Monday, August 25, 2008

Peavey Part 3

As the new Architecture Minnesota is about to hit the news stands, some more viewpoints are surfacing over the great Peavey Plaza debate.

Frank Edgerton Martin - Landscape Historian
As many of you in the design community may know, the Minnesota Orchestral Association is moving forward in renovating and expanding the Orchestra Hall lobby. There has also been some talk of rebuilding adjacent Peavey Plaza in a way that alters its fountains, sunken space, and modernist character. As discussed in my Conundra article in the most recent issue of Architecture Minnesota, there are many puzzles and questions that arise from the debate over Peavey's future. Some of the main puzzles are:How can we make modern landscapes more sustainable and refresh them without destroying their essential character?How do we define what the real character of a building or park is?Finally, what would you recommend for Peavey Plaza? Renew? Rip out and start over? Try to preserve but make better?Discuss!

Jean Garbarini - Close Landscape Architects:
The Downtown Council and Orchestra Hall are both interested in updating and upgrading Peavey Plaza in an effort to provide space that works better for Orchestral Association events and to attract people to downtown Minneapolis. When Peavey was initially constructed it did both of those things. These days, Peavey is packed on sunny weekday afternoons – in all seasons. After business hours and on the weekends the space is largely empty with the exception of transient users unless an event is happening. Will Plaza improvements alone be the draw that Downtown Minneapolis needs? When I was a child, a visit to Downtown Minneapolis was a shopping event, with two major department stores and countless boutiques. Last winter I tried to buy my child a pair of shoes downtown and after paying for parking was dismayed to find no opportunity to do so. Is the retreat of retail to the malls and suburbs reversible? How can urban design combined with improvement efforts for Peavey help bring life back to Nicollet Mall?

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