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Posts about Architecture

Frank Gehry's Winton Guest House must be moved again

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: December 15, 2014 - 3:04 PM

Winton Guest House at Gainey Conference Center, Owatona. Photo by Mike Ekern, provided by University of St. Thomas.

When the Winton Guest house was moved from Orono to Owatonna in 2008, the sculptural building was cut into eight pieces, the largest of which weighed 80 tons. Then the sections were  hoisted onto trucks and slowly moved to the Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center, a pastoral southern Minnesota site owned by the University of St. Thomas. There it was reassembled and used as a meeting site.

At the rededication of the building in 2011, the designer, internationally acclaimed Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry, praised the movers for having done "an incredible job" that was "93.6 percent right."

Now the 2,300 square foot house has to be moved once again. The University of St. Thomas sold the conference center in August to Meridian Behavioral Health which plans to use the 180 acre site as a residential treatment center for "people with addictive diseases and behavoral disorders."

The Winton Guest house was excluded from the 2014 sale with the proviso that St. Thomas must move it by the end of August 2016. Where it will go has not been decided. Options include moving it to the University's St. Paul campus or selling it to a deep-pocketed architecture buff willing move it somewhere else.

Gehry designed the unusual building in 1987 for Twin Cities arts patrons Mike and Penny Winton. Its distinctive shape -- including  a pyramid-shaped living room sheathed in black-painted metal, a garage/kitchenette covered in plywood, a brick fireplace room, a limestone-clad bedroom -- won immediate acclaim and an honor award from the American Institute of Architects.

When the Wintons sold their 11 acre property overlooking Lake Minnetonka in 2002, buyer Kurt Woodhouse subdivided and sold off the site which included a main house designed by Philip Johnson. He donated the guest house to St. Thomas, stipulating that it be removed. The move took two years and reassembling the pieces another year.

Architect Frank Gehry with arts patron Penny Winton at rededication of the Guest House, August 31, 2011, in Owatonna. Photo provided by University of St. Thomas, Thomas Whisenand, photographer.

Life of design curator Mildred "Mickey" Friedman celebrated in NYC

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: November 19, 2014 - 5:32 PM

Star Tribune file photos of Mildred "Mickey" Friedman

Mildred "Mickey" Friedman, the influential Walker Art Center design curator who died in September at 85, was remembered this week in New York City for her samba, her style, her curiosity, and her quiet grace. About 100 A-list artists (Chuck Close, Claes Oldenburg, Christo, Judith Shea), architects (Hugh Hardy, Billie Tsien, Frank Gehry), museum directors (Sam Sachs, Frick emeritus; Adam Weinberg, Whitney; Olga Viso, Walker) and past and present Walker friends gathered at the Century Association on a rainy Monday evening.

Former Walker curator Dean Swanson recalled dancing the samba with her on a "glamorous dance floor in Rio" in 1963 when they were helping Friedman's husband Martin, then the Walker's director, prepare a show of American art that took grand prize at that year's Sao Paulo biennial. With a nod to the Friedmans' long marriage (she died on their 65th birthday), Tsien compared "smart, tough, rational" Mickey to the character Rosalind Russell played opposite mischievous, fast-talking Cary Grant (Martin) in the classic 1940 film "His Girl Friday."

Recalling the "quiet grace and gentle beauty of a loving friend," Gehry took a jib at a Manhattan institution when he credited her with always "searching for uncharted water, unlike MOMA." Lise Friedman, eldest of the couple's three daughters, observed that one of their mom's "most important lessons was always to make an extra place at the table when someone unexpectedly comes."

After Hardy led toasts to the Friedmans, the crowd munched hors d'oeuvres, including a high-style version of  that old Midwestern standard, "pigs-in-a-blanket" (puff pastry, no cheese, Dijon mustard).

AIA Honor Awards go to four Minnesota architecture firms

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: November 13, 2014 - 4:56 PM

Four Minnesota architecture firms swept all eight of the Honor Awards presented Thursday, Nov. 13, by AIA Minnesota at its 80th annual convention and exhibition. Three of the awards went to HGA Architects and Engineers (HGA), two each to Vincent James' firm VJAA and Snow Kreilich Architects, and one to Leo A. Daly.

The winning projects were executed for a mix of clients and project types including corporate headquarters, educational institutions, a public library, a non-profit music camp, an apartment complex and a private residence.

Most projects have a modernist look with boxy profiles, large expanses of glass, and flat roofs. The exceptions are streamlined, Shaker-style cottages designed as musician's studios on a woodsy site in Vermont, and the renovation of Northrop Performing Arts Center at the University of Minnesota, a clunky 1929 behemoth that was gutted and reconfigured at a well-spent cost of $88.2 million that upgraded acoustics, lobbies, seating, stage amenities and -- to the relief of many patrons-- bathrooms.

The projects were judged in five categories -- architecture, interiors, restoration and renovation, urban design and master planning, small project. They were chosen by a team of national jurors consisting of Angela Brooks, a principal at Brooks + Scarpa in Los Angeles, Mary-Jean Eastman, principal and executive director of Perkins Eastman in New York, and Dan Rockhill, a University of Kansas architecture professor and executive director of Studio 804.

The winners are:

HGA Architects and Engineers (HGA) for the Marlboro Music Cottages at the Marlboro Music School and Festival  in Marlboro, Vermont. The project team included Dan Avchen, principal; Joan Soranno, lead designer; John Cook, project manager/ architect; and Doug Gerlach.

HGA Architects and Engineers (HGA) for the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Phase II, Studio Art building at Macalester College in St. Paul. The project team consisted of Gary Reetz, principal; Rebecca Celis,project  manager; Tim Carl, lead designer; Rebecca Krull Kraling, architect; Andy Weyenberg, Jesse Zeien, Cheryl Amdal, Ross Altheimer, Erica Christenson, and Robert Johnson Miller.

HGA Architects and Engineers (HGA) for the renovation of Northrop Performing Arts Center at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Team members were Gary Reetz, principal; Tim Carl, lead designer; Doug Gerlach, designer; Jim Moore, architect.

VJAA, lead design firm with RDH-Toronto, architect of record, for the Welland International Flatwater Centre in Welland, Ontario. Clients were the City of Welland and the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. The team consisted of principals Vincent James and Jennifer Yoo, managing principal Nathan Knutson and project team members Paul Yaggie, Nat Madson, Tim Ogren and Nate Steuerwald.

VJAA for the Hennepin County Walker Library on Hennepin Av. in Uptown, Minneapolis. The team consisted of Vincent James and Jennifer Yoos, principals; Nathan Knutson, managing principal; Paul Yaggie, senior project architect; Eric West and Nate Steuerwald, project managers; and team members Emma Huckett, Dzenita Hadziomerovic, Tim Ogren, Karen Lu and Kai Salmela.

Snow Kreilich Architects for the Brunsfield North Loop Apartments on N. Washington Avenue in Minneapolis. The team consisted of Matthew Kreilich, principal-in-charge and lead designer; Kar-Keat Chong, manager; and project architects Tyson McElvian and Mary Springer.

Snow Kreilich Architects for a Lake Minnetonka retreat home in Deephaven, Mn. The team was headed by Julie Snow, principal-in-charge, with Matthew Kreilich, design principal and Mary Springer, project manager and architect.

Leo A Daly for The Toro Company in Bloomington, MN. The project team included William M. Baxley, design director; Steven Andersen, project architect; Eric Johannessen, Theresa Mozinski and Steve Singer.

Architect Julie Snow wins AIA Minnesota Gold Medal

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: August 22, 2014 - 4:06 PM

Architect Julie Snow. Photo provided by AIA Minnesota

Modernist architect Julie Snow has won the 2014 Gold Medal from AIA Minnesota, a professional association. The award is for "a lifetime of distinguished achievement" and significant contributions to the field.

Snow and colleague Matt Kreilich run the Minneapolis-based firm Snow Kreilich Architects. She is equally adept at transforming and updating outmoded structures for new uses, and start-from-scratch designs for homes, offices and government buildings. Typically she details her sleek  geometric structures with glass walls and warm wood surfaces defined by narrow bands of metal.

Recent projects range from converting a shabby 1960s food distribution center in Minneapolis into a stylish headquarters for KNOCK, Inc., a design and marketing firm, to designing a handsome  U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Warroad, MN. One of her most high profile Minneapolis projects was the 2004 conversion of a Spanish Revival Congregational Church into the Museum of Russian Art, a transformation that created a spacious two story gallery from the former nave and intimate galleries in the basement. She has also designed houses in the Twin Cities and vacation homes in Northern Minnesota.

"Her graceful modernism -- from elegant cantilevered spaces in oceanfront houses to the elegant rooflines of U.S. border stations -- achieves simplicity that only comes from the highest rigor in design and attention to detail," said Tom Hysell, AIA Minnesota president, in a statement.

A graduate of the University of Colorado, Snow worked for various Minneapolis firms including HGA before starting her own practice while teaching at the College of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

Previously her firm also won, among others, the AIA Honor Award, Progressive Architecture Design Award, and the Chicago Athenaeum's American and International Architecture Award,

"Within a rigorous underpinning, she and her studio make the marvelous happen," said the Amercan Academy of Arts and Letters in presenting her with its prestigious architecture award. "She is a ballerina who can dance in work boots."

Oslund firm recommended for $10 million Sculpture Garden redo

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: August 15, 2014 - 5:50 PM
"Spoonbridge and Cherry" sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Photo by Courtney Perry for Star Tribune

The Oslund and Associates landscape architecture firm, in association with Snow Kreilich Architects, is expected to be picked for a $10 million reconstruction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardenand renovation of  the Cowles Conservatory.

Money for the project came from the Minnesota State Legislature which appropriated $8.5 million in state bonding funds in May 2014, and from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) which is providing up to $1.5 million for new stormwater management systems.

The 11 acre Sculpture Garden, sited across the street from Walker Art Center near downtown Minneapolis, is built on former marshland owned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). The Sculpture Garden, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, opened in 1988 and hosts 45 sculptures that are owned by the Walker.

The Oslund team was chosen from three finalists. The team will be recommended to a committee of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for action on August 20 and, if approved there, to the full MPRB for action on September 3. If approved by the MPRB, as expected in September, the team will begin getting input from community meetings starting in October. Designs will be drafted over the winter, and construction should start in summer 2015.

The project will include repair or replacement of "deteriorated and inadequate infrastructure," the MPRB said in a statement. Among those items will be irrigation, drainage and stormwater systems, walkways and retaining walls.

The garden and conservatory will be closed throughout construction which is scheduled to be finished in fall 2016.


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