Architecture in Minneapolis I
I had never been to the Twin Cities until this summer. I traveled to Minneapolis in July with Adrian Saxe, and we attended the opening of “Dirt on Delight” at the Walker Art Center. Adrian, a veteran traveler, did most of the preparation for our trip. I was pleased to have him take over—he’s naturally inquisitive, great at gathering information, and possesses what I call “built-in-GPS”. He calls it his “pigeon-brain”. Whatever one wants to name it, he is a marvelous navigator.
I expressed interest in going to see the great Mississippi River—something a tourist from a dry region would find a rare natural resource. After we landed and checked into our hotel, Saxe drove our rented car right down to the locks in the heart of old Minneapolis. I saw the river, the bridges and some real river barges. I was interested, intrigued and informed, realizing that we were in the shadows of Gold Medal Flour’s distribution point. But then, I saw something that really caught my eye: the rising form and reflecting blue of a stunning architectural work. The design of the Guthrie Theatre is the work of architect Jean Nouvel, along with the Minneapolis architectural firm Architectural Alliance.
We drove up to the building, and made our own impromptu tour of the exterior and all the interior amenities. Anything I write would probably be redundant, since critics and architecture buffs have been giving this building glowing reviews—and Jean Nouvel won the 2008 Pritzker Architecture Prize for the Guthrie Theater. But I will note that I understood the central axis, the great pedestrian experience, and the “endless bridge”. It all made my day, to see how the architect had worked with the site and the concept. I managed to take a couple of tourist photos: Adrian standing at the Guthrie, the interior hallways, and the exterior elevations.