Posts tagged with "Minnesota":

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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. https://vimeo.com/153434141 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:
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Hargreaves unveils Downtown East Commons, a park in the shadow of the Minnesota Vikings

Last year Minneapolis broke ground on a major mixed-use development centered around a park next to the under-construction stadium that will house the Minnesota Vikings football team. Now dubbed “The Commons,” the 4.2-acre park was the subject of a public meeting last week, at which its design came into clearer focus. Designed by San Francisco's Hargreaves Associates, the site has a lot going on, in the words of MinnPost's Marlys Harris: “a café, promenades, a Great Lawn, a lesser lawn, a water feature, play areas for kids, a stage, garden-y places, trees (of course), places to compete at bocce and chess, kiosks, an ice rink in winter, tables with umbrellas, moveable chairs, public art and benches and terraces where public snogging could occur.” It will also accommodate fan festivals and other Vikings-related events on game days. Hargreaves fielded a reported 2,750 survey responses while designing the park, whose budget is projected at $22 million. Only a small portion of that has been raised, and public officials have said the space will be financed by private donations. As public discussion of the democratically designed space continues, budget adjustments may align with Harris' call "to survey the public on what they could live without." One remaining question is whether Portland Avenue, which currently bisects the park site, will remain open to automobile traffic.
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Plans for 30 miles of protected bike lanes in downtown Minneapolis put bike plans in your city to shame

A plan to add 30.7 miles of protected bike lanes to city streets by 2020 goes before Minneapolis City Council this month, potentially bringing the total of dedicated bikeways to 44 miles over the next five years. Bike infrastructure in the Twin Cities is nationally recognized, but not everyone in the region is convinced it's a wise investment, reports the Star-Tribune:
Protected bikeways represent a victory for cycling activists and are a gamble that at least $6 million in new taxpayer funding will increase ridership.
Most of the new bike lanes are proposed for the downtown core. None of the protected lanes scheduled to be completed by 2017 lie north of 26th Avenue North or south of East 28th Street—a decision transportation officials said makes sense if the goal is to increase ridership and improve access to the greatest number of people. Government financing at the city, county, and federal levels has topped $6 million. All of the protected bikeways recommended through 2020 are estimated to cost somewhere between $6.4 million and $11.6 million, but the Star-Tribune pointed out that the city estimates the cost of reconstructing a single mile of major street for general traffic at more than $8 million. Another 12 miles are proposed for construction after 2020. PDF: [planned long-term bicycle network]