By Samantha Grose, JP&CO: A residential construction firm dedicated to delivering a personalized home at a remarkable pace through an enjoyable process.
Here in the Twin Cities, we have a number of visually and historically interesting examples of art deco, many of which offer great activities for a fun day in the city. So, in the spirit of mixing some stimulating learning and exploring, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most interesting examples of art deco in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Last week I shared some great spots in St. Paul. This week I’m tackling Minneapolis.
Art deco is a design style that was born in Paris in the 1920s, but spread in popularity internationally as late as World War II. The style can be described as elegant, glamorous, eclectic, and modern with bold outlines, geometric forms, zigzags, and many other distinct visual elements. In a nutshell, the style revolves around the concept of modernizing more traditional forms in architecture. The most famous example of Art deco is probably the Chrysler Building in New York City.
The Midtown exchange is now most commonly known for the fantastic Midtown Global Market that fills its ground-level belly. Although the diverse and tasty offerings inside are worth a trip for themselves, the building’s architecture is just as noteworthy. The large, Gothum-esque tower juts into the sky in a manner reminiscent of Wayne Enterprises impressive tower in the comic books and films. The building, originally the Sears Tower, was built in 1928 and now houses myriad people and businesses. If you plan your visit well, you can admire the building, do a little culinary exploration, do your grocery shopping, and take in a cultural event, such as flamenco dancing, salsa dance lessons, or live music in the center of the Market. http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org/
(image: metropolitan council)
This sandy-colored skyscraper, made of Indiana Limestone, was inspired by the Washington Monument and completed in 1929 just before the market crash. The interior boasts African Mahogany, Italian marble, terrazzo, gold-plated doorknobs, silver and gold plated ceilings, and ornamental broze. The building was designed by Leon Eugene Arnal, and was originally created by Wilbur Foshay, who hoped to live in a luxurious suite on the two uppermost floors of the building. His dream, alas, lasted no longer than six weeks when his empire was lost to the throngs of the Great Depression. If you’re interested in seeing the splendor and learning more about this Minneapolis staple, visit the tower’s Museum. Visit foshaymuseum.com for more info. (image: http://www.agilitynut.com/deco/mn.html)
The Qwest Building was formerly known as the Northwestern Bell Building, and was built in 1932. It was the second tallest building in Minneapolis (after the Foshay Tower), and was even given a height boost in 1959 with the addition of a strange and interesting antenna hat that resembles a crown. Its gradated design and parapet-like edges result in an almost medieval effect. Above is a dramatic picture of the building before the addition of the crown (image source: http://www.lileks.com/mpls/phone/).
Associate AIA, Allied ASID Designer for JP&CO.