Peter S. Carlsen

University of Minnesota - B.Arch '78

What was the most important thing/skill/concept you learned at the School of Architecture?
We all learned to draw and design plans like Ralph Rapson with a certain clarity that reads from across the room. It is a rather remarkable accomplishment for a man that I never had in a studio.

Who made the most lasting impression (most influenced you) and why?
Hearing James Stageberg tell our Grade 2 class, "Some of you have it now...some of you will get it by the time you do your thesis, and some will get it 10 years after you graduate, but you will all become designers." Listening behind John Cunningham as he gave a crit explaining they would give increasingly complex problems revealing a bit more each time, like lifting bumwad off a drawing. Hearing Denis Grebner approach each student in the studio differently, realizing here was a teacher, and the way architecture was taught as problem solving with many answers.

What is your favorite memory from your studio days?
A group structures problem, where each member made a significant contribution to the solution without asking or complaining, allowing us to complete a very polished project in time to get a beer as others in the studio faced an all nighter and having barely begun.

Please identify one (or more) memorable design project that you worked on while a student at the School of Architecture.
A series of projects in the Historic Hill Studio focusing on development around Selby Avenue in Saint Paul.

What major forces (such as individual architects, design philosophies, rendering styles, research methods, etc.) do you remember influencing you significantly as a student?
The idea, no longer in fashion, that buildings should support their neighbors and belong in their context.

Cite an example (be specific) that illustrates how you used the education you received at the School of Architecture to positively impact (or better) your community, city, nation or the world.
I was working on a neighborhood committee that asked the question, "Why not the best for Selby Avenue?" This led to my writing and formatting the Selby Avenue Right of Way Framework that was taken by the mayor and used to implement the reconstruction of 12 blocks of the avenue.

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