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

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

AIA’s Committee On The Environment Announces 2014’s Top 10 Green Buildings

Arizona State University Student Health Services. ( Bill Timmerman / Courtesy AIA)

Arizona State University Student Health Services. ( Bill Timmerman / Courtesy AIA)

The AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced the winners of its annual sustainability awards program. Now in its 18th year, the COTE awards celebrate green architecture, design, and technology. According to a press release, the winning projects must “make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts.”

Each of the ten winners will be officially honored at the AIA’s National Convention and Design Exhibition in Chicago later this year, but, in the meantime, here’s a closer look at the 10 winners.

View the winners after the jump.

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

Josh Lewandowski’s Year of Pointless Architectural Diagrams

International
Monday, November 4, 2013
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JOHN LEWANDOWSKI - PARALLAX IN TEAL AND PINK (COURTESY POINTLESS DIAGRAMS)

JOHN LEWANDOWSKI – PARALLAX IN TEAL AND PINK (COURTESY POINTLESS 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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza escapes demolition after preservationist lawsuit

City Terrain, Midwest
Friday, October 4, 2013
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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.

Continue Reading After the Jump

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minneapolis’ Embattled Peavey Plaza Lands on National Register

Midwest
Monday, January 21, 2013
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Peavey Plaza's fountains have fallen into disrepair.

Peavey Plaza’s fountains have fallen into disrepair. (Keri Pickett)

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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