Blog Prompt #2
"The term social design therefore refers to that aspect of architecture which takes as a priority the creation of environments for effective and positive human interaction, and in the end asks the question:
Can better buildings make for a better quality of interaction?" -Langdon Morris
The Saint Anthony Falls area along the Mississippi river in downtown Minneapolis has been experiencing major development in recent years with large condominium buildings rising high and restoration of historic warehouses and mills for housing and shopping. The Saint Anthony area is becoming the fashionable area across the river to eat and shop expensively and live in a brand new condo. The Saint Anthony’s area however, has a much richer history than any people know. It has a been an industrial complex of mills since the mid 1800’s and holds the record for the most flour produced in one area in the world. The Dam and bridge that many people see were built during these times. People who understand the area’s history believe the site should have some integrity and not be covered up by large buildings and restoration.
The Saint Anthony area is a soical-design issue because two sides of people what the area designed in two different ways. Architects need to decide what is best for the area and create buildings that make better interaction with the public. I would say the architect needs to decide based on what is best for the area and not necessarily do exactly what the clients, or big business developers, want to do. I would personally advocate for a mix of both. I love historic areas in urban settings but there has to be some history left intact in order to get that affect. There should be some historical buildings left for usage of museums or other uses but some development should be allowed. Low rise buildings should be the norm with a restriction on how tall they can be.
I have been to Saint Anthony's a few different times since I have been up in Minneapolis and can feel the history. I hope the designers and developers have the best intentions for the area in mind and not just the green they would get with exploitation. Understanding that Minneapolis was built upon the flour mills of St. Anthony Falls should be enough for designers to want to encompass that feel into the modern district.
I recently did a project on the development of St. Anthony's and sat down and talked with a representative and designer of a new high rise condominium complex.