March 21, 2007
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MacPhail Center for Music
MacPhail Center for Music
Images courtesy James Dayton Design
When Jean Nouvel’s bold, blue Guthrie Theater opened on the Minneapolis riverfront last summer, locals behaved as though a strange, outsized critter had just landed (RECORD, August 2006, page 108). Then they began flocking to it, finding delight in the three new theaters and the long cantilevered bridge overlooking the Mississippi. Other cultural buildings have since opened nearby—and real estate developers are capitalizing on the neighborhood’s new cachet.
One new project is The Portland. This 42-unit condominium building, located near the Guthrie in Mill City, exhibits a lively, Modernist flair. James Dayton Design used honey-colored resin and wood veneer panels and Galvalume steel for the exterior cladding. Windows project outward providing space for breakfast nooks or balconies. Under construction now, The Portland is due to be finished in late 2008.
Dayton also designed another project in the same neighborhood: the MacPhail Center for Music, a new 60,000-square-foot home for a local music school that celebrates its centennial this year. The MacPhail’s main form is a metal-clad six-story tower containing studios for piano, orchestral, rock, and jazz instruction. A 225-seat performance hall occupies a cube-shaped volume, covered in Cor-Ten steel, that projects out from the building. Construction began last fall and will finish by the end of this year.
A few blocks away from the MacPhail stands Cesar Pelli’s new Minneapolis Central Library, which opened in 2006. The library’s glass curtain walls create a see-through effect that contrasts against surrounding brick buildings. Pelli used the glazing as a way of inviting people into the library by letting them see the engaging interior spaces. The building’s form is simple: two giant cubes intersected by a five-story galleria that stretches through the block. Parts of the building’s roof are planted with grasses. The Architectural Alliance acted as the local associate architect on this project’s design.
Gold Medal Park, a much-needed green space, completes the riverfront scene. Landscape architect, Tom Oslund, reworked a 7.5-acre parking lot next to the Guthrie. At the heart of the space, a 32-foot-high grassy mound that spirals upward to give visitors a better view of the Mississippi River. Oslund says that his design was inspired by the Dakota Indians’ burial mounds found throughout Minnesota. Although the new park was completed last fall, its true debut comes this spring when more than 300 trees begin blooming.