Just days after Mark Lamster in the Design Observer decried the ongoing “war” against modernist architecture, The New York Times culture writer Kathryn Shattuck declares “another battleground” in these standoffs between preservation-minded advocates and developers looking to start anew: Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis.
Designed by the acclaimed landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg, the plaza opened in 1975 and features a terraced amphitheater-like space, a reflecting pool used for ice skating in the winter, and green space. Today, no one disputes that this “urban oasis,” as Friedberg calls it, needs updating, given the crumbling concrete, exposed rebar, and inoperable fountains. On Thursday, the city and the adjacent Minneapolis Orchestra, which together own the plaza, are hoping to successfully appeal the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission’s recent denial of a demolition permit, reports Shattuck.
The city’s plan: to move forward with an entirely new design by Minneapolis-based Tom Oslund of Oslund and Associates, “which is expected to cost between $8 million and $10 million, with $2 million provided by state bond funds,” according to Shattuck. Critics of the city’s plan have argued that estimates to restore the existing plaza and have it meet current codes have been exaggerated, as have claims that only the construction of a new plaza can attract big donors. Friedberg himself has worked on proposals to revamp his original design. Stay tuned to see if his project will simply be bulldozed.