Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
CP: How must it feel to be Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which designed the 1982 Metrodome, a building with an approval rating lower than President Nixon in his second term?
RN: Skidmore was well past its glory days of Lever House in New York City and the John Hancock in Chicago when the firm scarred the Minneapolis streetscape with City Center and le Dôme.
CP: Teams fled the place, which resembles a giant lump of white-bread dough proofing in a casket, like it was on fire. The Vikings alone were trapped there, and even they spent half of the Dome’s 32-year existence kvetching about how they needed a new home. Of course, you were there for those big Promise Keeper rallies in the mid-1990s, but when else?
RN: Fortunately, I was able to borrow those Dockers from you so I’d fit in, PK-wise. In all honesty, I think I’ve been inside the Metrodome once — when the AIDS Quilt was displayed on its field, in 1988.
CP: Ditto. One visit for the quilt, and a few times roller-blading its outer orbit. God, remember roller blades?
RN: I’m hard pressed to think of an uglier edifice. It’s the publicly funded stadium equivalent of a face that could stop a clock.
CP: Let’s not overlook its massive impact on Downtown East revitalization: Hubert’s Bar.
RN: Well, the vast Metrodome-adjacent acreage that our employer has long cultivated for parking lots may be a factor. But the Dome’s sterile, anti-urban hideousness certainly is.
CP: Even a plaza with public art and an LRT line couldn’t bring liveliness to the area. Someone said the Dome was destined for one thing: to get a crowd inside for a scream-a-thon, and then to get them the H-E-Double-Hockeysticks out. Mission accomplished. Have you enjoyed it as a close neighbor to your workplace these past 30 years?
RN: While my Strib career may read like three interminable decades of gas-bag-iness, I just marked my 15th anniversary here at the word factory, thanks. As for that Teflon-coated cream puff, my default attitude involves averting my gaze — it burns! — and envisioning a lovely replacement.
CP: And do you see the line of beauty in the upcoming $1 billion stadium? Me, neither.
RN: Beauty? The jury’s out. Drama? Perhaps. As for the Dome, it was thrown up — literally — for what would be an economical $133 million in 2013 dollars. A perfect example of the You Get What You Pay For school of design theory.
CP: Let’s not toss around phrases such as “design theory” in the same breath as the Meh-trodome. Or the new place, for that matter.
rn: Here’s a revenue-stream idea for the Dome’s operators: Sell sledgehammer swings. Ka-ching!
Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib