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Posts about Architecture

Creative City public-art finalists announced

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: January 15, 2015 - 11:19 AM

For the past two summers, a  different giant artwork has appeared on the plaza adjacent to the Minneapolis Convention Center downtown. Get ready for a third to make its debut at Northern Spark June 13, as the Creative City Challenge finalists have been chosen. Each will get a stipend of $2,500 to present a final proposal in February to a panel representing the city, the convention center and northernlights.mn, the arts organization behind all-night-long arts extravaganza Northern Spark. The winner gets $75,000 to create their temporary dream, which will remain available to visitors through the season.

"Shadow Swings" (computer-generated model pictured above) a concept by a team from the architecture firm Perkins+Will, combines a series of wind-chime-outfitted swings under a canopy. Each has a different musical tone, encouraging visitors to make up a song together.

"We All Share the Same Skies" (above) by the design firm PLAAD offers outdoors-related sensory experiences -- wind through pines, images of constellations and clouds, simulated downpours -- in three separate enclosed structures, bringing a bit of the north woods to an urban setting. 

For "Mini_Polis," (above) artists Niko Kubota and Jon Reynolds will erect plywood miniatures of buildings in Minneapolis' downtown and environs, rigged interactively to share the memories of and hopes for these places expressed by their makers, groups of volunteers in community workshops.

Target Field Station wins AIA urban design award

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 9, 2015 - 6:23 PM
Target Field Station. Star Tribune photo by Bruce Bisping

The  light rail station at Target Field in Minneapolis is one of four winners of an  American Institute of Architects' 2015 honor award for regional and urban design. The AIA announced 23 awards in all, including for architecture and interior architecture, chosen from about 500  projects around the world. 

Target Field Station, opened in May 2014, is a transit hub in Minneapolis' North Loop area adjacent to the Target Field baseball stadium. The city's Blue and Green Line light rail trains pass through the station which also connects with the Northstar commuter rail line that brings residents of the Twin Cities' northern suburbs into downtown. Buses and bikes tie into the system at Target Station, and more light rail lines are expected to open eventually.

The project, which includes an amphitheater and a "Great Lawn" for public gatherings, is a focal point for revitalization of the North Loop neighborhood.

The AIA award cited it as "one of the first spaces in the country to truly integrate transit and culture," and saluted the Great Lawn as "a green stage for pregame events, community concerts, and other events," augmented by plaza spaces for restaurants, cultural and entertainment events.

The project was designed by Perkins Eastman with engineering by Short Elliott Hendrickson (civil); Parson Electric (electrical); Michaud Colley Erickson (Mechanical) and Palanaswami and Associates (structural). Knutson Construction was the general contractor and Olin / SEH the landscape architect.

Other AIA regional design awards went to:

Beijing Tianqiao (Sky Bridge) Performing Arts District Master Plan; Beijing, China by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

The Big U: New York City by BIG/ Bjarke Ingels Group

Government Center Garage Redevelopment, Boston by CBT Architects


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.


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