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

Walker Art Center's iconic brick building, now 50 years old, is aging gracefully

The 1971 opening of the Walker’s new building.

The Walker Art Center's minimalist, brick-clad building opened 50 years ago. Here's a look back at its roots.

Co-owners of 331 Club, Amsterdam Bar open 'simple' St. Paul bar

Dani and Jarret Oulman on the stage of their White Squirrel Bar, opening Tuesday near the Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul.

The cozy White Squirrel Bar is the latest addition to a creative-minded St. Paul neighborhood.

Mayo Clinic's carillon bell tower performances now ring on livestream

The carillon comprises 56 bronze bells.

The Mayo Clinic's carillon bell tower performances have been a staple for nearly a century.

Starting as early as 1919, Minneapolis planners had big ideas for city

Since 1919, Minneapolis Planning Commission has looked to the future.

In 1957, city leaders thought Minneapolis would be a futuristic city by 1967

In 1957, city leaders and planners laid out a vision for Minneapolis in 1967. How much of it came true?

Near North neighborhood in Minneapolis was once a showcase of Victorian homes

In its prime, Oak Lake Park featured Victorian residential architecture set amid parks, artificial ponds and tree-lined streets.

Northstar Center, once building of the future, is emblem of Minneapolis' past

At the time it was built, the Northstar Center embodied the hope of urban vitality.

Demolished 'simple, solid' St. Thomas building was rich in St. Paul history

Railroad magnate James J. Hill and Archbishop John Ireland asked famed architect Cass Gilbert to design seminary dorm.

Crystal Court, the heart of Minneapolis for almost 50 years, gets some TLC

The Crystal Court in the IDS Center is getting its first upgrade since 1998.

Why 'the prettiest church in Minneapolis' fell to the wrecking ball

The third home of the First Free (also known as Free Will) Baptist Church was a rare gem.

How a Minnesota tax credit has saved historic buildings

Over the past 10 years, the state's historic tax credit has been applied to more than 100 projects all over Minnesota.

Landscape architect designed Minnesota Zoo and upgraded Minneapolis parkway system

Roger Bond Martin, a founder of the U's landscape architecture program, emphasized collaboration.

The ballroom that held Buddy Holly's last concert becomes a historic landmark

But the Surf is historic for more than that fateful concert on a frigid night in 1959.

These 10 projects are the best in Minnesota architecture in 2020

The best designs were awarded to six firms for 10 commercial, residential, civic, academic and religious projects.

The 1904 Cream of Wheat factory was a rare, classical beauty

Built during the City Beautiful movement, the 1904 Cream of Wheat factory was a stunner.

New Mpls. building is one of the city's finest works of contemporary architecture

The new Public Service Building in Minneapolis is designed to complement the surrounding buildings.

Vast photo archive of the Twin Cities lets you compare then and now

Walter Norton and Clifford Peel left an extensive collection of commercial photography.

What does it say about Minneapolis that a dollar store is coming soon to Nicollet Mall?

Dollar General says DGX store at 5th and Nicollet is aimed at "metropolitan" customers.

Twin Cities work/live buildings have roots in the streetcar era

The live/work model isn't new. It's as old as the streetcar system in the Twin Cities.

One of the quirkiest buildings in downtown Minneapolis began as a roller rink

Buildings often went through multiple uses in 19th-century Minneapolis. The Crocker-Leland rink was no exception.

8 urban design disasters the Twin Cities avoided

Doming Nicollet Mall? Metal trees on Hennepin Avenue? Those are just some of the ill-conceived proposals that fortunately never came to fruition.

Following Minneapolis' lead, wood office buildings are popping up nationwide

Developers are turning to wood for its versatility and sustainability.

Archives of an architecture firm reveal a Minneapolis that was never built

Ed Baker's drawings and models of past projects give us a glimpse of what might have been.

1970s Mpls. activists saved Milwaukee Avenue's modest homes from teardown

A grassroots effort fought a plan to raze modest "Joe Sixpack" houses on Milwaukee Avenue that dated to the 1890s.

In 1950s, modernizing Minneapolis saw a major loss of modest buildings

At least 300 small buildings have disappeared from downtown Minneapolis since 1950. Here's just one worth mourning.

While workers were away: Six new buildings on the Minneapolis skyline

The pandemic hasn't stopped construction in downtown Minneapolis, where the skyline continues to change.

Outdoor dining has breathed new life into Minnesota restaurants

Because of safety concerns, ease and aesthetics, outdoor dining has caught on in Minnesota.

Twin Cities auto showrooms once were as beautiful as the cars

Back when cars were things of wonder, the showrooms boasted architectural elegance.

What's the future of Minnesota's small-town downtowns? Hint: It's not Mayberry

Minnesota's small-town downtowns have a future, but it won't look like past.


3 Black architects on how race has shaped our environment in Twin Cities

It's time to take a hard look at who has the power to shape our environment today.


Minnesota's 'front porch,' the State Capitol Mall, is a graveyard of Victorian architecture

Now Minnesota's "front porch," the Capitol Mall was home to mix of Victorian dwellings.


Minnesota's Great River Road is a lesson in history, ecology and design

A drive along the Great River Road follows the Mississippi from the past to the present.


With pandemic and protests, Minneapolis streets transcend transportation

How can we facilitate a wider range of uses for our roads?


Minneapolis' skyways are getting little use now, but they'll eventually be popular again

While they're getting little use now, these essential downtown connectors will eventually come back to life.


Key Twin Cities malls are being transformed into town centers

Well-located and managed by savvy owners, a few powerhouse malls continue to evolve and thrive.


Often overlooked, parking ramps reflect Twin Cities history

Advancements in engineering transformed the technology, scale and design of parking structures.


The 1913 widening of St. Paul's Robert Street gave the city room to grow

More than 30 buildings, many dating to the 1880s or earlier, had to be torn down or have their front lopped off 20 feet.


Where does Minneapolis seem most deserted? The skyways

City sidewalks aren't the real measure of how vacant Minneapolis is right now.


How closing Kmart and finally reopening Nicollet Avenue will change Mpls.

Reviving the once-busy thoroughfare can help create a more vibrant, connected city.


Why do new plans for Upper Harbor Terminal in Mpls. repeat old mistakes?

Analysis: We need new kinds of development that will eliminate disparities, increase affordability, and generate jobs.


With Kowalski's coming to Southdale, the first U.S. mall gets closer to roots

With the addition of a grocery store, Southdale moves one step closer to its original vision as a community hub.


How the Twin Cities could be designed for winter livability

A few humble street corners show us how to create a "patio culture" year-round.


Nearly a dozen smaller Minneapolis buildings were razed for the IDS Center. The city's better for it

For many decades, the central core was a great architectural hodgepodge, with many blocks containing buildings in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles.


In Dinkytown, a 1960s landmark library gets the rebirth it deserves + Photo Gallery

A 1960s Dinkytown library — by Minnesota Modernist architect Ralph Rapson — gleams anew after an $11.6 million restoration.


Think the Minneapolis skyline is unique? Think again – we have copycat buildings in our midst + Photo Gallery

Some of our landmark buildings aren't so unique. Others are ours alone.


In its heyday, Drake Hotel offered Old World allure

Built in 1926, Minneapolis hotel lost to Christmas fire slipped into second-tier status after a decade or two.


The 7 best projects by Minnesota architects from 2019

The American Institute of Architects Minnesota honored projects ranging from a wayside rest stop to a lakeside cabin to a college arts complex.


Fires in downtown St. Paul reshaped the cityscape in the 1950s and '60s

Midcentury fires in downtown St. Paul removed many Victorian structures.


St. Paul's historic homes offer tours and stories of Christmases past + Photo Gallery

Two St. Paul gems, decked out for the holidays, offer a look at Christmases past.


Public Service Center may not be worth saving, but it's worth remembering

The demolition of the rather ordinary Public Service Center in Minneapolis will leave a gap in the city scape.


Rebuilt Minnehaha Academy forges connection to past, neighborhood and nature + Photo Gallery

Two years after a fatal explosion, the design for the rejuvenated campus reaches toward the future.


You can learn a lot about Minneapolis history by walking the skyways

Photos, murals and other collections make the skyways into mini-museums.


Affordable housing was once a staple of our downtowns. Here's what happened

Residential hotels and rooming houses in Minneapolis and St. Paul offered alternatives to houses and apartments.


Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

A panoramic photo of the city taken on a large-format camera in 1907 offers an incredible time capsule. "It reveals things that essentially nobody ever saw before. It's so immersive."