Posts tagged with "Minnesota":

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Julie Snow Architects changes name, promotes new co-principal

One of the country’s most prominent female-led firms has named a new co-principal. Julie Snow Architects will now go by Snow Kreilich Architects. Matthew Kreilich, one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's "40 Under 40” in 2013, is now a partner and design principal of the Twin Cities-based firm. Kreilich has worked at Julie Snow Architects for 10 years. Snow’s work includes Target's Minneapolis headquarters, the Lake Superior Weekend House, and the U.S. point of entry in Warroad, Minnesota. The firm is part of a design team recently selected to lead an overhaul of Minneapolis "main street" (Nicollet Mall), along with James Corner Field Operations and Coen+Partners. (Julie Snow also serves on A|N’s Midwest editorial advisory board.) The firm also updated their web address: www.snowkreilich.com.
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Josh Lewandowski’s Year of Pointless Architectural Diagrams

Josh Lewandowski, Minnesota-based architect and founder of furniture design firm Nordeast Industries, is on a mission to create beautifully complex, yet utterly meaningless architectural diagrams. He has started a blog where he will post one meaningless diagram each day for a year. On September 7th, he launched Pointless Diagrams, where he publishes his most eccentric sketches inspired by his own perceptions of architecture, furniture, engineering, Legos, cereal boxes, and more. The doodles portray a series of illusory architectural illustrations and imaginary structures open to interpretation by its viewers. Having always drawn abstract 3D sketches of things, Lewandowski chose to create this blog in order to convey how useful these meaningless doodles end up being. Lewandowski studied art and architecture at the University of Minnesota, and received his Masters of Architecture from Yale University. According to Dezeen, it was there that one of his professors told him, “erasing is for wimps.” Inspired by this philosophy, the illustrations on his blog are drawn on acid-free paper solely with pen and ink. The drawings consist of a series of diagrams, arrows, figures and shapes that seem to portray some sort of logical relationship between things, but that are, in reality, merely un-calculated and spontaneous. Until next september, his blog will continue to chronicle his year-long attempt to draw one new, meaningless diagram daily, "just 'cause."
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Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza escapes demolition after preservationist lawsuit

Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza, a classic but poorly maintained “park plaza” (to borrow the term its designer, landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg, coined to describe it), has escaped demolition, preservationists announced Friday. The Cultural Landscape Foundation said they’d reached a settlement to preserve the 1975 public space, ending a lawsuit brought by TCLF and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota in June 2012. It awaits the signature of Mayor R.T. Rybak. Last year, against objections from a coalition of preservationists led by TCLF, Peavey Plaza was slated to be razed. A rift had developed one year prior, after city-led redevelopment plans threatened key elements of the original design, prompting Friedberg and TCLF president Charles Birnbaum to split from the team tasked with bringing the aging modernist plaza up to contemporary standards. “Specific details beyond the general design concept have yet to be established,” read a TCLF press release. “The parties have conducted substantial work with each other on a rehabilitation of the Plaza in good faith with a focus on preservation of the historic elements of the Plaza, while permitting the Plaza to be changed and/or modified in order to achieve some of the objectives of the City.” Peavey Plaza landed on the National Register of Historic Places in January — one of a small fraction of sites on that list with significance in landscape architecture.
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Artists and City Government Collaborate for Urban Improvement in St. Paul

In St. Paul, Minnesota, public art is valued as more than just decoration. Susannah Schouweiler of Walker Magazine reported that the city has been proactive in the encouragement of artist-city government collaboration for nearly three decades, long before initiatives like ArtPlace became popular. City Artist in Residence positions exist on the government council, City Art Collaboratory puts artists in conversation with scientists to embed themselves in the “ecology” of the city, and art start-ups are encouraging business growth on “Central Corridor.” This cross-disciplinary relationship is only expanding in what Schouweiler calls St. Paul’s “quiet revolution in public art” and the city is reaping the benefits. Public Art St. Paul, a non-profit set up in 1987, provides private funding for creatives to hold City Artist in Residence positions within the city government. These artists are incorporated into city-led projects and initiatives, working with government officials, engineers, and public works officers on various capital projects, which create or renovate public buildings, public spaces, and streetscapes within St Paul. Since the enactment of a 2009 ordinance for the support of public art, St. Paul has integrated its artists even more into key planning, development, and improvement projects. Current resident city artist Marcus Young has worked directly with the Public Works Department since 2008. His public art initiatives have included Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk, a successful idea to replace broken sidewalks with new sections inscribed with poetry. The City Artist in Residence program was expanded in December 2012. Young now has a team of two other artists with which he works, Amanda Lovelee, a visual artist, and Sarah West, who is focused on improving streetspaces with "architectural and large-scale public art installations." Additionally, grassroots initiatives by local artists have brought pop-up shops to retail vacancies, explored an artistic reaction to the current light rail construction, and pondered an artist’s ability to improve the ecology of the Mississippi River. Exemplifying a forward-thinking relationship, the Public Art Ordinance states: “Public art strengthens public places and enhances and promotes Saint Paul's identity as a livable and creative city and a desirable place to live, work and visit.” With a government whose attitude toward art encourages these conversations, St. Paul continues to beautify, develop, and improve its public places.
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Minneapolis Streetcar Plans Move Along, Renderings Released

This week a city council panel voted to advance Minneapolis’ plans for a 3.4-mile streetcar line along Nicollet and Central Avenues. The Transportation and Public Works committee’s thumbs up clears the way for a full City Council vote next week. Renderings show preliminary plans for a $200 million streetcar line instead of a bus route. About $60 million of that comes from a state-approved “value capture district,” (similar to TIF funding). The rest will come from funding not yet identified, but could include a transit sales tax. Minneapolis’ move comes alongside streetcar developments in Cincinnati and in Kansas City, among other cities.    
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Carry a Piece of the Minneapolis Metrodome Wherever You Go

What's sure to become the ultimate tailgating accessory for Minneapolis Vikings football fans this year has hit the market at the Minnesota State Fair. Thanks to Duluth Pack, makers of bags and tents, the collapsed roof of the Minneapolis Metrodome has been reborn as a duffel and shell bag, appropriately part of the "Domer" collection. The stadium's white fabric dome collapsed in 2010 under the weight of Minneapolis' plentiful snow, the fourth time such an event has occurred. The torn remnants of the roof were put up for sale and businessmen, Jim Cunningham and Tim O’Phelan, picked up the inner of two layers of the roof on a "total whim" for $4,000, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The roof's outer layer was sold to farmers to cover their fields and a small portion went to sports fans looking for a momento. After a few years in storage, the three-acre inner layer of the Teflon-coated fiberglass covering has been cleaned and sliced into panels for the limited edition bags. Cunningham and O'Phelan approached Duluth Pack realizing the material's rugged potential. "You can’t rip it. It’s waterproof. It’s kind of like the materials Duluth Pack uses," O'Phelan told the News Tribune. If you can't make it to the Minnesota State Fair, the bags are also offered for sale online at Duluth Pack's website. Bags range in price from $160 to nearly $500. Minneapolis is currently moving forward with plans for a dramatic new Vikings stadium designed by architecture firm HKS. AN recently sat down for a Q+A with the architect working on the project, Bryan Trubey. [H/T Ballpark Digest.]
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Building Community in the Twin Cities’ Suburbs

The economic hangover of suburban sprawl is well-documented in many U.S. metropolitan areas. But the cultural identity of inner-ring suburbs may too be shifting, as towns like those in Minneapolis' suburbs attempt to restore a sense of community. The Star-Tribune reports on two such towns, north suburban Columbia Heights and Brooklyn Park, that are taking a new approach to neighborhood building — call it reaching across the white-picket fence. Columbia Heights is launching a neighborhood association pilot project meant to connect longtime residents with newcomers, who live increasingly in townhouses recently built on former industrial sites in the city. Brooklyn Park, too, hired a neighborhood relations specialist to help “create neighborhoods, working with residents in a grass-roots way,” the city’s community engagement coordinator told the Star-Tribune. They point to nearby St. Louis Park as a prime example of a people-centered suburb. Suburbs across the nation are increasingly diverse and increasingly afflicted by problems thought to be the domain of inner cities, like widespread poverty and crime (note diversity and crime are inversely correlated — as an area’s percentage of foreign born residents rises, its crime tends to fall, according to the Brookings Institution). They’re even, paradoxically, increasingly urban. So it looks like whether or not the actions of Columbia Heights and Brooklyn Park pay off, the Minneapolis suburbs will look very different in 10 years either way.
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Modern House by Romaldo Giurgola Poised for Teardown in the Twin Cities

The fate of an 8,500-square-foot house designed in 1970 by architect Romaldo Giurgola in Wayzata, Minnesota hangs in the balance following  what the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported as 2012's priciest single-family housing deal in the Twin Cities. Just months after paying $10 million for the lakefront property, the new owner, Cargill heir Donald C. MacMillan, has presented plans that could include the building's demolition. While considering the possibility of relocating or repurposing the modernist residence, MacMillan could choose to replace it with a new larger structure. He hopes to build a 9,095-square-foot stone and wood home and a 2,086-square-foot guest and pool house to replace the modern structure. Plans also include a lakefront 250-square-foot boathouse. The main feature of the existing home is a 24-foot cube with deliberately placed windows that capture light and views throughout the day. Quirky, curved sections unravel from the cube, spreading the living areas out into the lush backyard. The original owners had asked Giurgola, “a next generation architect,” to create a dramatic backdrop for their large art collection.
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Minneapolis’ Embattled Peavey Plaza Lands on National Register

Peavey Plaza, downtown Minneapolis’ celebrated modernist square completed in 1975, fell into disrepair—two of its three iconic fountains are no longer operational, and its sunken “garden rooms” have helped harbor illegal activity. Landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg’s plaza became the focus of a high-profile preservation battle two years ago, with The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) leading the charge to rehabilitate Peavey and city officials pushing for demolition. Now TCLF has announced the plaza has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The “park plaza” style Friedberg forged is evident in Peavey’s blend of hard concrete squares and American-style green spaces. It joins 88,000 sites of architectural heritage on the list, only 2,500 of which have significance in landscape architecture. Preservationists sued the city last year to contest city council’s claim that there were “no reasonable alternatives” to demolition, hoping to win protection under Minnesota’s Environmental Rights Act.
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Minnesota Taps HKS for New Vikings Stadium

Twin Cities sports fans may be most excited about Sunday’s victory on the field, but a twinge of that satisfaction could be due to the team’s new stadium. Minnesota’s Sports Facilities Authority chose HKS architects to design a new home for the NFL’s Vikings. HKS also designed Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Cowboys Stadium in their home base of Dallas—two of the most high-profile NFL construction projects in recent memory. A decision on the lead contractor for the project has yet to come down, but news of the $975 million stadium’s designer is the latest announcement in a long and at-times contentious political process that subsidizes professional sports in Minneapolis. Face-painted fans turned out to city council meetings as the deal cleared hurdles. With respected stadium architects on board, supporters may anticipate validation for their use of public funds. Those opposed maintain only time will tell, no matter the designer.
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Spiritual Construction: Minneapolis Cemetery Blends Old and New

When a bucolic cemetery in Minneapolis began to near capacity, its owners worried a large expansion might dampen the landscape’s pastoral charm. Despite its comparatively large footprint, the 24,500-square-foot Garden Mausoleum in Minneapolis’ Lakewood Cemetery is in harmony with the existing mausoleum and chapel that it sits between, as if in meditation. The 141-year-old non-sectarian cemetery occupies 250 acres in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. Designed by Joan Soranno and John Cook, both with HGA Architects and Engineers, the Garden Mausoleum peeks out of a south-facing hill along the northern edge of the site’s “sunken garden.” Mahogany and charcoal granite walls complement white marble and onyx floors that alternate between honey yellow, jade green, and coral pink. The handsomely understated spaces are prime for spiritual exploration and self-reflection. Elegant and quietly powerful, the mausoleum is an authentic union of materials and design.
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Adaptive Reuse, Aisle 7: How An Empty Big Box Can Give Rise to Community

An average Walmart tops 100,000 square feet. With more than 600 stores nationwide, the company has a mighty footprint. And when a store goes under, it can be somewhat of a crater in the local real estate market. One Walmart in McAllen, Texas—about 15 miles from the Mexican border—got a major facelift from Minneapolis-based Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, who also have an office in Marysville, Md. They won an ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award for their work converting the defunct big box store into a library. Now instead of groceries and inexpensive consumer goods, a 124,500-square-foot Walmart skeleton houses the McAllen Library. It’s the largest single-story library in the U.S., which could have left readers lost in the cavernous space instead of lost in a book. To remedy that problem, the firm adopted some of the building’s original programming: They separated meeting rooms, staff areas, and other programs into quadrants, providing wayfinding with colorful signage and two spines that bisect the building. A number of graphic-patterned ceiling elements delineate genre categories, while a patterned wood ceiling runs the length of the building. One month after the new library opened, library registration increased 23 percent. Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle has also rehabbed five abandoned buildings in Philadelphia’s Navy Yards for Urban Outfitters headquarters.