Streetscapes: Celebrating Minnesota architecture

Streetscapes is a column devoted to Minnesota architecture. Each Saturday, a variety of writers will critique, explore and explain the built environment, from brand new buildings to revered older ones. Send suggestions for future topics to or tweet @ClaudePeck.

August 18

Bold new plan re-envisions Park and Portland avenues in downtown Minneapolis

Today, there's little reason to get out of your car near Park and Portland avenues in downtown Minneapolis, aside from the new Commons park. But a walkable neighborhood is worth bringing back. And that's what BKV Group hopes to do.
Stage & Arts
August 13

Minneapolis' landmark Jesus mural is crumbling — can it be saved?

One of Minneapolis' most prominent public paintings is falling apart. An anonymous donor recently gave the church $1,000 to "beautify" the mural.
St. Paul
August 11

What you can — and cannot — see in the renovation of State Capitol

For the past three years, the Minnesota State Capitol has been undergoing a massive, $310 million renovation. But many of the improvements to the 1905 building won't be visible. Here's an inside look.
July 28

St. Paul's early and unusual megachurch went up in flames – twice

Built on personality rather than doctrine, the massive People's Church defied design norms for the late 19th century.
Stage & Arts
July 21

Redo of Peavey Plaza in Mpls. preserves and updates once-popular park

It wasn't easy, but the city of Minneapolis has landed on a design to update the aging outdoor park while maintaining its modernist integrity.
July 8

Block-by-block photo survey in 1960 shows Minneapolis' thriving retail scene

A 1960 photo survey by the Star and Tribune of the city block where City Center now stands left a remarkable account of what Minneapolis looked like at a time when the urban core was aging, but still vital.
Stage & Arts
June 3

Frank Lloyd Wright's surviving Minn. structures are a tribute to his legacy

Frank Lloyd Wright designed few buildings in Minnesota, but they proved to be essential to his career and his legacy.
May 6

Before they were dives, Twin Cities apartment hotels were posh, had room service

Before apartment buildings sprang up by the hundreds, there was a different kind of multifamily housing.
Home & Garden
April 28

Lost Twin Cities: Rare today, row houses were once a common sight here

Most of them fell into disrepair and were demolished before their unique structure gained appreciation.
April 14
DAVID JOLES � Minneapolis, MN - July 4, 2010-...

Minneapolis city parks evolved from a master plan to link people, places

Farview, Powderhorn and Loring parks were keystones in a remarkable plan for the Minneapolis park system.
Stage & Arts
April 7

1960s Burnsville townhouse development is still stylish today

The metro area's original suburban townhouse developments — including this south suburban treasure — yield design lessons for their contemporary counterparts.
March 31

Beneath our feet lies a record of how Twin Citians once lived

There's no pirate booty hidden below the parking lots of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But for urban archaeologists, there's treasure just the same.
March 24

Lost Twin Cities: The rise and fall of Minneapolis' Phoenix Building

Minneapolis' Phoenix Building, which roosted for almost 70 years at the northwest corner of 4th Street and Marquette Avenue, was much like the mythical bird.
March 17

Small shops help make the Twin Cities vibrant, affordable and dynamic

The Twin Cities has a history of thinking big when it comes to retail. Maybe we should be thinking small.
March 10

From first shovel to opening day, watching a building go up is an urban pleasure

We all know about the hard-hats, draftsmen and architects. But is there someone else indispensable to the skyscraper-building process? Of course. The Sidewalk Superintendents.
Stage & Arts
March 1

Ice Shanty Projects make a fun, meltable community on White Bear Lake

The Art Shanty Projects reveal what it takes to make a lively public space — people, engagement and activity.
February 24

What helps Minnesota seniors age in place? U researcher has some clues

Researcher finds it's the little things — like benches and safe crosswalks — that make life better for aging Minnesotans.
February 17

Twin Cities visitors and locals need better way to negotiate skyways

Wouldn't it be nice if there were an app for the Twin Cities' skyways? There is. In fact, there are several. Let's see how they work.
February 4

Minneapolis needs more trees — here's why

With emerald ash borers threatening many of our street trees, we need to reforest our city now.
January 28

Is it possible to fix the bottleneck at Hennepin and Lyndale?

A reconstruction project has improved the Hennepin/Lyndale intersection, but stops short of redressing decades of bad decisions.
January 13

Will we still shop downtown? Loss of Macy's forces us to rethink retail

Downtown Macy's is closing. Some eulogies will call it the end of an era, which it is. But how did we get here?
January 6

Beyond building blocks: Museum as playground

For the kids who'll be attending the Minneapolis Institute of Art's Cityscapes Family Day on Sunday, architecture will be just another word for fun.
Stage & Arts
December 17, 2016
February 1960 Federal building on third street and marquette ave. Dwi...

5 'less notable' buildings we miss in Mpls.? Let's start with the old Post Office

A building doesn't have to be great to be missed. That's why it's time to lament less notable buildings in Minneapolis history.
December 2, 2016

Old real estate maps of the Twin Cities contain details of a forgotten history

Decades before Google Maps, plat maps displayed a wealth of information with hand-drawn care.
November 25, 2016
The new entrance to the Walker Art Center (top) on Vineland Place is clearly visible.

Why the new entrance at the Walker Art Center matters

Functional and stylish, the dark, metal exterior that seems to grow out of the hillside makes it perfectly clear where to enter.
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