College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design


jackliebenberg.jpg A Monument to the Early Explorers of Minnesota, Jacob J. Liebenberg, ca. 1916, pen and ink wash mounted on heavy half inch thick board, 64.5x87in.

The College of Design's Drawing Archives contain more than 2,000 drawings by architecture students from the last hundred years. This overwhelming collection shows the range of projects that have interested students and faculty, as well as the changing views about architectural representation. Student work of the past, much like ours today, either followed the current trends within the field or reacted against them. The student drawings display the individual's style of representation and the common beliefs of each generation, which are visible in the architectural design as well as the compositional details.

observatory.jpg Observatory, P.W. Kilpatrick, 1927, ink wash, watercolor on paper, 63.9x96.8 in.

For example, the representation of trees in these drawings varies significantly through time. They show contemporary views about the use of color and line weight, as well as the preferred media. There is a distinct difference between the carefully clipped greenery of early 20th century drawings done in monotone washes and the vibrant globular trees that begin to appear in the 30s. During the 40s there is a stylistic split in the student work between the free-form umbrella style and angular geometric trees that transitions into the leafless stick trees of the 50s.

Gateway to a Great City.jpg Gateway to a Great City, Albert Ameson, 1939, watercolor on heavy board, 97x63.5 in.

The trees also display the students' beliefs about the role of nature in architecture through their relative scale when compared with the surrounding buildings and the choice of which drawings to show them in. Even the purposeful lack of trees in many mid-century projects indicates the priorities of architectural representation at that time.

visualartcenter.jpg Visual Art Center, T.J. Schlink, 1962-63, graphite, ink, watercolor, plastic on board, 76x101 in.

A selection of student drawings will be displayed on the second floor of Rapson Hall and in the Architecture Library during the Centennial Reunion, October 25-27. Pause to look at these drawings and let their details inspire your own representational style.

by Madelyn Sundberg, GDIII M. Arch & M.S. Heritage Conservation and Preservation candidate


Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry: 16th Century Ribbed Vaults in Mixteca, Mexico is on display in the Goldstein Museum of Design's HGA Gallery at Rapson Hall through October 13th. Researcher and guest exhibition curator, Benjamin Ibarra Sevilla (Assistant Professor, Architecture, CDes) will be giving an opening lecture Monday, September 16, 6pm in Rapson Hall 100.

Nicholas Kramer, a UMN Architecture student, shares with us the process behind the 3D printing of the models of the vaults and their keystones in the exhibition.


The models in the Mixtec Stonecutting exhibit are the product of many hours, many hands, and several different machines. Before the digital models existed, the only place to see these vaults was within their respective churches in Mexico. After many hours with a 3D scanner, they had literally been turned into clouds of points, inhabiting their respective places within a computer.

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From the point cloud data, digital models of each vault were constructed, and the keystones extracted. Building and refining these models to the exacting specifications of the 3D printer took many months. The 3D printer requires the models to be "water tight", meaning they must be a complete solid with no bare edges. This can be difficult in such complex pieces. Since each model is a different size and has a different degree of complexity, the time it takes to print each piece varies tremendously.

Tepos Digital Model.JPG

Yan Digital Model.JPG
Some of the pieces in the exhibit were printed overnight and took little interaction other than pressing the print button on the 3D printer, while others took upwards of two days to print and even longer to remove from the support material.


The process of creating these models was a tremendous challenge, but ultimately proved to be an invaluable learning experience. The most exciting thing for us is that the models provide the opportunity to see and study something many would never have been exposed to otherwise.



– by Nicholas J. Kramer, School of Architecture, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, B.D.A

Images courtesy of Nicholas Kramer and GMD.


Cedar Riverside Model.jpgBW Cedar Riverside Model.jpg

Back when the Rapson Hall Exhibition program started in 2002 with a generous donation from Ken and Judy Dayton, the program featured exhibitions of objects that had been around the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) for a considerable time. Two of these objects were models from Ralph Rapson's architecture office of a major project. Most readers will be familiar with this architecture project, having seen it many times; it's the Cedar Riverside project, completed in 1973. Few would realize the original, much larger scope proposed for the project. The more senior of students who passed through the School of Architecture will probably remember the model, especially the section that for many years hung in the stairwell of the School.

As it happens, two very large models of the proposed project were created, each laid out on five solid core doors. Many students in the School of Architecture worked on the models and at various times sections of the models were on display in the School of Architecture spaces.

In 2002, when the Steven Holl addition was added to what is now Rapson Hall, everything was moved out of the building and put in storage. After the renovation was complete, and knowing about the models but not of their whereabouts, we launched a search to find and retrieve the models. It turned out that one of the models was a bit worse for wear. One section had been crushed, making the model look as if a scale-model tornado had passed through the scaled landscape of the Cedar Riverside area.

About a half-dozen years ago the models were pulled out of their permanent storage area, known as "The Trench," and assembled for a seminar class in Architecture. At that time we seized the opportunity to invite Ralph Rapson to come over for a conversation with Tom Fisher, Dean of the College of Design, about the Cedar Riverside project; the conversation was recorded on video tape for posterity.

Although only a part of the proposed Cedar Riverside project was ever built, the models are still in storage, along with other treasures, waiting for the day when another seminar class will call upon them to be the focus of discussion for their class.

Jim Dozier, Rapson Exhibition Coordinator

Photographs of Ralph Rapson's models of the Cedar Riverside Housing Complex project.

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Leonard Parker: An Architect's Architect
Friday, March 23, 6-8pm
HGA Gallery, Rapson Hall, Minneapolis Campus
Light refreshments served
sponsored by the College of Design School of Architecture, AIA Minnesota, and GMD

Leonard Parker's contribution to the College of Design's School of Architecture and Twin Cities' architecture is virtually unparalleled. In a career that included several decades of teaching in the School of Architecture, Parker showed generations of students not only how to become skilled designers, but also how to work in ways that would help ensure their own success in the profession.

Parker was also counted among the most prominent architects in the Twin Cities, establishing successful architecture firm The Leonard Parker Associates (TLPA) in 1958. TLPA designed many functional and handsome Minnesota landmarks, some of which include the University of Minnesota Law School (1978), the Minneapolis Convention Center (1989 & 2002), and the Minnesota Judicial Center (1998).

LeonardParker.jpgLinda Mack noted in a StarTribune article after Parker's passing, "Parker's death signals the end of an era. He was one of the young Modernists who shaped postwar Minnesota. Along with his peers James Stageberg, Bruce Abrahamson and John Rauma and their mentor Ralph Rapson (all deceased), he studied with the European giants who brought the International Style to America. Form follows function was their mantra. Architecture was their love."

Hanging on a wall in his office are many personal quotes, one of which reads, "Find out what you're here to do. Do the best you possibly can. And do it all the time." He was an inspiration to the lives that he touched, and continues to inspire architecture through his work.

Please join us in celebrating Leonard Parker's life, work, and legacy.

By Jenny Parker: GMD Graduate Assistant, and James Dozier: GMD Program Director, HGA Gallery

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At the forefront of today's struggle to reduce consumption, learn about Zurich's plan at the exhibition Smarter Living: The 2,000-Watt Society, which closes this Sunday, March 11. The exhibition illustrates the goal and the current plan of sustainable construction in Zurich, and demonstrates the diverse range of possible solutions.

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Martin J. Bienz, Consul General of Switzerland in Chicago,
College of Design Dean Tom Fisher, and Umberto Dindo, FAIA

On February 15, we were delighted to host architect Umberto Dindo, Principal of Dindo Architect P.C in New York City. Umberto was born and educated in Switzerland and was contacted by the Swiss Consulate to speak about the exhibition and Zurich's commitment to sustainability. Umberto explained that Zurich citizens voted to decrease energy use in 2008, approving a referendum that set the goal of reducing energy consumption by each person from the current 6,500 watt to 2,000 watt by 2050. Both new construction buildings and renovations in Zurich are made to be more efficient and low energy, intended to give architects, investors and contractors the courage and desire to continue on this path, and to invite them to accept the vision of the 2,000-watt society.

This exhibition illustrates 18 projects that take different approaches to sustainable architecture with complex technical solutions and clever references to traditional construction methods in small and large projects, retro fitting old housing stock, and new urban developments. What is being done today needs to be part of the future. In Switzerland, "Green" is no longer an option, it's the Law!

Be sure to check out this exhibition before it closes on March 11, and be sure to check out GMD's upcoming exhibitions.


By Jenny Parker: Goldstein Museum of Design Graduate Assistant,
MFA candidate in Graphic Design and Museum Studies




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