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.

July 12
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.
July 5
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.
June 28
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.
June 21
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.
June 8
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.
May 31
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.
May 17
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.
May 10
Stewart Van Cleve, the Digital Archives and Research Services Librarian at Augsburg University, held the Minneapolis promotional film discovered in th

See a long-lost promotional video that captures Minneapolis in 1968

The film also features a catchy song by the team that wrote "We're Going to Win, Twins."
May 3
Allianz Field in St. Paul is the new home for the Minnesota United FC.

The secret to Allianz Field's amped-up fan experience? It's wrapped in fabric

Allianz Field's unique Teflon-like wrap offers an exotic look and an intense fan experience.
April 19
Architect James Dayton.

Remembering architect James Dayton, creator of iconic Twin Cities buildings

Through his eye-grabbing work, architect James Dayton made the Twin Cities a better, more beautiful place.
April 12
Tale of two Metropolitans: The Minneapolis Metropolitan, at left in 1914, was on Marquette Avenue St. Paul's opera house, at right in 1936, was on E.

Twin Cities were once home to grand opera houses, one prominent in a murder trial

The Minneapolis Metropolitan became the scene of an alibi concocted by a notorious murderer. The architect of St. Paul's Metropolitan helped design Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
March 22
There are two lucky (or unlucky) charms at the University of Minnesota: the Goldy Gopher statue at Coffman Union (above) and the “Platonic Figure”

Minnesota college students study up on their campuses' good (and bad) luck charms

It's said that rubbing Goldy Gopher's teeth before a test can bring good luck. At least, that's what incoming students sometimes hear on campus tours.
March 15
An outdoor pool was among the amenities at the Curtis Hotel Motor Lodge, with Judy Schaefer (left) and Marilynn Johnson taking their ease in 1957.

Why midcentury motels failed in downtown Minneapolis

Affordable, accessible motor inns were once the place to stay downtown. That all began to change in the 1960s.
March 8
The recent cold snap is a reminder of how skyways make downtown livable — and unique. The view toward Target Center down 6th Street.

Winter reminds us why we love the Twin Cities skyways

Not everyone thinks highly of these aboveground, indoor sidewalks. But our recent deep freeze was a reminder of how the skyways make downtown not just livable, but unique.
March 1
Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis is mostly concrete and dominates its site with massive proportions.

Why the Brutalist architecture style in the Twin Cities is literally painful

For a while, it was thought to be forward looking. Now it's widely considered inhumane.
February 1
The 12-story Nicollet Hotel, shown in 1987, was the first building in Minneapolis to be built in the set-back style that gets narrower at the top.

Once-chic Nicollet Hotel in Mpls. Gateway District was design 'triumph'

Rising on the site of the 1858 Nicollet House, the hotel was financed by the public, and torn down in 1991. United Properties has proposed a 33-story glass office tower for the site.
January 18
Frederick W. Clifford residence at 325 Clifton Avenue in Minneapolis.

Now-lost Mpls. mansion was a sterling example of Tudor Revival style

Massive Tudor Revivals were once common in the Twin Cities. This Loring Park gem was one of the best.
January 11
The doors at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

Beautiful doors on Twin Cities buildings make a statement

Though they're often overlooked, doors reveal a lot about a building and its era.
January 4
The Ryan Hotel at 6th and Robert Sts. in St. Paul, approximately 1913.

Downtown St. Paul's biggest loss? Extravagant Ryan Hotel was a Victorian masterpiece

St. Paul's Ryan Hotel, demolished in the early 1960s, was a classic example of Victorian excess.
December 28, 2018
Between 1964 and 1973 Midwest Federal created these bold round banks in Twin Cities suburbs.

Banking boom brought flair to midcentury Minnesota bank buildings

Many banks in Minnesota now have new uses, but their original designs give them away.
December 22, 2018
Final days: The Metropolitan Building, shortly before its demolition in 1961.

New book by Larry Millett brings mighty Metropolitan Building back to life

Architectural historian Larry Millett reveals the history of a long-lost Minneapolis landmark in his new book, "Metropolitan Dreams."
December 3, 2018
The Temple Court Building in Minneapolis was designed by E. Townsend Mix and completed in 1886.

Precursor to Mpls.' famed Metropolitan Building had dazzling inner court — and bad karma

E. Townsend Mix's Temple Court was a design warmup to Minneapolis' majestic Metropolitan.
November 23, 2018
John Cook, the Minneapolis architect who helped translate Frank Gehry’s ideas into steel, concrete and brick, looks back on the landmark project.

On Weisman's 25th birthday, Minn. architect explains how famous building took shape

The University of Minnesota's Frank Gehry-designed art museum is marking its quarter-century birthday this month.
Stage & Arts
November 16, 2018
Tristan Al-Haddad worked on his steel sculpture “Nimbus,” which will be installed in front of the Minneapolis Central Library on the Nicollet Mall

10-ton sculpture ready to swoop into Nicollet Mall

"Nimbus," a massive halo-like steel sculpture, will be the crowning touch of the remake of Nicollet Mall.
November 9, 2018
The midcentury skyscraper was severe but serene, unadorned and unconcerned with things like context or history. It was a machine for making money. If

How the shape of windows tells the history of Twin Cities architecture

Windows are more than just a means to bring in light and air; they're a way to read the style and technology of an era.