Pictorial> Minnesota opens first public monument dedicated to military families

The Minnesota Military Family Tribute opened this summer.  (George Heinrich)

The Minnesota Military Family Tribute opened this summer. (George Heinrich)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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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Orphaned segment of Minneapolis skyway destined for art installation, modernist lakeside home

(Dream the Combine)

(Dream the Combine)

In February, a Twin Cities design firm advertised an unusual yard sale of sorts. CityDeskStudio offered to pay $5,000 to whomever could haul away and repurpose an 84-foot long section of Minneapolis‘ famous skyway system that once spanned South 5th Street. The skyway segment is now headed to a private residence in Brainerd, Minnesota—but not before playing host to a contemplative art installation that examines the philosophical dimensions of this defunct piece of pedestrian infrastructure.

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Twin Cities architects will pay you $5,000 to take this piece of the Minneapolis skyway

This defunct chunk of the minneapolis skyway is currently gathering dust. (citydeskstudio)

This defunct chunk of the minneapolis skyway is currently gathering dust. (citydeskstudio)

Minneapolis architects CityDeskStudio are sitting on an iconic piece of Twin Cities infrastructure. Almost a decade ago they acquired a defunct chunk of the city’s elevated pedestrian network, the Minneapolis Skyway. Years later they’re still wondering what to do with it, which could be to your benefit if you’re in the market for a 140-ton steel box designed by Ed Baker.

You don’t need deep pockets, either. In fact, they’ll pay you $5,000 to haul it away.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minneapolis college wants to accredit architecture students in just five years

Architecture, Dean's List, Midwest
Thursday, February 19, 2015
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(Robert Francis)

(Robert Francis)

Minneapolis architect John Dwyer is the latest on a growing list of educators hoping to streamline the path from architecture student to practicing designer—an odyssey of classes, vocational training, and rigorous licensing requirements that can top the time it takes to become a medical specialist. Read More

Eavesdrop> Minnesota engineer speaks truth to power

(Courtesy Strong Towns)

(Courtesy Strong Towns)

“Can you be an engineer and speak out for reform?” That’s the question one civil engineer and blogger posed on his website, strongtowns.org, after a former American Society of Civil Engineers fellow filed a complaint with his state licensing board. According to the blogger, Charles Marohn, it was retaliation for a post critiquing Minnesota’s plan to spend much of its transportation budget on new
construction instead of maintenance.

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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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Frank Gehry Shuffle: University of St. Thomas to move Winton Guest House a second time

(University of St. Thomas)

Frank Gehry’s Winton House (University of St. Thomas)

An early Frank Gehry–designed house about an hour south of Minneapolis is on the move—again.

The Winton Guest House, which Gehry designed in the early 1980s for Penny and Mike Winton, sits on property in Owatonna, Minnesota recently sold by the building’s owner, the University of St. Thomas. They have until August 2016 to relocate the playful, postmodern cluster of forms.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minnesota state fair redesign goes beyond the corn dog

Architecture, Midwest, Preservation
Monday, September 29, 2014
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The Blue Barn restaurant (Cunincgham Grou)

The Blue Barn restaurant (Wheelock Photography)

Almost 2 million Minnesotans poured through the gates of St. Paul‘s state fair grounds this year, and many are attributing that record-breaking attendance number to a redesigned West End Market. Local designers at Cuningham Group Architecture led the largest Fair expansion since the 1930s, replacing an array of nondescript vendor booths with 15 new buildings.  Read More

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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Twin Cities celebrate first inter-city rail connection in decades

Minneapolis Metro Transit Trains at Target Field Station. (Mark Danielson / Flickr)

Minneapolis Metro Transit Trains at Target Field Station. (Mark Danielson / Flickr)

For a metro area as widely praised for its alternative transportation options as Minnesota’s Twin Cities, it’s surprising Minneapolis and St. Paul are only now celebrating a new light rail connection between their downtowns. Read More

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