Streetscapes

Streetscapes is a column devoted to Minnesota architecture. Writers critique, explore and explain the built environment, from brand-new buildings to revered older ones.


The Twin Cities didn't get a subway in the 1900s, and here's why

In the early 1900s, there was talk of building one. It would have put its mark on the metro.


Elegant Gothic church dominated Minneapolis skyline — until it burned a second time

An iconic sanctuary survived an 1888 fire and a 1904 tornado only to burn down years later.


$10 million later, the renovated Peavey Plaza is an accessible success + Photo Gallery

A renovation has restored the downtown gem's singular looks while making it accessible to all.


These 3 builders helped shape Twin Cities architectural landscape + Photo Gallery

Mill City exhibit showcases work of black groundbreakers Cap Wigington, Casiville Bullard and William Hazel.


The Minnesota Theater and the Capitol were once the biggest, grandest movie palaces in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis and St. Paul were once home to massive, elaborately designed theaters.


An 1889 issue of the Saturday Evening Spectator shows a fanciful Minneapolis

A late 19th-century newspaper promoted Minneapolis by depicting it with fanciful buildings.


How a landscape architect's vision for a roadless area led to the Boundary Waters

A young landscape architect's vision of a roadless wilderness laid the groundwork for the Boundary Waters.


In praise of the iconic staircases of the Twin Cities

The grand staircase is disappearing from our skyscrapers and large civic buildings.


Streetscapes: Why moving the Southdale Library to Southdale mall is a good idea

A proposal to move the 46-year-old Southdale Library into Southdale shopping center makes synergistic sense.


Freeways killed stunning Victorian architecture in St. Paul

The advent of freeways spelled the end of elegant, eclectic neighborhoods near downtown St. Paul.


Going to Doors Open Minneapolis? Here's how to read the buildings you see

You can often tell at a glance whether a building is residential, commercial, civic or religious.


See a long-lost promotional video that captures Minneapolis in 1968

The film also features a catchy song by the team that wrote "We're Going to Win, Twins."


The secret to Allianz Field's amped-up fan experience? It's wrapped in fabric

Allianz Field's unique Teflon-like wrap offers an exotic look and an intense fan experience.


Remembering architect James Dayton, creator of iconic Twin Cities buildings + Photo Gallery

Through his eye-grabbing work, architect James Dayton made the Twin Cities a better, more beautiful place.


Twin Cities were once home to grand opera houses, one prominent in a murder trial

The Minneapolis Metropolitan became the scene of an alibi concocted by a notorious murderer. The architect of St. Paul's Metropolitan helped design Grand Central Terminal in New York City.


Minnesota college students study up on their campuses' good (and bad) luck charms

It's said that rubbing Goldy Gopher's teeth before a test can bring good luck. At least, that's what incoming students sometimes hear on campus tours.


Why midcentury motels failed in downtown Minneapolis + Photo Gallery

Affordable, accessible motor inns were once the place to stay downtown. That all began to change in the 1960s.


Winter reminds us why we love the Twin Cities skyways

Not everyone thinks highly of these aboveground, indoor sidewalks. But our recent deep freeze was a reminder of how the skyways make downtown not just livable, but unique.


Why the Brutalist architecture style in the Twin Cities is literally painful

For a while, it was thought to be forward looking. Now it's widely considered inhumane.


Once-chic Nicollet Hotel in Mpls. Gateway District was design 'triumph'

Rising on the site of the 1858 Nicollet House, the hotel was financed by the public, and torn down in 1991. United Properties has proposed a 33-story glass office tower for the site.


Now-lost Mpls. mansion was a sterling example of Tudor Revival style

Massive Tudor Revivals were once common in the Twin Cities. This Loring Park gem was one of the best.


Beautiful doors on Twin Cities buildings make a statement + Photo Gallery

Though they're often overlooked, doors reveal a lot about a building and its era.


Downtown St. Paul's biggest loss? Extravagant Ryan Hotel was a Victorian masterpiece

St. Paul's Ryan Hotel, demolished in the early 1960s, was a classic example of Victorian excess.


Banking boom brought flair to midcentury Minnesota bank buildings

Many banks in Minnesota now have new uses, but their original designs give them away.


New book by Larry Millett brings mighty Metropolitan Building back to life

Architectural historian Larry Millett reveals the history of a long-lost Minneapolis landmark in his new book, "Metropolitan Dreams."