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.

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March 16, 2018
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, 2018
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, 2018
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.
February 23, 2018
A former White Castle restaurant on Lyndale Avenue S. in Minneapolis retains its fast-food look.

Fast-food joints were unlikely source of imaginative 20th-century design — and will be missed

White Castle and others were kitschy and a loud rebuke to the serious architecture of the day. And that's what made them great.
February 16, 2018
Izzy’s headquarters offers a sharp contrast to the nearby Guthrie Theater.

5 ways the Twin Cities can look better in winter

Our extreme weather makes us unique and our urban design should reflect that.
February 9, 2018
In later years, Westgate ran overlooked films, but the neighborhood protested after two years of “Harold and Maude.”

When a Twin Cities movie theater vanishes, it takes neighborhood history with it

The story behind Westgate Theater, a movie house for what was once the streetcar suburb of Morningside.
February 2, 2018
Nicollet Park in Minneapolis was home to the Minneapolis Millers baseball team.

Why don't they put stadiums in the suburbs anymore?

As they follow development trends, well designed stadiums can propel growth.
January 27, 2018
The 6th Street bridge from Lowertown St. Paul to Dayton’s Bluff.

An 1898 bridge collapse in St. Paul was a costly spectacle but took no lives

This collapse destroyed part of a bridge that is all but forgotten today, even though it was once among the city's most impressive spans.
January 13, 2018
Should Nice Rides be required?

We asked how Twin Cities can gussy up for Super Bowl: You didn't disappoint

Readers offer their practical and fanciful suggestions on how to gussy up the Twin Cities for the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LII
January 5, 2018
U.S. Bank Stadium loomed over Downtown East Commons.

Wanted: Some super ideas to make Minneapolis a better Super Bowl city

Do you have any thoughts to help us impress the world?
December 29, 2017
The Target Center renovation added large windows in concourses and a large atrium to look out on Hennepin Avenue and the Minneapolis skyline.

Downtown Mpls. projects played it safe in 2017 – and that's OK

New developments in downtown Minneapolis — and there were plenty of them — were largely good. Or at least good enough.
December 22, 2017
The Palace Theater in Minneapolis in 1936.

Mpls. once had a Palace Theater, home to everything from horses to ice cream wrestling

Minneapolis' Palace Theater fell to the wrecking ball in the 1950s.
December 15, 2017
Oakland Cemetery was shaped by landscape architect Horace Cleveland.

Two old Twin Cities cemeteries document our regional history

Burial grounds reflect our area's history and social makeup.
December 8, 2017
Ignatius Donnelly had big dreams for Nininger City, Minn., in the 1850s when he built his home there. The house is shown being demolished in 1949.

A look at failed Minnesota utopias – and one that worked

A brief history of attempts to build the perfect city.
December 1, 2017
In 1955 Minneapolis, parents held their children up to see Santa in the downtown Dayton's window.

Victorian Christmas? Bah, humbug! Ideal holiday image is of Minneapolis' Nicollet Mall in the 1950s

We should be nostalgic for the festive downtowns of the 1950s, not something out of a Dickens novel.
November 24, 2017
The Gateway District in Minneapolis was a colorful, skid-row area wiped out by urban renewal in the early 1960s.

Mpls.' notorious Gateway District razed 60 years ago; time to stop mourning loss

Nearly 60 years after the demise of the downtown Minneapolis district, we still mourn the losses. Maybe we shouldn't.
November 17, 2017
Take a closer look at remade Nicollet Mall in Mpls.

Take a closer look at remade Nicollet Mall in Mpls.

After $50 million and 28 disruptive months of construction, the barriers have finally come down on Nicollet Mall, marking its third remake in a half-century.
November 10, 2017
Interstate highways have cut Minneapolis and St. Paul off from the nearby neighborhoods, isolating the downtowns and making the cities less livable.

Why Twin Cities must bring back walkable, livable neighborhoods

Our definition of downtown is preventing us from creating a truly urbane, equitable and 24-hour city.
November 3, 2017
The Loeb Arcade arrived in 1914.

Downtown Mpls. malls fail; here's why the Dayton's project might succeed

Minneapolis has a checkered history with shopping arcades. Will the new Dayton's be any different?
October 27, 2017
Early mansions in Lowertown included railroad tycoon James J. Hill’s 1878 Lowertown home. (He moved to a much grander mansion on Summit Avenue in 18

St. Paul's Lowertown was once home to some of the city's finest homes

The Lowertown neighborhood wasn't always full of lofts and trendy bars and restaurants.
October 21, 2017
The exterior of the Webber Park Library features a roomy front porch.

New Minneapolis library is stunning inside and out

North Minneapolis has a new library, nearly two decades in the making, and it's as beautiful as it is functional.
October 14, 2017
The TCF atrium has been brightened up for a new decade. You can sit on the steps ... or sit on the chairs.

How to — and how not to — update old buildings in downtown Minneapolis

Our take on three redesigned spaces in downtown Minneapolis.
October 6, 2017
The names of new apartment buildings are vague and pretentious, but that’s nothing new.

Why are some new Twin Cities apartment building names so pretentious?

Yes, the names of new apartment buildings are pretentious. But they've always been so.
September 23, 2017
An exhibit at the Goldstein Museum of Design shows how Dutch policies promote housing that caters to diverse uses and income levels.

Does Netherlands hold key to diversity needs in Twin Cities housing?

Twin Cities housing doesn't meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population. The Netherlands may be a model.
September 15, 2017
This photo of Pillsbury Hall was taken on Sept. 19, 1926.

Pillsbury Hall, U's second-oldest building, is in line for $36M in TLC

After years of failing to make the cut, the beloved building at the University of Minnesota finally is on the shortlist for renovation funding.