Thursday, August 14, 2008

Peavey Perspectives

As a follow up to the previous post, I thought I’d share some additional points of view on the Peavey preservation debate.

Minnesota Orchestra:
Gwen Pappas, the spokesperson for the Minnesota Orchestra said, “As we talked to community leaders and potential donors of the project, we were universally asked, 'What are you going to do about Peavey Plaza? So at that point we decided as part of our project we really did need to take on the bigger issue, working with the city, of ideally what should Peavey Plaza become.”

Frank Martin, in their most recent edition of _Scape, holds a slightly different opinion. “When something goes "out of style", whether it's a necktie or a plaza, it is amazing how we can find good excuses to get rid of it." And Jean Garbarini of ASLA states, "Peavey is one of very few remaining Modernist landscapes in Minneapolis, and one of few landscapes in the Twin Cities design by a nationally recognized landscape architect."

M. Paul Friedberg:
The nationally recognized landscape architect himself, in a Southwest Journal article, said after a recent visit to the plaza that he was, “disturbed by the total lack of concern or even understanding of the concept or philosophy that drove the design. The materials that have been used to remedy the deterioration are suburban and inappropriate.”

The Public:
A recent public survey extracted some interesting comments such as “Peavey Plaza still has no water and looks pretty sad,” and “Could there also be an enforced policy to keep people from sleeping and ‘living’ in Peavey Plaza areas?”

The City of Minneapolis:
According to Mike Kennedy, the city’s director of transportation maintenance and repair, the life of a design like this should really only be 20 years and Peavey is reaching 40. He also stated that, “While we don’t see it as endangered, we do see it as challenged.” And the cost of maintaining it is becoming an increasingly larger chunk of the city’s $1.3 million for maintaining malls and plazas.


Anonymous said...

I was going to write about the nature of Peavy Plaza, Why it's design legacy makes it worthy of a strong resolve to see that everyone understand what a treasure it is to the city of Minneapolis and to Nicollet Mall. Instead I am going to provide more personal comments. This project was completed just as I was thinking about architecture as a profession and it had great influence on my early work in school. I waded in the cool water on a hot day. I sat and listened to free concerts from a vast and eclectic group of artists. My future wife sold hot dogs from a push cart at the top of the sweep of stairs that creates the amphitheater. My friends and I debated everything from architecture to office politics sitting on those steps. Peavy Plaza is one of the main reasons I so very much miss working downtown. The vitality of the space is incredible, the attaction of spending a warm afternoon people watching and enjoying a hot dog, undeniable. Wow, there is so much to this place. How could all of us not wish to continue to use this sunny clearing of steps and water, that does so well what we wish every other urban park should do.

Anonymous said...

I think, by your personal account, you succeeded in your original intent. Very nicely put. Amidst the layers of urban infrastructure, it's sometimes easy to forget that we're human and that's the only reason anything in any city exists.