Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Loosen Your Architectural Straitjacket

Schubert Club Bandstand, a highly unnoticed architectural gem on St. Paul's Raspberry Island.

"When was the last time you encountered a new building in St. Paul that was interesting in some deep way, a building that challenged you with new ideas or a creative use of materials or a new approach to urban relationships?"

Pioneer Press architecture critic Larry Millett asked that question in an article in Monday's paper and answered it pretty pessimistically — "Architecture in St. Paul, with few exceptions, has turned to dull predictability" and "drones on, with increasingly dreary results."

While Millett's concern is narrowly focused on architecture, we see in his observations a broader concern, a larger question of the capital city's strategic direction and the perennial conflict between planned development driven by elected officials and organic growth resulting from independent, individual decisions.

Your thoughts? Click below to share.


Anonymous said...

As I was standing outside in the sub-zero temperature to buy my ticket to the new AMC theater in Rosedale I became curious about who the architect was on this project. "Some southern California Architect" I thought. But then I realized - no, this architect MUST be registered in Minnesota! Okay, so which one of you is it??

reaXtions said...

Oh sure. blame the cold on the architect. Did you have on a warm jacket, gloves and a hat, or did you go out like my kids with nothing on?

Seriously, maybe the Owner had something to do with telling the architect that he didn't intend to pay for the extra non revenue generating space to keep those cold day Minnesota customers warm on freezing nights while waiting to buy tickets to the latest blockbuster. They probably replied when the Minnesota architect pleaded for indoor waiting space that, "they should buy their tickets online and not have to worry". Poor architect might have said but that costs another 1-2 dollars. Now imagine what the owner says in response.

Perhaps there's more to it than the architect in the straightjacket, although we do appreciate the metaphor and the post. Thanks