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.

October 12
The downtown Minneapolis skyline.

When big downtown Minneapolis buildings change names, it can be a confusing mess

Some have stood the test of time. Others have changed so many times we can't keep track.
October 5
St. Austin Catholic Church stood for only 25 years at the corner of Washburn and Dowling avenues in north Minneapolis.

North Minneapolis was once home to one of the world's most unique church buildings

The pastor of a modest Minneapolis parish helped create a unique, cosmopolitan church in north Minneapolis.
September 28
Pedestrians in downtown Minneapolis are guided or cautioned by a cacophony of disembodied voices.

Why Twin Cities walk signals and garage alerts should have Minnesota accents

Talking walk signals and parking garage alerts add to the urban cacophony. At least they could speak Minnesotan.
September 14
The newly renovated Parkway Theater.

Parkway Theater reopens in south Minneapolis with a much-needed face-lift

The 1940s-era neighborhood theater at 48th and Chicago has opened with a new mix of programming following a makeover.
August 31
The fair has no car traffic, yet there are streets and sidewalks.

Why the Minnesota State Fair could be a template for our future cities

We've got a model of the New Urbanism design movement right here in the Twin Cities: It's called the Minnesota State Fair.
August 24
A parade on 4th Street passing by the Grand Arcade in 1907. The towered building to the rear is the old St. Paul City Hall-Ramsey County Courthouse, r

St. Paul's Grand Arcade is out of sight, but not gone

One of downtown St. Paul's most intriguing lost buildings is the elaborate mixed-use structure also known as the Lowry Arcade.
August 17
A wide staircase at the new Manhattan headquarters of Delos Living, which created the Well Building Standard certification program. From standing desk

How healthy is your office? New wellness standards promote worker well-being

New wellness standards for buildings include everything from indoor air quality to snack foods.
August 3
Minneapolis buildings designed by Isaac Hodgson and Sons included the Minnesota Loan and Trust Co. building (shown in 1911) and the Bank of Minneapoli

1880s Minneapolis skyline boasted Victorian excess and modern restraint

The early Minneapolis skyline boasted two wildly different style of buildings by the same architectural firm.
July 27
The new Nicollet Mall features more trees.

Nicollet Mall deserved better than its underwhelming $50M remake

The new Nicollet Mall is a leafier, artsier improvement over its dreary predecessor. But this is all that $50 million buys?
July 20
Where it crosses Lyndale Avenue S., Lake Street is an example of good density, with lively, walkable streets, a variety of housing, and plenty of oppo

New plan for Minneapolis calls for more density, which can be good — and bad

A look at Lake Street shows that there's a difference between good and bad density.
July 13
Wise Acre Eatery, 5401 Nicollet Av. S., Minneapolis, is one of two former gas stations at that intersection converted to other uses.

How a corner gas station can make a Twin Cities neighborhood vibrant

Corner gas stations can invite visitors to linger, and hopefully enjoy an urban neighborhood.
July 6
The 1917 Minneapolis city plan placed a plaza on 4th Street. This view looks east.

Minneapolis once had a chance to be the Paris of the Plains

If the city had adopted a 1917 plan, it would have looked like the City of Light, with diagonal boulevards and roundabouts.
June 29
Honeywell Plaza in 1979.

Two little-known plazas in Minneapolis are examples of great urban design

You might not even notice these two Minneapolis plazas, but they're noteworthy open urban spaces.
June 23
The original five-story portion of Donaldsons, built in 1888 and known as the “Glass Block,” got a facade with ribbon windows of glass block and M

Midcentury 'face-lifts' put Moderne facades on historic Twin Cities buildings

Many classical buildings in the Twin Cities got modern face-lifts, whether they needed them or not.
June 15
Homewood Suites by Hilton is rising at 66th Street and York Avenue S.

How to fix ugly suburban intersections in the Twin Cities

By adapting modern design trends, an intersection near Southdale gets a much needed update.
Stage & Arts
June 9
Sally Rousse, shown near the entrance of the Cowles Center, has created a new show celebrating the building. BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Sally Rousse pose

1888 Masonic Temple's 'joyful' past influences Cowles choreographer

Choreographer Sally Rousse's new show is both tribute and bridge to the Cowles Center.
May 25
Downtown East Commons park.

5 reasons Downtown East works (hint: it's not because the buildings look cool)

Well-planned, if unremarkable, buildings have helped create a vibrant new neighborhood.
May 11
Despite its deadly reputation, the Washington Avenue viaduct wasn’t demolished until 1984.

Most hated bridge in Minneapolis was an ugly, deadly road hazard

A brief history of "Old Man Viaduct," which lasted a century.
May 4
St. Paul's Central Park with an elaborate ice palace in 1886.

St. Paul's upscale Central Park was doomed by construction of State Capitol

The city was once home to a tony park in an upscale residential neighborhood. Until the Capitol moved in.
April 27
Minnesota Historical Society photo of Hennepin Avenue in 1915.

In praise of the humble midsize buildings that make the Twin Cities special

Ordinary, midsize buildings don't often draw praise, but they make our cities lively, livable and adaptable.
April 20
Steve Ray launched the Deep North podcast to showcase the Twin Cities’ more urbane side.

New podcast wants Minnesotans to be prouder of Twin Cities

"Deep North" seeks to build a better reputation for the Twin Cities.
March 26
Hennepin Healthcare Clinic and Specialty Center,l 8th Street between Park Av and Chicago Av. [ Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace

10 projects that will change the look of the Twin Cities

These projects, in various stages of the completion pipeline, should elevate the Twin Cities' architectural profile in the not-so-distant future.
March 16
Keegan’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis.

Irish pubs helped revolutionize the look of Twin Cities bars

Irish pubs played a part in making bars less secretive and warmer, welcoming and connected.
March 10
The Dutch-themed restaurant in the National Hotel in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis 1920s hotel boasted exotic dancers and Charlie Chaplin

The long-lost National was known for its Dutch-themed restaurant, bohemian clientele -- and its many fires.
March 2
Stacks of old matte signs are for sale.

Looking for a sign? Golden Valley is selling them

Instead of tossing old street signs, Golden Valley's Historical Society is selling them.
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