Posts tagged with "Minnesota":

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Letter to the Editor: Minnesota AIA leaders on the murder of George Floyd and destruction in the Twin Cities

We grieve and protest the murder of George Floyd.

We see the soul-deep exhaustion and pain of the Black members of our architecture community and of our broader communities.

And we realize the weight of this hurt is not just because the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer was so inhumane, so merciless—it is because of the ever-evolving and unrelenting racism in daily life; the layers of disrespect, discrimination, and degradation built up over years, decades, generations, and centuries. As a predominantly White profession and organization, and as individuals, we recognize that through our own actions and inactions, through our own lack of care and courage, we have contributed to this exhaustion and pain.

We own our responsibility for doing too little in the past and needing to do so much more in the future to address the systemic inequities that pervade all aspects of life and work in Minnesota, including the practice of architecture.

People matter more than buildings. This must always be so.

We are also saddened by the destruction happening in the cities we love. We know, better than most, that buildings are extensions of people. Buildings are designed—by architects—to serve particular human needs. Buildings are designed—by architects—to protect the health, safety, and welfare of those who enter them and those whose neighborhoods they become woven into.

Nearly 300 businesses have been damaged so far, some of them destroyed completely. We know Lake Street. We know University Avenue. They are the connective tissue of the Twin Cities—vital and vibrant in the way “Main Street” is for smaller towns. We know that the areas of West Broadway, Penn Avenue, and other affected sites in our neighborhoods include the restaurants, bars, barbershops, convenience stores, grocery stores, nonprofits, health clinics, libraries, and cultural centers that are as much a part of our home as our own front steps.

We are angered by the mounting evidence that many of the violent actions and indiscriminate destruction of the past week appear to have been led by White instigators, some from outside our state, whose intentions are to leverage the righteous fury of Minnesotans for the purposes of fueling broader chaos and extremist causes.

Our brokenness is on display to the world. Peaceful and sustained appeals to our shared humanity and our moral compass following the deaths of Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, and so many others did not change us enough. If the video showing five excruciating minutes of George Floyd dying and the destruction of the built environment we feel such responsibility for does not change us, what will?

“Architects believe they can change the world.” When this is said, it is often with cynicism. Yet, there is another way to say it: “Architects believe we can change the world.” What comes next in the wake of all that has happened depends upon us shedding our cynicism and lifting up what we already know: that the best of the built environment, the best of any product, system, or community, has always been the result of deep collaboration; and that the more diverse, equitable and inclusive the collaboration, the more creative and lasting the solutions. Instead of architects assuming we know what is right and jumping in to assert our experience, expertise, and good intentions, we need to step back, listen, and be ready to learn, unlearn, and adapt.

Rebuilding what’s been lost is impossible—and it’s the wrong goal. The buildings, systems, and relationships that existed before came about through design and construction. Before rebuilding, the architecture community must join with others in rethinking, reimagining, and redesigning what’s next. Together, we can change our communities and ourselves for the better. But this will only be true if we reckon with our shared history, if we keep our hearts from hardening, and if we move forward with resolve and humility.

 Karen Lu, AIA, NOMA, and Mary-Margaret Zindren, CAE. Karen is the president of AIA Minnesota and Mary-Margaret is the EVP/Executive Director of AIA Minnesota, AIA Minneapolis, AIA St. Paul, and AIA Northern Minnesota. The leadership of all AIA chapters in Minnesota stand united in this message.

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Allianz Field, Minnesota United’s new home, glows with PTFE-coated facade

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Completed in March 2019, Allianz Field is a 346,000-square-foot soccer stadium located centrally between Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The project was executed by Populous, Walter P Moore (WPM), Mortenson Construction, and FabriTec Structures, and it features a facade of woven fiberglass clear-laminated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)—effectively a tensile membrane capable of shielding the audience from the elements while transmitting twice as much light as other PTFE membranes.
According to the design team, the client initially approached Populous and Walter P Moore to produce a stadium with a translucent facade. The group was aware of a clear PTFE laminate being developed by French manufacturer Saint Gobain—now known as Illuminate 28—and facilitated the shipment of moderately sized samples from the company. These samples were used to construct a 6-by-6-foot mockup with the material to gauge its tensile and lighting qualities. The design and construction of the stadium occurred as the facade material was being developed.
  • Facade Manufacturer Saint-Gobain
  • Architect Populous
  • Facade Installer Mortenson GC FabriTec Structures
  • Facade Consultant Walter P Moore
  • Location St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Date of Completion March 2019
  • System PTFE-coated fiberglass membrane suspended over steel structural system
  • Products Illuminate 28
The enclosure system of the stadium consists of three interconnected layers: the exterior skin of PTFE-laminated fabric, a secondary backup system of steel driver pipes and armatures, and a circular colonnade of steel columns.
In abstract terms, this enclosure system sounds simple enough. However, unlike rigid cladding materials, the tensile strength of fabric is ultimately determined by the 3-D shape it is stretched into. “We never knew if our fabric shapes would work or not from an engineering standpoint until after the design was complete,” said Populous associate principal Phil Kolbo. “To achieve the design, Populous and WPM had to set up a cohesive process that could design, test, and modify the supporting steel quickly and iteratively to satisfy both the design and engineering requirements of the skin.”
In total, over 90,000 square feet of fabric wrap the stadium. Due to budget constraints, the design team had to maximize the spans between structural components. Utilizing Rhino and Grasshopper 3-D imaging software programs, WPM created nearly 50,000 analysis elements to locate sites where the fabric was overstressed. This information was then exported from Rhino to Tekla software and delivered to the steel fabricator.
“Once we had a fabric and driver pipe design, then it was supporting the process throughout getting the owner, Mortenson, and FabriTec comfortable with the material and construction process,” said Walter P Moore principal Justin Barton. “It started in February 2016 and went all the way through FabriTec’s final installation and punch list in late 2018, nearly 24 months of continual conversation.”
Populous Associate Principal Phil Kolbo, Walter P Moore Project Manager Justin Barton, Mortenson GC Project Engineer Nate Weingart, and FabriTec Structures Executive Vice President Tom Wuerch, will be joining the panel "Stadium Rising: The Complexities of Allianz Field’s Woven PTFE Facade" at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Minneapolis conference on July 24.
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Saint Paul, Minnesota pledges to make its buildings carbon neutral by 2050

Saint Paul, Minnesota has set an ambitious goal to reduce its carbon footprint by making all public buildings carbon neutral by 2030 and all private buildings carbon neutral by 2050, as first reported by Twin Cities Pioneer Press. St. Paul officials found that 52 percent of all carbon emissions were related to structures and the energy needed to power, heat, and cool buildings, according to Pioneer Press. Another 37 percent derived from transportation-related emissions. In an effort to encourage a reduction in a building’s carbon footprint, St. Paul has created a competition for private building owners called “Race to Reduce”. Participants monitor and compare their energy use to comparable structures across the city. The city council also recently approved a resolution that outlines general goals such as inspiring a culture of energy stewardship, working with major institutions such as colleges to set energy goals that align with the city, and promoting efficiency in large buildings. Another key aspect is lowering the energy burden on low-income households, ensuring that no household spends more than four percent of its income on energy costs, said Russ Stark, St. Paul’s chief resilience officer, to Pioneer Press. Small changes such as switching off air conditioning at night, as well as buying more renewably-sourced energy from community solar gardens, will help the city achieve its goal. Under the Trump administration and its decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, cities around the U.S. have been setting their own clean energy goals and emission reduction projections. St. Paul joins cities like Seattle and Boston, which have both declared a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged $4.5 million to help cover the U.S.’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement.  
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Mall of America pitches massive $200M water park

Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, the second largest mall in the U.S., is eyeing a $150-to-$250 million expansion in the form of an enormous indoor water park. On Tuesday, multinational conglomerate and Mall of America owners Triple Five pitched the DLR Group-designed, 225,000-square foot water park to Bloomington’s Port Authority, asking if the city–and taxpayers–would be willing to foot the bill. The project is still speculative, but Triple Five’s proposal would lease a portion of the mall’s forthcoming expansion to the city, who would also lend Triple Five the money they need to build the park and also hire the group to operate it. The proposed public-private partnership was raised out of necessity, as Triple Five has expressed that borrowing money through the city was the only way to capture low enough interest rates for the water park to be profitable. DLR Group has been tapped to design the park, and from the rendering released by Triple Five, the design seems heavily influenced by the World Waterpark at the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. The park’s current iteration would replace what is currently a parking lot, and the main building resembles a glassy aircraft hangar set within a semi-circular roundabout leading to parking further inland. Continuing the motif, curvilinear sky bridges will wrap around the site and connect the park to the rest of the mall’s complexes. While it’s too early in the planning process to confirm what kinds of attractions the park would hold, pools, wave generators, and a tangle of waterslides are all likely to make the cut. City officials will be conducting a feasibility study of the park, including the logistics of constructing and financing the park, and if it can remain viable in the long term. The water park is just one piece of a potential expansion, with Triple Five also seeking to possibly build hotels, convention centers, or a sports arena on the eastern-most portion of the mall’s property. While the fate of the Mall of America water park might be uncertain, Triple Five has been keeping busy with similar projects elsewhere; the $1.2 billion American Dream Meadowlands megamall will be opening in Rutherford, New Jersey next year with a water park of its own.
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Minnesota city reneges on Satanic monument in public park

After some back-and-forth, a Minnesota city has revoked permission for a monument to Satan in a public park. Belle Plaine officials nixed a permit for the monument, which was slated for a dedicated free speech zone in the city's Veterans Memorial Park. Officials sanctioned the area for free expression after residents complained about a statue of a kneeling soldier and a cross, a symbol some said violated the separation of church and state. In response, the Salem, Massachusetts–based Satanic Temple commissioned Albuquerque artist Chris Andres to design the memorial, which features an upside-down helmet atop a black cube etched with pentagrams. The piece is supposed to honor veterans who do not identify with any religion. The city approved the design, and agreed to help with installation. The sculpture, which was custom-designed to comply with city rules, would have been the nation's first Satanic monument on public property. The StarTribune reported the Satanists are seeking $35,000 in damages to cover the commission it paid to Andres for his work. Satanic Temple attorney Martin Flax claimed that Belle Plaine breached a contract and infringed on the temple's First Amendment rights. The city's counsel disputes this interpretation. After a series of protests and counter-protests, the monument wasn't allowed to go up at all, and the cross on the still-standing veteran's memorial has been removed. “We’re going to have a very difficult time finding another use for this,” temple co-founder Doug Mesner told the StarTribune. “It’s all at our loss.”
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AIA Minnesota announces 2016 Honor Awards winners

Seven projects were announced as winners of the 2016 AIA Minnesota Honor Awards at the 82nd AIA Minnesota Annual Convention and Exhibition. Jurors choose from 79 submissions, all from Minnesota-based architecture firms. The projects were divided into five categories: Architecture, Interiors, Restoration & Renovation, Urban Design & Master Planning, and Small Project. This year’s jury included Santa Monica-based Julie Eizenberg, FAIA, founding principal at Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Boston-based Sheila Kennedy, FAIA, founding partner, KVA Matx, and Vancouver-based Patricia Patkau, Hon. FAIA, partner at Patkau Architects. The Awards will be presented Friday, December 2nd, at the 2016 Awards Dinner. The AIA Minnesota 2016 Gold Medal will also be awarded to Robert C. Mack, FAIA, of McDonald & Mack Architects. The Young Architects Awards, Special Awards, 25 Year Award, Affordable Housing Design Award, and Louis Lundgren Award will also be presented. Along with the project seen above, the seven Honor Award-winning projects include:
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Initial plans emerge for former Ford assembly plant in St. Paul, Minnesota

A vision for Ford Motor Company’s former Twin Cities Assembly Plant is beginning to materialize as the City of St. Paul has recently unveiled initial studies for the site. While discussion around the site has been underway for nearly 10 years, it seems that the project is poised to start moving in earnest. In a public meeting, the city outlined what the future may hold for what they are calling "Ford Site: A 21st Century Community." The 135 acres of land along the Mississippi River in the Highland community was an assembly plant from 1925 through 2011. Now the plan is to build a mixed-use development which will focus on and interconnected system of streets, bikeways, and walkways. Ford-and-CP-Properties-Map The information presented by the city included a rough timeline of the development, outlines of economic and environmental impact, and a plan for the streets and park space on the site. Much of the information was gathered and assembled during the course of a dozen public meetings and presentation that have happened over the last two years. One of the largest concerns surrounding the Twin Cities Assembly Plant project has been the likely increase in traffic in the area. The city has assured skeptics that new dedicated transit and improved space for alternative transportation would be provided on the site. Though the city is playing a large role in communicating information to the public, St. Paul does not own the site. It is still owned by Ford, who plan to market and sell the land for development. Ford, working with the city, is currently running studies on the site and planning remediation. It is expected that Ford will actively start the search for buyers in 2017. The presented timeline puts developer engagement in 2020, with the physical project beginning in 2021. While no designs have been released, the city has stated that the development would “reflect the heritage of the Ford plant and its employees.” The city has also stated that there will be a mix of tradition and “modern” building forms and materials in the development.
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A Minnesota house takes cues from Scandinavian design theory

In his book Nordic Light: Modern Scandinavian Architecture, Henry Plummer, professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, writes eloquently about the singular qualities of “Nordic light” in the northern regions of the world. “His book is also about the ways in which buildings are designed to capture light, which is incredibly important in northern climates,” explained John Dwyer, principal of the Minneapolis firm D/O (Dwyer Oglesbay).

Plummer’s insights and “an ancient Scandinavian light trick,” Dwyer said, inspired key aspects of his design of a modern, 1,750-square-foot, two-story home in St. Paul, Minnesota, which won a 2015 American Institute of Architects Minnesota Honor Award. He sited the structure on its tiny infill lot to capture “the diffuse and blue winter light” and positioned “a lot of glass to the east and the south, to draw in the most intense sunlight in the winter.”

“We warmed the first two bounces of light inside the house with soothing materials—in this case, white oak on the ceilings and floors,” Dwyer continued. He convinced the clients to go with an all-white interior, including walls, kitchen countertops, and appliances “so that the light bounces around as much as possible.” Because his clients, an empty-nester couple, were interested in Scandinavian modern, they trusted him with the restrained interior. “In fact, they were really excited about the minimalist materials palette, right down the white fixtures,” Dwyer said.

On the first level of the house, Dwyer sited the kitchen in the center, adjacent to an outdoor sunken sitting room, which is surrounded by a landscape of prairie grasses with oak and aspen trees for privacy. A sitting area at the front of the house is tucked into the site, with a band of windows for light and views. An open-tread oak staircase embraced by a translucent white-plastic rail with geometric cutouts leads to the second level.

Dwyer put the main living area on the second floor, with a white-oak-veneer bench running beneath large windows that look into the treetops. Next to the living space is a roof deck over the garage. “The clients really wanted to live up in the air, with views of the oaks and the Minneapolis skyline,” he said. In the upper-level master bedroom, a band of windows provides views to a grove of trees across the street. Dark felt carpet tiles absorb and mitigate heat gain.

Dwyer’s use of oak throughout the house gives it a distinctive synergy that heightens the clarity of its honest, modern sensibility. “I love studying Scandinavian architecture to understand how other people solved problems similar to those we have here,” Dwyer said, referencing the Midwest. “Then I like to bring those solutions into our modern world. I believe in continuing to evolve modernism and appreciate architects who look back into their roots to find their version of what modernism can be.”

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Prince’s compound, Paisley Park, will open as a museum on Oct. 6

Four months after the singer Prince died, representatives of his estate announced that his Paisley Park recording studio and residence will be turned into a museum and will open to the public for tours starting on October 6. Graceland Holdings, the company that runs Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate as a visitor attraction, will operate Paisley Park, located in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Tickets will go on sale starting Friday at $38.50 per person. Prince Rogers Nelson died on April 21 of a drug overdose and his body was found in an elevator on the property. Bremer Trust, the administrator of his estate, and Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson, disclosed plans to convert the property into a museum this week. It will be a new chapter for the $10 million, 65,000-square-foot compound at 7801 Audubon Road. It was designed by California architect Bret Thoeny of BOTO Design Architects, named after Prince’s 1985 song, and opened on September 11, 1987, when Prince was 29. During a roughly one-hour tour, visitors will be able to see Prince’s recording and editing studios, rehearsal rooms soundstage and concert hall, as well as artifacts such as his wardrobe, musical instruments, motorcycles, and awards. “Opening Paisley Park is something that Prince always wanted to do and was actively working on," Nelson said in a press release issued by Bremer Trust. "Only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during his lifetime," Nelson said. "Now fans from around the world will be able to experience Prince's world for the first time, as we open the doors to this incredible place."
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Historic St. Paul church for sale comes with interred body

When buying a building that is in a historic preservation district there are many considerations to take into account, including zoning restrictions, restoration, and often, accessibility concerns. In the case of one St. Paul Church, now on the market, add deceased body to the list. Shuttered a year ago, the historic Episcopal St. Paul’s on-the-Hill in St. Paul, Minnesota is up for sale. One caveat to purchase is that the building comes with the body of one of its former priests, which is not allowed to be moved. Located in a national and city historic preservation district, the church cannot be torn down, and the exterior cannot be altered. On the market for $1.69 million, the Gothic-Revival building comes with the pews, organ, a large rose window, 33 other stained glass windows, a saintly statuary, and the body of Priest John Wright. Wright was the priest during the building of the church and was buried in a crawlspace crypt under the sanctuary in 1919. The body cannot be moved because it is considered a “historic non-operating cemetery” according to real estate agent Jay Nord in a video discussing the sale with the Pioneer Press. Founded in the Lowertown neighborhood in 1857, the entire building was dismantled, redesigned and moved to its current location on Summit Avenue in the early nineteen-teens. The church’s designer, the École des Beaux-Arts–trained French immigrant Emmanuel Masqueray, is also the designer of the city’s notable Cathedral of St. Paul and the Basilica of St. Mary. Along with his church designs, Masqueray was also the chief designer of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Though the church comes with some atypical “features”, it has other qualities that the seller hopes will attract a buyer in the coming month. Most notably, the acoustics of the nave are known to be exceptional, making the 6,000 square foot space suitable for a small concert venue. The property also includes 11,000 square feet of office and meeting space in a newer addition. With the building safe from demolition and alteration, preservationists need not worry about its future, yet it will still require a very special buyer who is willing to take on the unique responsibility of owning this building.
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James Corner–designed pedestrian street, the Nicollet Mall, gets budgetary rethink in Minneapolis

MinneapolisJames Corner–designed Nicollet Mall redevelopment project has hit a speedbump as an initial construction bid has come in at over $24 million over the $35 million construction budget. The Nicollet Mall is a 50-year-old pedestrian and transit street in the heart of Minneapolis. Historically the commercial center of the city, the mall was given over to pedestrians, buses, and taxis in 1965 in an attempt to bring shoppers back from the suburbs, and the growing popularity of enclosed malls. Edina, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis, is home to the first enclosed modern mall in the U.S., designed by Victor Gruen in 1956. The Nicollet Mall was given a makeover in the 1980s as well, but it has been nearly 30 years since the Mall has seen any major improvements. The new plan, based on a competition winning design by James Corner Field Operations, incorporates a series of event spaces along the street to engage the public. A two-block mirrored canopy walkway, a “reading room,” improved transit stations, and a theater in the round will activate the 12-block stretch of the downtown public space. Each end of the Mall will also include a “Wood” where more intensive green spaces will include larger native trees. The overall planned budget for the two year project is $50, but with only one construction company submitting a bid for $59 million for the construction alone, the projects organizers are having to rethink parts of their plan. The first step that may be taken is rethinking material choices for the project. One of the main sticking points in the budget is the plan for eight acres of the Mall to be paved in custom concrete tile pavers. Officials say that the main design elements for the project will not be sacrificed though in the new plan, and more bids will be solicited in February based on an altered design. To entice a more varied size of contractors, instead of one single bid, it is also likely that the project will be broken down in to smaller, more manageable segments. Major construction is still expected to begin in spring of 2016, with the completion date set for summer 2017.  
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Pictorial> Minnesota opens first public monument dedicated to military families

After four years in the making, St. Paul, Minnesota earlier this year opened a new tribute to the military families—the first monument aimed directly at the family members of those in the armed forces, as opposed to the service men and women themselves. The Minnesota Military Family Tribute was conceived and bankrolled by the nonprofit Minnesota Military Family Foundation, founded in 2004 by entrepreneur and Minnesota Timberwolves co-owner Bill Popp. Popp hired HGA to realize the project, after a jury working with the Capitol Area Architectural Planning Board selected the Minneapolis-based designers as the winners of a public competition. “The Military Family Tribute will forever stand as a personal thank you to each spouse, significant other, child, parent, grandparent, sibling and any other person a soldier defines as family who provides the true foundation of support to our military personnel,” Popp's organization, the Minnesota Military Family Foundation, said in a statement when the designs were unveiled in 2011. Major design elements include a sweeping walkway with seasonal landscape designs, 87 story stones representing all of the state's counties, and a Gold Star table where “All are welcome to the table to share gratitude and to remember fallen service members and Gold Star Families,” according to the project description. Via the architects, here's a gallery of images by photographer George Heinrich showing the completed project: