New development in Minneapolis: Is it really as cookie-cutter as people say?
Proposed six-floor mixed-use Dinkytown development at the intersection of Fifth Street SE and 14tth Avenue SE.
Renderings from the city of Minneapolis's website
Last week, Bill Lindeke posted a blog on Streets.MN entitled "Does New Minneapolis Architecture All Look The Same?"
To answer this worthwhile yet maddeningly subjective question, Lindeke surveyed three architects. Their responses ranged from the stoic to the adamant, and even drew a reference to a certain teen comedy.
Peter Crandall, a graduate student adviser at the University of Minnesota College of Design, criticized new developments for
dressing up what is essentially a wooden box with flashy features like aluminum siding or chunky overhands...If I may cite the eminently quotable film Clueless here, many of these developments are "full-on Monets." From a distance they're OK, but up close they're a big ole mess.
But in all seriousness: "What is lacking is a sensitivity to context."
In April 2012, Finance & Commerce looked at the same issue:
"I do think we need to challenge ourselves and ask whether we are stuck in a rut," said Jason Wittenberg, interim planning director for the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development department.
Wittenberg is quick to point out, however, that apartment buildings of every generation tend to look like one another -- with good reason. The buildings reflect the materials and technology available at the time, as well as the building codes, market rental rates and community tastes.
"Developers have found a model that makes economic sense," he explains, adding that "for the most part the city doesn't dictate architectural style."
Let us know what you think. We took a drive through Minneapolis and snapped five pictures of the new developments we came across. See if you can identify these recent projects, and their locations, by sight alone. The first one should be easy.
All yours, David Brauer.
To find out if you correctly guessed where each development is, click through to the next page.
1. 222 Hennepin Avenue
2. West Lake Street and Fremont Avenue South
3. Lagoon Avenue and Emerson Avenue South
4. 3920 Excelsior Boulevard (St. Louis Park)
5. 3725 29th Avenue South
-- Email Jesse Marx at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @marxjesse
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