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.

May 23
By the end of this year, Ridgedale will have three major multiunit residential projects right next door.

Key Twin Cities malls are being transformed into town centers

Well-located and managed by savvy owners, a few powerhouse malls continue to evolve and thrive.
May 15
The Central Lutheran ramp near the Minneapolis Convention Center takes its elegant design cues from the gothic Central Lutheran Church.

Often overlooked, parking ramps reflect Twin Cities history

Advancements in engineering transformed the technology, scale and design of parking structures.
May 9
Robert Street between 6th and 7th in St. Paul in 1899 before an ambitious project to widen the street began construction in 1913.

The 1913 widening of St. Paul's Robert Street gave the city room to grow

More than 30 buildings, many dating to the 1880s or earlier, had to be torn down or have their front lopped off 20 feet.
May 1
With most people working from home, the skyways, or “the streets of Minneapolis,” are nearly empty.

Where does Minneapolis seem most deserted? The skyways

City sidewalks aren't the real measure of how vacant Minneapolis is right now.
March 27
The Kmart store was opened in the 1970s at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis.

How closing Kmart and finally reopening Nicollet Avenue will change Mpls.

Reviving the once-busy thoroughfare can help create a more vibrant, connected city.
March 13
One of the designs proposed for the outdoor performance venue at the Upper Harbor Terminal site in north Minneapolis.

Why do new plans for Upper Harbor Terminal in Mpls. repeat old mistakes?

Analysis: We need new kinds of development that will eliminate disparities, increase affordability, and generate jobs.
February 28
Driveway leading to Red Owl loading dock, below Southdale Center parking lot, Edina.

With Kowalski's coming to Southdale, the first U.S. mall gets closer to roots

With the addition of a grocery store, Southdale moves one step closer to its original vision as a community hub.
February 21
Milton Square in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul is a model for contemporary winter streets and corners.

How the Twin Cities could be designed for winter livability

A few humble street corners show us how to create a "patio culture" year-round.
February 14
The IDS Center, left, towers over downtown Minneapolis.

Nearly a dozen smaller Minneapolis buildings were razed for the IDS Center. The city's better for it

For many decades, the central core was a great architectural hodgepodge, with many blocks containing buildings in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles.
January 24
The newly revitalized building has a new name: Arvonne Fraser Library.

In Dinkytown, a 1960s landmark library gets the rebirth it deserves

A 1960s Dinkytown library — by Minnesota Modernist architect Ralph Rapson — gleams anew after an $11.6 million restoration.
Stage & Arts
January 18
Minneapolis’ tallest building was once the Foshay Tower, foreground, an obelisk.

Think the Minneapolis skyline is unique? Think again – we have copycat buildings in our midst

Some of our landmark buildings aren't so unique. Others are ours alone.
January 3
The Francis Drake Hotel in Minneapolis (shown circa 1931) opened in 1924 and cost “nearly One-Half Million Dollars.”

In its heyday, Drake Hotel offered Old World allure

Built in 1926, Minneapolis hotel lost to Christmas fire slipped into second-tier status after a decade or two.
Stage & Arts
January 2
Rothe Amundson cabin

The 7 best projects by Minnesota architects from 2019

The American Institute of Architects Minnesota honored projects ranging from a wayside rest stop to a lakeside cabin to a college arts complex.
December 20, 2019
The 1955 fire at the Willard Apartments, 538 St. Peter Street, St. Paul.

Fires in downtown St. Paul reshaped the cityscape in the 1950s and '60s

Midcentury fires in downtown St. Paul removed many Victorian structures.
December 6, 2019
It's a Victorian Christmas at the Alexander Ramsey House in St. Paul.

St. Paul's historic homes offer tours and stories of Christmases past

Two St. Paul gems, decked out for the holidays, offer a look at Christmases past.
November 29, 2019
Oh, that one: the Public Service Center in Minneapolis.

Public Service Center may not be worth saving, but it's worth remembering

The demolition of the rather ordinary Public Service Center in Minneapolis will leave a gap in the city scape.
November 15, 2019
The Minnehaha Academy Upper School Campus opened on Aug, 19, 2019. The light-filled new buildings y connect the school to its historic grounds and nat

Rebuilt Minnehaha Academy forges connection to past, neighborhood and nature

Two years after a fatal explosion, the design for the rejuvenated campus reaches toward the future.
November 8, 2019
Large historical panoramas hang in the Wells Fargo Bank building’s skyway in Downtown East.

You can learn a lot about Minneapolis history by walking the skyways

Photos, murals and other collections make the skyways into mini-museums.
October 25, 2019
Hampshire Arms, 9th Street and S. 4th Avenue, Minneapolis.

Affordable housing was once a staple of our downtowns. Here's what happened

Residential hotels and rooming houses in Minneapolis and St. Paul offered alternatives to houses and apartments.
October 7, 2019
Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

A panoramic photo of the city taken on a large-format camera in 1907 offers an incredible time capsule. "It reveals things that essentially nobody ever saw before. It's so immersive."
September 27, 2019
The residence of John E. Bell at 24th Street and Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Bell was a merchant, wholesaler and banker.

This 1885 Park Avenue mansion was the queen of the Queen Annes

With its balconies, porches, dormers and gingerbread trim, this Park Avenue mansion in Minneapolis was the giddiest of them all.
August 23, 2019
Passengers navigated a crowded subway platform in New York City.

The Twin Cities didn't get a subway in the 1900s, and here's why

In the early 1900s, there was talk of building one. It would have put its mark on the metro.
Stage & Arts
August 17, 2019
A fire destroyed St. Olaf’s Catholic Church in Minneapolis in 1953.

Elegant Gothic church dominated Minneapolis skyline — until it burned a second time

An iconic sanctuary survived an 1888 fire and a 1904 tornado only to burn down years later.
Stage & Arts
August 9, 2019
The fountains at the renovated Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis flowed over the reflecting pool.

$10 million later, the renovated Peavey Plaza is an accessible success

A renovation has restored the downtown gem's singular looks while making it accessible to all.
Stage & Arts
August 2, 2019
Casiville Bullard helped lay the brickwork for the Cathedral of St. Paul.

These 3 builders helped shape Twin Cities architectural landscape

Mill City exhibit showcases work of black groundbreakers Cap Wigington, Casiville Bullard and William Hazel.

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