Streetscapes: Celebrating Minnesota architecture

Streetscapes is a column devoted to Minnesota architecture. Writers critique, explore and explain the built environment, from brand-new buildings to revered older ones.

Variety
February 21
Milton Square in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul is a model for contemporary winter streets and corners.

How the Twin Cities could be designed for winter livability

A few humble street corners show us how to create a "patio culture" year-round.
Variety
February 14
The IDS Center, left, towers over downtown Minneapolis.

Nearly a dozen smaller Minneapolis buildings were razed for the IDS Center. The city's better for it

For many decades, the central core was a great architectural hodgepodge, with many blocks containing buildings in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles.
Variety
January 24
The newly revitalized building has a new name: Arvonne Fraser Library.

In Dinkytown, a 1960s landmark library gets the rebirth it deserves

A 1960s Dinkytown library — by Minnesota Modernist architect Ralph Rapson — gleams anew after an $11.6 million restoration.
Stage & Arts
January 18
Minneapolis’ tallest building was once the Foshay Tower, foreground, an obelisk.

Think the Minneapolis skyline is unique? Think again – we have copycat buildings in our midst

Some of our landmark buildings aren't so unique. Others are ours alone.
Variety
January 3
The Francis Drake Hotel in Minneapolis (shown circa 1931) opened in 1924 and cost “nearly One-Half Million Dollars.”

In its heyday, Drake Hotel offered Old World allure

Built in 1926, Minneapolis hotel lost to Christmas fire slipped into second-tier status after a decade or two.
Stage & Arts
January 2
Rothe Amundson cabin

The 7 best projects by Minnesota architects from 2019

The American Institute of Architects Minnesota honored projects ranging from a wayside rest stop to a lakeside cabin to a college arts complex.
Variety
December 20, 2019
The 1955 fire at the Willard Apartments, 538 St. Peter Street, St. Paul.

Fires in downtown St. Paul reshaped the cityscape in the 1950s and '60s

Midcentury fires in downtown St. Paul removed many Victorian structures.
Variety
December 6, 2019
It's a Victorian Christmas at the Alexander Ramsey House in St. Paul.

St. Paul's historic homes offer tours and stories of Christmases past

Two St. Paul gems, decked out for the holidays, offer a look at Christmases past.
Variety
November 29, 2019
Oh, that one: the Public Service Center in Minneapolis.

Public Service Center may not be worth saving, but it's worth remembering

The demolition of the rather ordinary Public Service Center in Minneapolis will leave a gap in the city scape.
Variety
November 15, 2019
The Minnehaha Academy Upper School Campus opened on Aug, 19, 2019. The light-filled new buildings y connect the school to its historic grounds and nat

Rebuilt Minnehaha Academy forges connection to past, neighborhood and nature

Two years after a fatal explosion, the design for the rejuvenated campus reaches toward the future.
Variety
November 8, 2019
Large historical panoramas hang in the Wells Fargo Bank building’s skyway in Downtown East.

You can learn a lot about Minneapolis history by walking the skyways

Photos, murals and other collections make the skyways into mini-museums.
Variety
October 25, 2019
Hampshire Arms, 9th Street and S. 4th Avenue, Minneapolis.

Affordable housing was once a staple of our downtowns. Here's what happened

Residential hotels and rooming houses in Minneapolis and St. Paul offered alternatives to houses and apartments.
Variety
October 7, 2019
Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

A panoramic photo of the city taken on a large-format camera in 1907 offers an incredible time capsule. "It reveals things that essentially nobody ever saw before. It's so immersive."
Variety
September 27, 2019
The residence of John E. Bell at 24th Street and Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Bell was a merchant, wholesaler and banker.

This 1885 Park Avenue mansion was the queen of the Queen Annes

With its balconies, porches, dormers and gingerbread trim, this Park Avenue mansion in Minneapolis was the giddiest of them all.
Variety
August 23, 2019
Passengers navigated a crowded subway platform in New York City.

The Twin Cities didn't get a subway in the 1900s, and here's why

In the early 1900s, there was talk of building one. It would have put its mark on the metro.
Stage & Arts
August 17, 2019
A fire destroyed St. Olaf’s Catholic Church in Minneapolis in 1953.

Elegant Gothic church dominated Minneapolis skyline — until it burned a second time

An iconic sanctuary survived an 1888 fire and a 1904 tornado only to burn down years later.
Stage & Arts
August 9, 2019
The fountains at the renovated Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis flowed over the reflecting pool.

$10 million later, the renovated Peavey Plaza is an accessible success

A renovation has restored the downtown gem's singular looks while making it accessible to all.
Stage & Arts
August 2, 2019
Casiville Bullard helped lay the brickwork for the Cathedral of St. Paul.

These 3 builders helped shape Twin Cities architectural landscape

Mill City exhibit showcases work of black groundbreakers Cap Wigington, Casiville Bullard and William Hazel.
Variety
July 12, 2019
The Minnesota on S. 9th Street reopened as Radio City Theater in 1944.

The Minnesota Theater and the Capitol were once the biggest, grandest movie palaces in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis and St. Paul were once home to massive, elaborately designed theaters.
Variety
July 5, 2019
The Van Dusen company placed business card ads in the Saturday Evening Spectator, which promoted the city of Minneapolis.

An 1889 issue of the Saturday Evening Spectator shows a fanciful Minneapolis

A late 19th-century newspaper promoted Minneapolis by depicting it with fanciful buildings.
Variety
June 28, 2019
Landscape architect Arthur Carhart envisioned the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with the interconnected lakes as the roadways.

How a landscape architect's vision for a roadless area led to the Boundary Waters

A young landscape architect's vision of a roadless wilderness laid the groundwork for the Boundary Waters.
Variety
June 21, 2019
The Stairs in the Emery Hotel, formerly the Scandinavian-American Bank.

In praise of the iconic staircases of the Twin Cities

The grand staircase is disappearing from our skyscrapers and large civic buildings.
Variety
June 8, 2019
Southdale Library in 1974.

Streetscapes: Why moving the Southdale Library to Southdale mall is a good idea

A proposal to move the 46-year-old Southdale Library into Southdale shopping center makes synergistic sense.
Variety
May 31, 2019
The Edward Hotel in 1920.

Freeways killed stunning Victorian architecture in St. Paul

The advent of freeways spelled the end of elegant, eclectic neighborhoods near downtown St. Paul.
Variety
May 17, 2019
The Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul.

Going to Doors Open Minneapolis? Here's how to read the buildings you see

You can often tell at a glance whether a building is residential, commercial, civic or religious.
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