Hargreaves unveils Downtown East Commons, a park in the shadow of the Minnesota Vikings

A rendering of The Commons in Downtown East Minneapolis. (Hargreaves Associates)

A rendering of The Commons in Downtown East Minneapolis. (Hargreaves Associates)

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.

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Plans for 30 miles of protected bike lanes in downtown Minneapolis put bike plans in your city to shame

A bike lane on the University of Minnesota campus. (Dan Reed via Flickr)

A bike lane on the University of Minnesota campus. (Dan Reed via Flickr)

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.

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Minneapolis planners pick 36-story tower for Nicollet Hotel block

"The Gateway," a 36-story tower and hotel complex, was recommended by city planners for Minneapolis' Nicollet Hotel Block. (United Properties)

“The Gateway,” a 36-story tower and hotel complex, was recommended by city planners for Minneapolis’ Nicollet Hotel Block. (United Properties)

City planners in Minneapolis have named a winner in the public competition to redevelop a downtown lot that had locals reevaluating the place of tall towers in the Twin Cities.

After first rejecting an 80-story tower proposal that would have become the tallest building in Minnesota, the planners picked a 36-story tower and hotel complex proposed by United Properties, based in suburban Bloomington, Minn.

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HGA Updates a Minneapolis Landmark

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HGA's Nelson Cultural Center, clad in slate shingles and art glass, complements the historic Turnblad Mansion. (Paul Crosby Photography)

HGA’s Nelson Cultural Center, clad in slate shingles and art glass, complements the historic Turnblad Mansion. (Paul Crosby Photography)

Slate-clad addition to the American Swedish Institute evokes contemporary Scandinavian design.

Minneapolis-based architecture, engineering, and planning firm HGA faced a tall order when the American Swedish Institute asked them to design an addition to the building known locally as “The Castle.” The turreted Turnblad Mansion, constructed in Minneapolis’ Phillips West neighborhood in 1908 and home of ASI since 1929, lacked the kinds of multi-purpose spaces required by ASI’s cultural and educational programming—and was suffering wear and tear from a steady stream of visitors. “The project was about creating a front door that was more welcoming and inviting than the existing building, that can help protect the mansion and allow it to be used as a house museum,” said project architect Andy Weyenberg. At the same time,  “the mansion remained the focal point,” he explained. “It will always be the identity of ASI. Everything we did, we wanted to respect the mansion and keep it as a centerpiece.” HGA’s intervention honors the primacy of the Turnblad Mansion while updating ASI’s image with a contemporary facade inspired by Swedish building methods and materials.

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Minneapolis breaks ground on massive downtown east development

Minneapolis developers broke ground May 13 on a mixed-use development in Downtown East. (Ryan companies/DML)

Minneapolis developers broke ground May 13 on a mixed-use development in Downtown East. (Ryan companies/DML)

Earlier this month, workers broke ground on the largest Twin Cities real estate development project in two decades. Budding off a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, designed by HKS, locally based Ryan Companies saw an opportunity to redefine the Minneapolis neighborhood of Downtown East.

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Minneapolis mayor cheers on Nicollet Mall revamp

Nicollet Walk Tree Groves (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

Nicollet’s Crystal Stair (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

As a team of designers gear up for an overhaul of Nicollet Mall, dubbed Minneapolis’ main street, civic leaders there have cheered on the project in an op-ed in the StarTribune. Read More

Julie Snow Architects changes name, promotes new co-principal

Midwest
Thursday, February 27, 2014
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julie snow and matt kreilich (holcim foundation)

Julie Snow and Matthew Kreilich (holcim foundation)

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. Read More

Minneapolis City Council to vote on mixed-use makeover for Downtown East neighborhood

Minneapolis Downtown East could get an overhaul from developers looking to turn surface parking lots into mixed-use programming. (Ryan companies/DML)

Minneapolis Downtown East could get an overhaul from developers looking to turn surface parking lots into mixed-use programming. This rendering shows a park that would result. (Ryan companies/DML)

In its last scheduled meeting of the year, Minneapolis City Council could give the go-ahead on a $400 million mixed-use development near the new Vikings stadium. Surface parking lots currently occupy much of that land.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial board called the Downtown East neighborhood “a part of the city’s commercial core in desperate need of new life.” The newspaper stands to benefit from the project, as the editorial announces—they plan to sell five blocks of nearby property, including their current headquarters, and move downtown.

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Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza escapes demolition after preservationist lawsuit

Peavey Plaza's fountains have fallen into disrepair.

Peavey Plaza’s fountains have fallen into disrepair.

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. Read More

Artists and City Government Collaborate for Urban Improvement in St. Paul

City Terrain, Midwest
Thursday, October 3, 2013
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(Courtesy Teresa Board / Flickr)

Skygate, by R. M. Fisher, in the public plaza in front of the Ecolab World Headquarters, was funded by Public Art St. Paul. (Courtesy Teresa Boardman / Flickr)

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.

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Minneapolis Streetcar Plans Move Along, Renderings Released

Midwest
Friday, September 27, 2013
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Renderings of a streetcar planned for Minneapolis. (Courtesy City of Minneapolis)

Renderings of a streetcar planned for Minneapolis. (Courtesy City of Minneapolis)

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.

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Carry a Piece of the Minneapolis Metrodome Wherever You Go

Midwest
Thursday, August 22, 2013
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Inside the Metrodome (left, Jenni Konrad / Flickr) and the Duluth Pack bags (right, Courtesy Duluth Pack)

Inside the Metrodome (left, Jenni Konrad / Flickr) and the Duluth Pack bags (right, Courtesy Duluth Pack)

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.

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