now could you come over here for a minute? oh and bring your sweaters'), but true to their enthusiastic form, the men of Cantus were pretty impressed, and filled the MPR stairwell with beautiful rich sound. Take a listen - and a peek - for yourself:(1 Comments)
Ralph Rapson's bent wood rocker
Minnesota architect Ralph Rapson may be best remembered for his buildings, from the original Guthrie Theater to the blighted Cedar-Riverside apartment buildings. But buildings made up just part of his modernist vision; it also included flatware, teapots, lamps, dishes, jewelry, fabrics, clothes, and especially furniture.
Tonight and tomorrow, Rapson's son Toby and Toby's wife Janet Czaia have organized a show that brings together Rapson's playful drawings, and the realized designs of several of his chairs, along with some of Czaia's own artwork.
Ralph Rapson's "Chair of Tomorrow"
The two-day show and sale features many of Ralph Rapson's original drawings dating from as far back as the 1930s, including renderings of his whimsical "kissing chair" or "chair of tomorrow." Toby Rapson, who now runs Rapson Architects, describes his father's work as casual and almost anthropomorphic:
A wonderful element of my father's drawings was his ability to draw freehand with people using his furniture in amusing positions and behavior; he had an uncanny ability to maintain a correct perspective on his pieces and figures. He spent a great deal of time early in his career studying human anatomy and proportion. Later in life he could simply place these people seemingly effortlessly into his furniture drawings, again adding a playful quality and humanness to his work.
Ralph Rapson's solid wood rockers
Toby Rapson says he 's been working on expanding the line of his father's furniture designs and going through his collection of design drawings. An opportunity to use an exhibition space was presented that he and his wife felt they couldn't pass up, and so they rushed to get this show ready.
We have also had many inquiries about purchasing Ralph's work so we thought making some of his drawings available on a one time basis would be a good thing. I like the ideas of the drawings being in the hands of people; Don't tell the curators that you might know, but I worry about the thought of his designs being boxed away and being almost inaccessible in an archive - the last scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark comes to mind where the Ark of the Covenant is being carted to the bowels of some warehouse (not that we're talking Ark of the Covenant here).
A rendering of Ralph Rapson's lounge chair
The Furniture Design of Ralph Rapson: Two Day Exhibition and Sale runs from 5-11pm tonight and from 10am to 8pm tomorrow at 520 Selby Ave in St. Paul. A percentage of the sales will be donated to the Ralph Rapson Traveling Study Fellowship at the Minnesota Architectural Foundation
The Minneapolis City Council has chosen landscape architect Tom Oslund's firm - oslund.and.associates - to revitalize Peavey Plaza, the sunken courtyard next to Orchestra Hall.
In a press release, the council stated the firm was selected "for the quality of its design for projects such as Gold Medal Park and Target Plaza in Minneapolis as well as its ability to lead projects involving extensive public participation, such as the new I-35W bridge project in Minneapolis."
The first phase of the project entails gathering impressions and input and developing alternative schemes for the redevelopment of the Plaza. Phase II includes design and construction. Approval of the design concept will be complete in June 2011 with construction beginning in spring 2012. A grand opening is planned for summer 2013.
The City and the Minnesota Orchestra are collaborating in the revitalization of Peavey Plaza in conjunction with the Orchestra's $45 million renovation of Orchestra Hall. The goal is to maximize improvements in Peavey Plaza's function and usability, while respecting its original intent.
Peavey Plaza was named a "marvel of modernism" by the Cultural Landscape Foundation in 2008. Now it's getting a makeover.
Peavey Plaza, that tiered, sunken courtyard next to Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, is getting a facelift as part of the Hall's renovation and expansion.
Tomorrow, city officials and representatives of the Minnesota Orchestra will interview the four Minneapolis firms and their design teams chosen to interview for the revitalization project. The firms are Close Landscape Architecture, Coen & Partners, Damon Farber Associates, and Oslund and Associates (FYI, Tim Oslund is most recently known for his work on both Gold Medal Park and his design of the I-35 Bridge Memorial).
Rather than hold the interviews in private, the City of Minneapolis is inviting the public to attend. While members of the public won't have a final say in the decision, they will have a chance to see the various proposals and get excited about Peavey Plaza's new potential.
Interviews, each 45 minutes in length, begin at 11:30am Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Auditorium 2. They will be preceded by a "meet and greet" session with the firms from 9:30 - 11:00am.
Interested in learning more about the history of Peavey Plaza and the intentions behind its original design? Check out Mary Abbe's fine article in the Star Tribune.(3 Comments)
The Weisman Art Museum has been keeping its doors open for the first phase of its expansion and renovation. That will change this Sunday, when it shuts down for a year.
This Sunday the Weisman Art Museum is shutting its doors to the public and taking down the last pieces of art in preparation for the next phase of its expansion and renovation.
That phase will take approximately a year; Director Lyndel King says the museum plans to re-open in November of 2011.
However the museum will open to the public just once more this winter, this December, for a closing party that will allow museum lovers to do some things they normally never get to do in a museum. Like draw on the walls... or drink red wine.
Yesterday afternoon I was treated to a hard-hat tour of the new sections of the building now in progress, including a new collaboration space meant to serve as an incubator for projects that involve both artists and other non-arts-related university departments. That space juts out of the front of the building, and will be covered by a typical Frank Gehry shiny metallic drapery that will almost completely protect students walking in front of the museum rain or snow.
New gallery space
The most exciting part of the tour was checking out the expanded gallery space on the East side of the building. The rooms are monumental in size and will double the number of objects the Weisman can display at any given time.
And what appears from the exterior to be jauntily placed boxes on top of the Weisman's roof are actually new skylights, which add dramatic natural lighting.
Weisman Art Museum's expansion features two large skylights.
The next phase of construction is expected to finish in May 2011, after which the building will need to sit empty for a while as the new floors off-gas, and the new paint smell fades away.
Surprisingly, the date of the museum's re-opening has yet to be set, not because of construction, but because of the University of Minnesota's fall football schedule.
Director King says the museum is obliged to wait and see what Saturdays are taken up by home games; due to campus policy the museum's parking lot is forced to shut down on those Saturdays, making a re-opening celebration infeasible.
A rendering of the proposed Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center Commons as viewed from the East entrance
The board of Macalester College has given the thumbs up to move on the first phase of a $39.8 million renovation and expansion of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. The project is scheduled to begin in January 2011.
The fine arts center, built in 1965, houses the Music, Art, and Theatre & Dance Departments. The first phase of the project will renovate and expand the Music building, including the concert hall, add rehearsal space, and create an "Arts Commons" (see above photo) which will house new art history classrooms and a new art gallery.
The first phase is expected to take 18 months, reopening in fall 2012.
A view of the renovated Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center from outside the Shaw Field entrance
According to a release, the renovation and expansion project cost is $33.8 million. In conjunction with the arts improvements, the college will also complete a $6 million, 31,000 square foot renovation of the facilities department, located in the lower level of the building, bringing the total project cost to $39.8 million. The college has raised $16.5 million towards a $24 million fundraising goal focused solely on the arts building improvements. The college will bond for the remaining $15.8 million.
HGA of Minneapolis is the architect and McGough Construction of St. Paul is the contractor.
The second phase of the project is set to begin once the first phase is complete and remaining funds are raised. Phase Two will include the Art, and Theatre and Dance Department buildings.
The beginnings of F. Scott Fitzgerald's mural on the side of the theater that bears his name.
MPR Photo/Tom Campbell
Well, we all knew it was a historic building, at least to those of us here at MPR, but it sure is nice to get the official seal of approval.
In August, MPR's President Bill Kling got the final work from the Minnesota Historical Society saying that the "Sam S. Shubert Theatre and Shubert Building" had been entered in the National Register of Historic Places.
The theater, which opened in August of 1910, has changed names and hands a few times. For a while it was a movie house, and in 1933 was renamed The World Theater. In 1981, Garrison Keillor brought his radio program, "A Prairie Home Companion," to the World. It was Keillor who led the charge to rename the theater in honor of St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald.
In honor of the theater's 100th birthday, and its historic status, the folks who run events here at MPR have planned a few special activities in addition to the usual cultural offerings at the Fitz.
This Saturday, Patricia Hampl debuts a new work - commissioned by MPR - called "The Big Time." The evening's performance will be introduced by Eleanor Lanahan, Fitzgerald's granddaughter, and the show will include a special musical performance by Blake Hazard, Fitzgerald's great-granddaughter. After the show, the audience will be invited to lift a glass to the kick-off of the theater's Centennial Season and witness the unveiling of our new plaque acknowledging our placement of The National Register of Historic Places.
Also, a mural of F. Scott Fitzgerald is right now underway on the side of the theater. The image is inspired by a photo of Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, taken at the White Bear Yacht Club in 1921.
A rendering of the proposed I-35 memorial
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today unveiled a new plan for a memorial to the August 1, 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis.
A donation of $1.5 million by the lawyers who argued the settlement for victims of the crash has helped speed up what was for months a stalled project.
The memorial was originally intended for Gold Medal Park, where many people gathered to gaze upon the wreckage of the bridge collapse, and to mourn their loved ones. However,"leasing issues" compelled the mayor's office to move the memorial across the river.
Mayor Rybak said he was committed to building the Remembrance Garden within budget, including an endowment for ongoing maintenance, and to completing it in time for a formal dedication on August 1, 2011, the four-year anniversary of the bridge collapse.
Here are some architectural details of the planned memorial, and their symbolic meanings:
The garden presents 13 I-beams which are illuminated during the evening. The names of the each of the people who lost their lives are engraved on opaque glass faces that cover the inside face of the I-beams.
Also included in the garden is a water wall element that frames the walkway space as one of the memorial's focal points.
The I-beams line an 81'-long linear plaza space with the water wall incorporated to one side. The water wall is very quiet and incorporates a sheet flow of water over its polished surface, offering a visual and auditory meditative focal point to the space. Names of all individuals who were on the bridge that day will be engraved into the surface of the wall, along with an inspirational quote and a dedication.
Benches bookend the linear plaza space, offering places to rest and contemplate the garden.
A path leads from the fountain to the bluff edge, where an observation deck allows views of the river and the bridge through the trees.
The linear dimension of the space (81') references the date of the bridge collapse -- 8/1.
The width of the space (13') references the 13 people who lost their lives.
The distance of the path to the overlook (65') references the time of the collapse -- 6:05 p.m.
The memorial will likely be the most expensive memorial ever erected in the state, including the $1 million World War II memorial installed on the State Capitol grounds in 2008. For reference, 6,255 American servicemen from Minnesota gave their lives for their country in World War II.(2 Comments)
Bas-relief sculptures of the cardinal points at the Christopher Columbus Family Academy in New Haven help teach directions, and give students a deeper sense of place.
What if schools didn't just house educational activities, but actually inspired them?
Architect Barry Svigals designs both grade schools and college buildings, and unlike most architects, he incorporates sculpture and figurative work into his structures. Svigals says the combination of architecture and sculpture transforms buildings from simple vessels into reflections on who we are and why we're here.
"Figurative sculpture, in particular, has the power to engage people in an intimate relationship to their surroundings. It can bring to life the purpose and meaning of a building, enhancing its service to functional needs. We are on a quest for meaning - we seek a reflection of ourselves in everything. Now imagine if we found that meaning in our buildings" says Svigals.
Svigals is in town for the Society of College and University Planning's annual international conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center, but much of his work can be found in educational buildings in his home state of Connecticut.
A 950 pound bronze sculpture of St. Albert the Great serves as a pillar in the Albertus Magnus College while simultaneously celebrating the history and mission of the college.
Svigals says the history of figurative sculpture in architecture goes back to ancient times, and the two were disconnected only relatively recently - in the 1930s - when modernists moved away from art and ornamentation in their designs. And Svigals worries that, as a result, human beings are becoming more and more disconnected from their environment.
Today's architecture encourages egocentrism, rather than community. Each building shouts to be the most important. Really the questions each institution should ask as they begin designing a building are "How can we participate?" and "What can we contribute?" Our meaning is determined by our relationship to the community and the world at large.
Svigals says the modern movement has left a legacy of buildings that are simply self-referential, with no civic or personal meaning. Svigals says such buildings are missed opportunities for "deep branding," in other words, opportunities to speak to all who gaze upon them, telling them who you are and what you stand for.
Sculptures of apostles adorn the pilasters of The Carroll School of Management at Boston College, reflecting the college's Jesuit heritage.
Svigals says at a time when we are increasingly reminded of our deep connection to the world around us - through oils spills, earthquakes and hurricanes - it's time that we re-engage with our communities and our heritage.
Paraphrasing Gil Scott-Heron, Svigals says "the revolution will not be seen on our TV, but it should be felt in our buildings."(1 Comments)
Posted at 3:08 PM on June 30, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
First place winner MSD/WhatWorx Collaboration will receive $10,000 in prize money and will have the first opportunity to negotiate a contract for project development services.
The City of Minneapolis has announced the winning designs in a competition aimed at renewing neighborhoods hit by foreclosures.
Organized by both the City of Minneapolis and the Builders Outreach Foundation, the competition asked for designs of four to seven, live/work units for a site located in the Willard Homewood neighborhood of North Minneapolis. THe challenge was to create something both high in quality and environmental sensitivity, affordable for a first-time home owner, and suitable for a variety of lifestyle choices and family configurations.
Second place winner Trace Jacques will receive a $5,000 prize.
In the past two years the Willard Homewood neighborhood has seen many homes fall into foreclosure, but also an effort by community members to draw artists into the area.
Design firms from around the country submitted a total of 47 ideas for what, once built, will be called "Bearden Place," after the artist Romare Howard Bearden.
Third place winner 4RM+ULA will receive a $2,500 prize.
The winning entries (seen above), as well as the 44 other submissions are on display through July 23 at the University of Minnesota's Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center. There's an opening reception tonight from 5:30 - 7pm.
The winning design team is in negotiation with the Builders Outreach Foundation. Meanwhile the city of Minneapolis and the Builder's Outreach Foundation are conducting a study to determine market viability for the project. They are awaiting the results of the study before determining a project timeline.
Posted at 6:00 PM on May 20, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
A detail from the exterior of the Jackson County Resource Center - formerly the Jackson High School - which may be torn down to make way for a new resource center.
Photo by Doug Ohman of Pioneer Photography.
Each year the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota announces what it considers to be the ten most endangered historic places, in an attempt to inspire public support and advocacy for their preservation and restoration. The Preservation Alliance is hoping to raise money for its efforts tonight with what it's calling an "Anti-Wrecking Ball" at The Soap Factory in Minneapolis.
Here are the unlucky "winners" of 2010:
The Bessesen Building, Albert Lea
This three-story opera house and conservatory was built by a wealthy young doctor in a (successful) attempt to woo worldly opera singer Beatrice Gjertsen, who shortly thereafter became Beatrice Bessessen (the building is inscribed with her intials). $100,000 is needed to stabilize the building and perform needed roofing, window, and masonry repairs.
Roseville Dairy Queen
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Minnesota's Oldest Dairy Queen, Roseville
1720 North Lexington Avenue in Roseville is the home to Minnesota's oldest Dairy Queen. Built in the early 1950s, the building features soaring, angled glass planes, a concrete block base, and a large, distinctive neon sign. However the current owner is considering demolishing the existing building and replacing it with a new Dairy Queen.
Dodd Ford Bridge, Amboy
Blue Earth County's Dodd Ford Bridge dates back to 1901 when farmers needed help transporting equipment and goods over the Blue Earth River to Amboy. Threatened with replacement since the 1970s, the bridge is believed to be one of only a few remaining camelback truss bridges in the state.
Garrison Concourse, Garrison
Known best perhaps for the mammoth walleye replica in its center, the Garrison concourse was designed by the National Park Service and constructed between 1936 and 1939. It's widely considered one of the finest roadside rest areas in Minnesota, but after seventy years, the concourse is reflecting its age. The most critical area is the base of the overlook wall, which has been repeatedly thrashed by waves and ice.
Todd County Courthouse, Long Prairie
The Todd County Courthouse is one of only a dozen historic courthouses in Minnesota that were built before 1890. It's already listed in the National Register of Historic Places for both its architectural and historical significance, but since 2006 it's only been used for storage. The Todd County Board of Commissioners has decided to put the preservation of the building to a county-wide vote in November.
Wesley United Methodist Church, Minneapolis
Wesley United Methodist Church was built in 1891, and now sits across from the modern Minneapolis Convention Center. Both the exterior and interior of Wesley Church are designated local landmarks, a rare distinction. But because the building currently has no congregation and is a substantial financial drain, the Minnesota Conference of United Methodists is now considering a range of options that may include selling Wesley to the highest bidder on the open real estate market.
Great Northern Railway Depot
Photo by Kate Scott of Black Box Images
Great Northern Railway Depot, Princeton
Built in 1902 to accommodate regional railroad freight and passengers traveling along the Milaca Line, Princeton depot is now the only remaining Queen Anne-style brick and stone depot built along James J. Hill's famed Great Northern Railway. The Milaca line was abandoned in 1981, and now the depot serves as home to the Mille Lacs County Historical Society. Unfortunately the society lacks the funds to replace the roof, as well as the buildings electrical, fire-suppression, and life-safety systems.
Jackson Country Resource Center
Photo by Doug Ohman of Pioneer Photography
Jackson County Resource Center, Jackson
Formerly known as Jackson High School, this building of the county resource center was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, and many of its builders were members of its first graduating class who went on to become the "Greatest Generation." The building exterior has inscribed stone ornamentation characteristic of the Art Deco style, while the interior features wrought iron railings, decorative tilework, dark oak cabinetry, and a 700-seat auditorium-gymnasium with wood seats and stylized light fixtures. Now the county is looking to tear down the high school and erect a new resource center in its place.
Samuel J. Hewson House, Minneapolis
This private residence is a victim of the recent foreclosure crisis. The Samuel J. Hewson House was built in 1905 and its elaborate interior decoration is particularly vulnerable to theft or being stripped and sold piecemeal. In addition, the longer the house remains empty, the more likely it suffer water damage, neglect or vandalism. In order to survive, the Hewson House needs a new owner who will invest in its preservation.
Southeast St. Cloud Neighborhood, St. Cloud
Southeast St. Cloud is filled with properties that are listed, or are eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places. But the proposed University Drive Corridor Project (designed to deal with area traffic) threatens to adversely affect several properties, as well as the look and feel of the entire neighborhood.
Since the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota began putting out its Top Ten list seventeen years ago, it's helped save 66 buildings from destruction.
Buildings made from trash
Architect Mitchell Joachim is referred to by many as a "radical architect." Rather than design a new style of building, he rethinks the concept of a building entirely. In looking at his home, New York City, he sees potential to turn its darker, dirtier side into a competitive advantage:
We make a lot of trash - 36,000 tons per day. In fact if I were some alien peering down on New York I would think the city was some sort of apparatus to make trash, that its primary function is to produce waste.
Joachim thinks that trash should be put to use, namely in the construction of buildings. A life-size replica of the Statue of Liberty would require (according to Joachim) only one hour's worth of the city's compacted waste; a skyscraper could be built with a single day's worth. In a conversation Friday on Midmorning, Joachim said we should stop filling landfills, and instead start building housing and businesses. Some clean-up of the trash would need to be made, he says, but that shouldn't stop the city from taking advantage of a vast resource.
The In Vitro Meat Habiata is intended to be a "victimless shelter", because no sentient being was harmed in the laboratory growth of the skin.
Joachim recognizes that his ideas have some hurdles to leap before gaining wide acceptance. Take, for instance, his "In Vitro Meat Habitat" made from mass manufactured pig cells. The "habitat" would be a completely organic structure that didn't hurt a single pig in the making. But as the picture above indicates, Joachim needs to do some more work on curb appeal.
So, are you willing to live in a house made out of trash in order to save the planet? Do you think Joachim's ideas have the potential to gain mass appeal?
As City Artist in Residence Marcus Young doesn't beat around the bush when asked what he wants from the third annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest in St Paul.
"We want your back-of-napkin poems, your classroom poems. We want your deepest secrets in poetry form. And then we will publish your poems in the sidewalk, in the public realm, to create these delightful moments of out door reading," he says. "We live in a very big blank book, so this is the time to begin writing in our blank book."
The idea is quite simple: write a poem of 250 characters (including spaces.) It can be a maximum of 10 lines, with a maximim of 40 characters in a line. Once your piece is polished yo your satisfaction submit it to the contest by March 28th.
If you are one of the winners chosen by the judges, your piece will be transformed into a giant stamp, which will be applied to new sidewalks being installed around the city this summer. (One caveat, the contest is only open to St Paul residents. Would-be sidewalk poets elsewhere should talk to their own city public works departments about poetic possibilities.)
"Right now we have 261 poems installed around the city from a collection of 26 poems," Young says. "It's quite interesting how often people see them, although they are not everywhere. I'm just surprised that people notice them, and enjoy them."
I mentioned that I had stumbled across some of the poems as I was out walking in my own neighborhood.
Don't say stumble," Young laughs. "The Public Works Department doesn't want a trip hazard. You'll get me in trouble."
OK, so I have happened upon some of the Sidewalk Poetry, and it has always come as a surprise, or even a shock, given that the pieces I found were a little on the dark side.
Young (at left with a poem about to be stamped into wet concrete,) says the idea is to create a gentle surprise as people are out and about.
"I mean how many times do we in our lives do we get such gentle pleasant surprises that are just meant to hopefully spark something in your imagination, or create a moment of joy, simple joy."
Young says some people wonder if the poetry is vandalism, or something that the homeowner has done. He likes that mystery.
Some people wonder who is paying for it, and Young likes to poinbt out there are many sources of funding including The Public Art Saint Paul's program fund, the City of Saint Paul, and Readings by Writers; and is produced in collaboration with the Department of Public Works.The project also receives support from several local foundations.
The City of St Paul replaces about 10 miles of sidewalk each year, and Young aims to get about 100 poems printed in cement each summer.
Now he wants more. The winners will be announced in May. Young encourages allcomers to submit a poem.
"We have funny poems, we have thoughtful poems, we have dark poems. You just have to be concise," Young says.
Posted at 12:01 PM on November 30, 2009
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
This is the sort of creativity I love to see at work. Earnest architecture student Magnus Larsson is completely rethinking architecture, both in terms of where it can exist, and what it can be made from. In the case of his "solid sand dunes," His goal is not only to provide solid, safe living quarters to the locals, but to actually stop the spread of the desert and create solid structures onto which plant life can cling and even thrive (note: if you don't want to sit through the lead-up to his pitch, fast forward to 5 minutes into the talk).
University of Minnesota Team Advisor Jay Denny takes a moment after working on his team's house for 29 hours straight during the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2009 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Oct. 07, 2009.
(Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)
The University of Minnesota has sent a design team to the National Mall in D.C. to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy's "Solar Decathlon." The goal of the decathlon is to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house.
The decathlon takes place October 8-16, and the teams are scored based on their performance in ten contests, including architecture, market viability, lighting design, hot water, and home entertainment.
According to the DOE's website, as of this writing the University of Minnesota team is in 7th place. However, Huffingtonpost.com has published photos of the team submissions, with a place for readers to vote. On that poll, the University of Minnesota is currently ranked in first place. It's gonna be a nail biter...
You can find out more about the decathlon in this article from the New York Times.
Image courtesy Weisman Art Museum
Construction crews began work this week on the Weisman Art Museum's $14 million expansion. That's two years behind schedule, and for $2.5 million more than originally budgeted. The final design also leaves out a long-sought-after and initially-hyped museum café.
However the main goal of the expansion - to add more gallery space - is intact. The project will create more than 8,000 feet divided into five new rooms. Four will display objects from the Weisman's permanent collection, doubling the number of collection objects the Weisman can display at any given time.
A fifth gallery, funded by a $2 million gift from Target, will be dedicated to cross-disciplinary collaborations between University of Minnesota faculty, other scholars, and artists.
The expansion of the Weisman will require it to close for approximately a year, beginning in October 2010. It's slated to reopen to the public in it's expanded form in fall 2011.
For more background on this story, click here.
James May arms himself with some oversized Lego blocks. (Image courtesy Apartment Therapy)
British TV personality James May loves toys. He's even hosting a show called "Toy Stories." For the show May is building a house, complete with working toilet, out of Legos. He, and hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers started the project on August 1st on Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Surrey, and are set to complete the house this week. May says he plans to stay in the house for a couple of days, or until the house falls down - whichever comes sooner.
Image courtesy Apartment Therapy.
Some questions: Will the house be leak proof? If May doesn't like the layout, can he just unsnap and re-snap the walls in different locations? And will the house be plundered by jealous kids who want more blocks for their own projects?
Posted at 11:47 AM on September 15, 2009
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels believes in the power of architecture to transform the world. He calls it "architectural alchemy" when, through creative and highly adaptable design, an apartment building and parking lot are transformed into a lush, green mountainside. Ingels compares his team's design process to that of species' evolution, gradually selecting the model best suited to its natural environment. He says sustainable design should improve our quality of life, not make life harder. Ingels takes viewers through three different projects, including converting a barren middle-eastern island into a massive "carbon-neutral" development. (Oh and heads up: if you're hoping to see Copenhagen's national monument - the little mermaid - don't travel to Denmark between May and December 2010. Thanks to Ingels, the mermaid will be in Shanghai.)
Highpoint Center for Printmaking's new gallery space.
It's hard not to think of Highpoint Center for Printmaking as the Twin Cities' golden child amongst non-profit arts organizations.
Founders Cole Rogers and Carla McGrath opened the center in its original location (on Lyndale avenue in Minneapolis) eight years ago, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Despite the resulting economic crash the center thrived, providing classes on a variety of printing techniques and offering co-op memberships (and access to high quality equipment) to local artists. Highpoint gained a following with schools that brought their kids in for simple printing activities. It didn't take long before the center was buzzing, and eventually, too big for its britches.
Husband and wife team Cole Rogers and Carla McGrath.
Now, less than a decade later, Rogers and McGrath are putting the finishing touches on their new home (just a few blocks away from their old digs, on Lake street). Designed by architect Jim Dayton (the man behind the MacPhail Center for Music), the new HP is a simultaneously spare and expansive space. It takes advantage of natural light from both windows and large skylights in the ceiling. It's not showy; it's elegant and effective. And it's simply a lot bigger than what Rogers and McGrath used to have.
The new building has ample storage where co-op members can keep their work, and where Highpoint can archive the prints it's helped create. There's a private studio for visiting artists, a dark room and even a library for resource materials. Potentially most precious of all in this Minneapolis neighborhood, Highpoint can boast to have its own parking. McGrath says "it's like getting the house you always dreamed of."
Kids learn the basics of printing in the new Highpoint classroom. Photo courtesy of Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 2009.
Of course as many homeowners know, your dream house can come with a hefty mortgage. Rogers and McGrath were able to defray some costs with sweat equity and the help of friends and supporters. The new Highpoint Center eventually came in with a $3.5 million price tag, of which McGrath and Rogers still have $853,777 to raise. Their goal is to complete fundraising by the end of this year. But just as with their first home, their big opening comes at a rather grim financial time.
Senior Printmaker Zac Adams-Bliss adds paint to his roller as he works on an edition of a print by artist Lisa Nankivil.
Now that they've moved in, the printmakers are learning the quirks and idiosyncracies of the space. A print can be affected by so many subtle factors - the building's water quality, for one. So the next several weeks will be spent getting to know the nuances of their new home, and preparing for the artists and classes who will come once the center celebrates its grand opening on October 3.(1 Comments)
I just discovered the work of Urbanscreen, a group of German video installation artists, and I'm hooked. As you'll see in the piece above, Urbanscreen manages to combine movement, architecture, film and public art into something wholly engaging and fantastic.
Below is a piece titled "How would it be, if a house was dreaming?" which projects an incredibly convincing 3D video onto the building, creating what appears to be a living, breathing structure. The sounds of the bricks sliding in and out of place really just puts it over the top. Enjoy!
Gretchen Bierbaum and Jeremiah Albrecht have won the Guthrie Theater's 'Dream Wedding Giveaway" valued at more than $60,000. And once you watch their video, you'll understand why.
The wedding prize package includes:
· Wedding ceremony on Sunday, August 16, 2009 on the Guthrie's Wurtele Thrust Stage
· Reception, including food and beverage, for 150 guests in the Dowling Studio
· Wedding gown and tuxedo rental
· Wedding bands
· Ceremony and reception photography
· Custom designed invitations
· Floral arrangements
· Wedding night hotel room
· Honeymoon at the Radisson St. Martin Resort, Marina and Spa
Posted at 10:09 PM on July 7, 2009
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
In the New York Times, writer Nicolai Ouroussoff asks:
How old does a building have to be before we appreciate its value? And when does its cultural importance trump practical considerations?
But Ouroussoff could have as easily been referring to the old Guthrie theater, designed by architect Ralph Rapson. Both buildings represented unique architectural visions, but both buildings were also in a state of disrepair. And both buildings are of an era that's a little too recent to inspire concensus over their historic value. Ourroussoff continues:
...all too often, private developments like the Capsule Tower, no matter how historically important, are regarded in terms of property rights. They are about business first, not culture. Governments don't like to interfere; the voices of preservationists are shrugged off. "Want to save it?" the prevailing sentiment goes. "Pay for it."
Until that mentality changes, landmarks like Kurokawa's will continue to be threatened by the wrecking ball, and the cultural loss will be tremendous. This is not only an architectural tragedy, it is also a distortion of history.
While preservationists did argue for the rehabilitation of the Guthrie Theater, the Walker Art Center (the owner of the land it stood on) deemed it too expensive, and not in line with museum's core mission.
Now, the most prominent set of buildings by Rapson left standing are at the Riverside Plaza apartment complex. They too are controversial, in a state of disrepair, and represent a modern vision that has since faded. It seems inevitable that they, too, will someday be torn down to make way for a new, more profitable development. Then what will we have left of Rapson's vision? Will we have distorted our own architectural history?
Posted at 2:00 PM on July 1, 2009
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
American architect Daniel Libeskind has high standards for architecture. In his talk at TED earlier this year (and just released on the web), he talks about the traits he wants to see in buildings today: optimism vs pessimism, raw vs refined, emotional vs cool, etc.
It should be noted that Libeskind is first and foremost an architectural theorist; he completed his first building at the age of 52.
The Minnesota Historical Society has announced it's reducing hours at some historic sites and museums statewide (including Fort Snelling and the Mill City Museum) beginning July 1. The change in hours comes in the wake of the state legislature cutting its funding of the MHS' operating budget by 8.6%. While hours at many sites are being reduced, no site is being completely closed.
Sites with new hours of operation are:
Alexander Ramsey House, St. Paul: Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays noon-3 p.m.
Charles A. Lindbergh HouseHistoric Site , Little Falls: Thursdays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Forest History Center, Grand Rapids: Thursdays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Historic Forestville, Preston: Fridays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturdays 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Historic Fort Snelling, St. Paul: Tuesdays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Jeffers Petroglyphs, Comfrey: Thursdays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Mill City Museum, Minneapolis: Mondays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Mille Lacs Indian Museum, Onamia: Wednesdays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
North West Company Fur Post, Pine City: Thursdays-Saturdays and Mondays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Oliver H. Kelley Farm, Elk River: Wednesdays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Sibley House Historic Site, Mendota: First and Third Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Hours are effective through Labor Day 2009
Check out Steve Mullis' lovely slideshow of the new Hindu temple opening in Maple Grove this weekend. As MPR's Curtis Gilbert reports, Minnesota is home to over 20,000 hindus, and the temple seeks to welcome them all.
The Vatican has designated the Cathedral of Saint Paul to be the first national shrine in honor of the Apostle Paul. This will be the first national shrine in the State of Minnesota and the only national shrine in North America dedicated to honor Saint Paul.
According to canon (church) law, "The term shrine signifies a church or other sacred place to which the faithful make pilgrimages for a particular pious reason with the approval of the local ordinary (bishop)."
As Twin Cities Archbishop Nienstedt pointed out to the vatican in his request for the shrine designation, tens of thousands of people already visit the Cathedral every year. Of course with the new designation, the Cathedral staff are expecting the numbers of visitors to increase further.
Posted at 11:17 AM on May 26, 2009
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Architecture
Architecture critic Larry Millett has two new books out detailing the buildings of the Lake District in Minneapolis and Summit Avenue in St. Paul. MPR's Tim Nelson went with Millett to check out some of his favorites, and you can see the results here.
(My personal favorite is the home of "The Castle Jeweler" - an original White Castle restaurant - with turrets and all.)
MPR Photo/Tim Nelson