September 25, 2006

"Knock 'em Down, Make 'em Bigger"

Wasted Space. It's everywhere- look around wherever you are right this instant and you will find it, provided you're not in student housing.

Wasted Resources. Take a look at your garbage can. What's in there? Could you have reused any of it? Did you really need to have it in the first place?

Sustainability. Expensive; necessary. The only way to look at future architecture.

DON'T knock 'em down, then- fix 'em up; DON'T make 'em bigger, make them better, more efficient...

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September 21, 2006

Midtown Xchange

The neighborhood in which the former Sears distribution center downtown sits is one in disrepair, to put it lightly.

The building itself has been refurbished, though, now boasting clients such as Allina Health Care on top of the Midtown Market. The ceilings are open and large pillars are a staple in the entry across from the new parking auxiliary ramp that costs only $.75 for one hour of parking. I did not feel like I was in a bad part of town- the building is inviting, and as an architecture student interested in sustainability and using what we already have, I loved the fact that it was a rennovation rather than a demolition-rebuild project.

The flow of people within the market was constant, despite the fact that it wasn't very crowded. Energy is brought through the front doors and to the left, where the market begins. I'd say there is no other place I've seen that combines so many different cultures in one space. Specific shops emit unique heritage, which creates a flow about the large room and seems to move with the consumer, browsing shop to shop. Perhaps the greatest force is felt from the eateries, where Swedish, Mexican and Russian delicacies can all be tasted.

Overall the energy is positive. It's a wonderful place, one of the largest succesful rennovations completed in the U.S., finishing only two years ago. Over ten years the giant of a building sat dormant until finally, the funding and ambition were mustered to start and finish the monster project from 2000-2004. The history and former glory of this antique building are qualities that add to it's energy, and highlight an effort by the city of Minneapolis to re-enlighten it's former glories.