Nine Receive 2019 Minneapolis Preservation Awards

AIA Minneapolis, Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission and Preserve Minneapolis are pleased to announce that nine local architecture and design firms have received 2019 Minneapolis Preservation Awards. The winners were recognized during a gala reception February 28, 2019 at the historic Pillsbury A-Mill.

This year’s award categories included accomplishments in preservation, new construction in historic districts, advocacy, education and individual career achievement. Organizers also added a new category for 2019: The Preservation Gem Award, which recognized a single, masterfully-completed small project or detail.

We are absolutely thrilled by the number and quality of entries we received this year and extend our congratulations to all of our winners. These projects show the dedication and creativity of our local architecture community in their pursuit of excellence in preservation.

This year’s winners in each category include:

Historic Restoration, Rehabilitation or Adaptive Reuse

Millworks Lofts

BKV Group with Dominum, Weiss Builders, Loucks Associates, Braun Intertec and MacRostle Historic Advisors

Along the Hiawatha Corridor, a once prominent milling, grain storage, manufacturing and industrial area of Minneapolis, only a few original, historic buildings remain along this rail corridor, including the Millworks Lofts site. The site consists of a three-story warehouse, with exterior masonry bearing walls and a heavy timber frame; that functioned as the main factory. The project not only provides for preservation of a historically significant property, but also revitalizes nearly an entire blighted city block, turning a pair of run-down buildings into 78 affordable apartment units.

Maytag Building

AWH Architects with Saturday Properties, Frana, MBJ, Scott Peterson Construction, American Masonry, Midwest Window, Rebel Electric, Kone, Bridgewater Bank and Forterra Capital

Erected in 1916 by the Maytag Company in the classical Chicago School style, this Minneapolis warehouse building served as the company’s northwest branch. Attention to architectural detail and a financing package that utilized the Minnesota Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit was the formula for the recent $13 million renovation. By leveraging historic tax credits, the project was able to reach for the maximum potential in rehabilitating this historic building while maintaining and preserving its historic heritage.

Smyth Lofts

RoehrSchmitt Archtecture with Falcon Ridge Partners, Hess, Roise and Company, Yellow Dog Studio, Rochon Corporation, 456 Builders and 212 Bindery LLC

Built in 1885 as the headquarters and production facility of a national coffee roaster, this four-story 60,000 square foot building has been most recently used as a book-bindery and artist residence. The project was made possible utilizing state and federal historic tax credits, considering location in a city historic overlay district and the requirements of SHPO and the National Park Service.

Thompson Flats

LL LLC with Adsit Architecture and Planning, Wagner Lane Construction, Glass Art Design, Radcliffe Painting and Duane’s Floor Service

Constructed in 1899, Thompson Flats is a well conserved, mixed use building of a type that was common to the Hennepin Avenue commercial district in the early 20th century. The preservation of the housing and retail at Thompson Flats contributes to the historic fabric and feeling of the Loring Park neighborhood. The building has been continually in service for its original uses for 115 years. The uniquely flexible plan of the apartments allowed former and current building owners to adapt the units for changing demographics in downtown.

Preservation Gem

Christ Church Lutheran Courtyard

Christ Church Lutheran, with Friends of Christ Church Lutheran, MacDonald & Mack Architects, Watson-Forsberg, Mattson Macdonald Young and Anderson Engineering

Christ Church Lutheran is a National Historic Landmark and a beloved architectural icon within the city of Minneapolis, and the courtyard is an important but subtle and often overlooked part of the site. Connecting the 1949 Eliel Saarinen sanctuary and the 1962 Eero Saarinen Education Wing, the Courtyard space existed in 1949, when the sanctuary opened, but was revised to respond to the new addition in 1962. This restoration project helped reestablish its aesthetic importance within the site, while also addressing water-infiltration problems that had plagued the lower level of the church building.

Municipal Building Clocks

Municipal Building Commission, with MacDonald & Mack Architects, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Larson Engineering, Versacon, Americlock and Schuler Shook

The City Hall/Courthouse Minneapolis Municipal Building is home to the world’s largest four-faced chiming clock, with each face measuring 24 feet, 4 inches. It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Engineers investigated the condition of the clocks by rappelling down the faces for a close-up view and found that 56% of cast elements of the clock showed visible signs of distress and projecting that 75% of the frame members required replacement. This was a massive undertaking: each clock faces includes approximately 11,000 discrete pieces, an intricate puzzle to be assembled. The project embodies the best of preservation by City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County leaders, a collective effort that results in truly giving new life to one of the city’s most visible historic assets.

Pillsbury A-Mill Hydroelectric Power

Dominium with Jerry Mathiason and Hess, Roise and Company

While there are more visible products of a recent rehabilitation of the Pillsbury “A” Mill, a National Historic Landmark, there was also more to the project beneath the surface—literally—in the conversion of the historic waterpower system into a hydroelectric facility that now supplies much of the electricity used in the complex. Installing new hydroelectric equipment in an old waterpower system was not an easy or quick process. But it was the right thing to do environmentally, and it was done right, to minimize impacts to the historic mill.

Grassroots, Advocacy and Education

Minneapolis Music History Project

City of Minneapolis

After a public engagement process and guidance from a prominent steering committee, the City of Minneapolis and their consultant team completed the report, Minneapolis Music History, 1850-2000. Through this report, the public can learn about the places, musical genres, and musicians that help to tell the story of music in Minneapolis. From underground bands to internationally known artists, music has been a critical part of the city’s history and culture. The report is intended to be a starting point and may be amended as more information is discovered. In addition, the report will help to guide which Minneapolis properties might eventually achieve designation as historic landmarks for their role related to music history.

Steve Murray Award

Elizabeth Gales

Elizabeth is a longtime advocate and professional preservationist whose contributions to Minneapolis preservation have created a foundation for better awareness and engagement with historic structures. Working with development teams on historic tax credit rehabs, she has helped transform the Plymouth Building from offices into the Embassy Suites–Minneapolis, She is a founder and former board chair of the non-profit Preserve Minneapolis and past board chair of the Minnesota chapter of DOCOMOMO US, a non-profit group that promotes the preservation of Modern properties.