Streetscapes is a column devoted to Minnesota architecture. Each Saturday, a variety of writers will critique, explore and explain the built environment, from brand new buildings to revered older ones. Send suggestions for future topics to or tweet @ClaudePeck.

How to — and how not to — update old buildings in downtown Minneapolis

Our take on three redesigned spaces in downtown Minneapolis.

Why are some new Twin Cities apartment building names so pretentious?

Yes, the names of new apartment buildings are pretentious. But they've always been so.

Does Netherlands hold key to diversity needs in Twin Cities housing?

Twin Cities housing doesn't meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population. The Netherlands may be a model.

Pillsbury Hall, U's second-oldest building, is in line for $36M in TLC

After years of failing to make the cut, the beloved building at the University of Minnesota finally is on the shortlist for renovation funding.

Streetscapes: Marquette Avenue block's quiet history

Are you having trouble placing this block of old Minneapolis? It’s Marquette Avenue between 6th and 7th streets. But it’s almost impossible to recognize it…

We can improve the alleys in the Twin Cities, but only if we really want to

We could improve city alleys by turning them into shared green spaces — or just by cleaning them up.

Minneapolis was once home to dozens of mansions built by flour-dusted elite

In the late 19th century, if you owned a flour mill or two in Minneapolis, the chances were quite good that you built a mansion somewhere along or near 10th Street.

Bold new plan re-envisions Park and Portland avenues in downtown Minneapolis

Today, there's little reason to get out of your car near Park and Portland avenues in downtown Minneapolis, aside from the new Commons park. But a walkable neighborhood is worth bringing back. And that's what BKV Group hopes to do.

Minneapolis' landmark Jesus mural is crumbling — can it be saved? + Photo Gallery

One of Minneapolis' most prominent public paintings is falling apart. An anonymous donor recently gave the church $1,000 to "beautify" the mural.

What you can — and cannot — see in the renovation of State Capitol

For the past three years, the Minnesota State Capitol has been undergoing a massive, $310 million renovation. But many of the improvements to the 1905 building won't be visible. Here's an inside look.

St. Paul's early and unusual megachurch went up in flames – twice

Built on personality rather than doctrine, the massive People's Church defied design norms for the late 19th century.

Redo of Peavey Plaza in Mpls. preserves and updates once-popular park + Photo Gallery

It wasn't easy, but the city of Minneapolis has landed on a design to update the aging outdoor park while maintaining its modernist integrity.

Block-by-block photo survey in 1960 shows Minneapolis' thriving retail scene

A 1960 photo survey by the Star and Tribune of the city block where City Center now stands left a remarkable account of what Minneapolis looked like at a time when the urban core was aging, but still vital.

Frank Lloyd Wright's surviving Minn. structures are a tribute to his legacy

Frank Lloyd Wright designed few buildings in Minnesota, but they proved to be essential to his career and his legacy.

Before they were dives, Twin Cities apartment hotels were posh, had room service

Before apartment buildings sprang up by the hundreds, there was a different kind of multifamily housing.

Lost Twin Cities: Rare today, row houses were once a common sight here

Most of them fell into disrepair and were demolished before their unique structure gained appreciation.

Minneapolis city parks evolved from a master plan to link people, places + Photo Gallery

Farview, Powderhorn and Loring parks were keystones in a remarkable plan for the Minneapolis park system.

1960s Burnsville townhouse development is still stylish today + Photo Gallery

The metro area's original suburban townhouse developments — including this south suburban treasure — yield design lessons for their contemporary counterparts.

Beneath our feet lies a record of how Twin Citians once lived

There's no pirate booty hidden below the parking lots of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But for urban archaeologists, there's treasure just the same.

Lost Twin Cities: The rise and fall of Minneapolis' Phoenix Building

Minneapolis' Phoenix Building, which roosted for almost 70 years at the northwest corner of 4th Street and Marquette Avenue, was much like the mythical bird.

Small shops help make the Twin Cities vibrant, affordable and dynamic

The Twin Cities has a history of thinking big when it comes to retail. Maybe we should be thinking small.

From first shovel to opening day, watching a building go up is an urban pleasure

We all know about the hard-hats, draftsmen and architects. But is there someone else indispensable to the skyscraper-building process? Of course. The Sidewalk Superintendents.

Ice Shanty Projects make a fun, meltable community on White Bear Lake + Video

The Art Shanty Projects reveal what it takes to make a lively public space — people, engagement and activity.

What helps Minnesota seniors age in place? U researcher has some clues

Researcher finds it's the little things — like benches and safe crosswalks — that make life better for aging Minnesotans.

Twin Cities visitors and locals need better way to negotiate skyways

Wouldn't it be nice if there were an app for the Twin Cities' skyways? There is. In fact, there are several. Let's see how they work.