_SCAPE 2011 Fall

Page 1

SCAPE land and design in the Upper Midwest




a publication of the American Society of Landscape ArchitectsMinnesota Chapter


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On the Cover: Each year, ASLA-MN gives awards for the best works of landscape architecture by Minnesota designers. This year, nine projects were honored in three categories. The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, by HGA, received one of this year’s Honor Awards. Every winner is here in __SCAPE, beginning on page 20. image courtesy HGA.


issue #15



ASLA-MN’s Annual Design Awards Recognizing excellence in landscape architecture



Rochester Peace Plaza by Jodeen Wink


Silverwood Park by Frank Edgerton Martin


Target Plaza by Sam Newberg

__SCAPE is published twice each year by the American Society of Landscape Architects-Minnesota Chapter (ASLA-MN). __SCAPE is FREE (in limited quantity). To subscribe, go to www.masla.org and click on _SCAPE. Then, type your information into the subscription box. Send general ASLA-MN inquiries, including sponsorships to: ASLA-MN International Market Square 275 Market Street, Suite 54 Minneapolis, MN 55405 612-339-0797 FAX 612-338-7981 Send general __SCAPE inquiries, letters to the editor, and article queries to: Adam Regn Arvidson, editor 4348 Nokomis Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-968-9298 adam@treeline.biz


ASLA-MN Executive Committee Bruce Lemke, ASLA, president Richard Murphy, Jr., ASLA, past president Craig Wilson, ASLA, president-elect Chris Behringer, ASLA, secretary Ted Lee, ASLA, treasurer Mike McGarvey, ASLA, trustee Carrie Christensen, Assoc. ASLA, director of public relations Laura Detzler, Assoc. ASLA, director of programs Anna Claussen, Assoc. ASLA, director of education and prof. dev. Cindy Zerger, Assoc. ASLA, co-director of awards and banquet Dana Schumacher, ASLA, co-director of awards and banquet Erica Christenson, Assoc. ASLA, director of communications

_SCAPE Editorial Adam Regn Arvidson, FASLA, editor issue #15

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_SCAPEnote As you might have guessed, I have a keen interest in

Newberg takes you on a walk through Target Plaza--

how design is communicated in writing. The inception of

without a game going on. Frank Edgerton Martin visits

this magazine rose from that interest, and I have always

Silverwood Park with a friend and finds unique art

felt that presenting the annual awards and ASLA-MN

spaces and moldering historical artifacts. Jodeen Wink

directory gained some additional power when coupled

time-travels through Rochester’s Peace Plaza, noticing

with well-researched, carefully written articles about

restaurant customers as well as alley-side back-of-the-

design. This issue goes a little farther toward the realm

house workers.

of writing. This is an experiment, so check it out, and let me know While pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in writing, I have

what you think.

discovered a new term: creative nonfiction. This writing genre sits somewhere between journalism and scholarly

And on another note: this will be my last issue as editor

research and can include memoirs, personal essays,

of _SCAPE. I’ve had great help through the years (can

nature writing, and just about anything else that is, at its

you believe this thing began in 2003??!!), but I think it is

core, true. Intrigued (as always) by how creative nonfic-

time for some new blood--some new enthusiasm for this

tion might talk about landscape architecture, I set a few

little journal. If you have ideas for how _SCAPE should

writers loose--with very few parameters--to write about

continue on (or if you want to be involved going forward),

recent award winning projects.

feel free to contact me or any of the ASLA-MN Executive Committee members.

The results are varied in style, but each brings the writer into the story. That’s a big difference from traditional

Thanks for reading!

journalism. The three projects essayed here are all recent

Adam Regn Arvidson, FASLA

award winners, and all are open to the public. Sam


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Rochester Peace Plaza Jodeen Wink A friend of mine calls Rochester “a small town gone mad.” It is a city that requires flashing lights and signs in the middle of its Third Avenue reminding motorists to stop for pedestrians taking life-in-hand to get back and forth from the Rochester Civic Theater. It is a city so progressive-minded and malleable that you go downtown one day and realize that a whole block has disappeared, replaced by a high-rise, while you slept—or, more likely, were so busy tailgating that you never looked up. Yet, in this city of boom and huff, you need only shift off the frenzied track, deposit your car in a down town ramp, and stroll by street or skyway to Peace Plaza, an unlikely oasis. Even ten years ago, Peace Plaza was a cool place—literally. Wind feeds into the little courtyard by arterial streets and capillary alleys and fills it with air as if the place is breathing. Then the air eddies before it is forced down the plaza corridor. So it feels good on the skin and in the hair and lungs to be there. To me, Peace Plaza was characterized by what it was not: It was not a congested street to rush to and fro on, spewing hot exhaust and car-roar. One arrived in the plaza on the wind and settled there a bit in a mild breeze. It was a place to hang out. And that’s what people did, to some extent. Street musicians came to strum their guitars for tips. Off to the side of the Chateau Theater—now a Barnes and Noble bookstore—was the beautiful Peace Fountain to gaze on. Teenagers, as if possessing memory codes in their DNA, hung out around the doors of the Chateau as their parents and grandparents must surely have done, even though the theater hadn’t shown a film since 1983. People sat on benches and at the tables outside Mac’s Greek American Restaurant—where they didn’t need a reservation—talking and smoking cigarettes. At night a few young Romeos shimmied up the trees and climbed onto the Chateau marquee to impress their Juliets, until security personnel became a regular presence to shoo them away.

The public

scurried back and forth across the plaza from shop to eatery and from jobs to cars. They were consumers. What they were not was the vibrant gathering of humanity that they have become.

Rochester Peace Plaza landscape architects Bryan Carlson Planning and Landscape Architecture Yaggy Colby Associates 2010 Merit Award in Public Landscape Design


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The idea of having a Peace Plaza at the heart of Rochester was more than two decades in the making and perhaps most poignantly marked by the installation of the Peace Fountain on June 26th, 1989. Created by local artist, Charles Eugene Gagnon, the bronze sculpture is ten feet tall, weighs 3,500 pounds, and features 57 doves arranged in circular tiers. The 57 doves represent our 50 states and seven continents. On June 28, 1989, editorialist, Bill Boyne commented on the dedication of the fountain in the Rochester Post Bulletin: Most of the development has focused on very attractive commercial enterprises—hotels, office buildings, shopping malls, and so forth. A different, and necessary, ingredient was added with the public plaza and its beautiful and graceful fountain. The plaza will provide a focal point for community activities. It already has become a place of quiet relaxation and repose for downtown visitors and employees. The commercial renovation of the city’s center would not have been complete without the plaza and the plaza would not have been complete without the fountain.


Today the Peace Fountain has been relocated from the side of the plaza to the center, where it is the focal point. Benches encircle it and water roars over its edge to a ground level grate, creating a tranquil sound that can be heard over the din of the crowd. In its more exposed location, the weight of the bowl and the water on the bottom juxtapose and emphasize the lighter, upward momentum of the 57 doves. This is a favorite gathering place for people of all ages. Children especially love the fountain where they are allowed to kick their shoes off and get wet under the mid-day sun. The fountain area is framed in yet another layer of community gathering space on three sides. Chester’s Restaurant, trendy and upscale, offers patio dining issue #15


and an outdoor bar to the east of the fountain. The restaurant itself is defined by wrought iron racks of flowers and foliage in peat containers, squat pots of trees, and tall pots of hot-pink hibiscus. Shade is provided by terra cotta colored umbrellas over wrought iron tables. During a bustling Thursday on First, Rochester’s new weekly market and festival, Chester’s lunch specials are goat cheese torta, chicken gouda and fruit salad, olive and cream cheese burgers, or fresh scallops skewered with fresh rosemary. South of the fountain, Mac’s Iconic American Greek Restaurant serves what it calls “comfort cuisine, world famous, since 1949.” Perhaps more than any other business edging the plaza, the effect of recent revitalization activity can be seen at Mac’s Restaurant where nowadays one definitely needs a reservation for outdoor lunch seating. Always a busy restaurant, Mac’s is now swamped.

Even on a sweltering day in July when the radio broadcasts heat advisories, both of the dining rooms are full to capacity and wait staff hustles to feed people at fully reserved sidewalk tables. Mac’s menu also reflects trends in community eating habits with informative descriptions and an emphasis on local products: “We support natural, organic, locally owned, independently operated farms and business”; “Hummus is made with chickpeas which has [sic] no saturated fat and no cholesterol. They aid in improving blood sugar levels and help fight cholesterol.” Mac’s “quinoa & couscous” entree is “highly recommended for vegetarians and is vegan friendly.” The wind that rushes into the lungs of the plaza is now filled with the sensuous aromas of char-grilled beef and herbs. If one is attentive, thyme, rosemary, and oregano can be detected in the swirling breeze.


SCAPE fall/winter 2011/12

West of the fountain, concrete has been replaced with grass where people sit in circles sharing meals and conversation. It’s not just friends and acquaintances who converse in the plaza, but people who don’t know each other. It’s not just friends and relatives breaking bread together, but a community supping together as a family. It’s not just consumers making their isolated way from one purchasing event to the next, but a group of people who came here to be together. All the while, the day’s labor goes on amongst the crowd. A man in a blue Hawaiian shirt carries stacked trays of cinnamon rolls across the plaza. Down the side alley, where I go to smoke a cigarette (smoking now banned in the plaza), between brick walls of shops, an aqua-blue and badly bespattered hot tar machine steams in the July heat. As a roofer crawls down from the top of a building, he says “Do you think it’s hot today?” Then a stream of white apron-clad chefs (I think) parades up the alley hauling jugs of condiments, trays of bread, and buckets of dressings. “Hola,” says one, “my name is Fred.” Other businesses that frame the plaza are O & B shoes, with sidewalk sales under its awning, the SEMVA (Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists) Gallery, with its signature periwinkle and green mosaic awning; the Baby Clementine shop, with its orange and pink striped façade; the Wells Fargo Center, with its walls of tinted glass; and finally on the north side of the plaza, Rochester’s jewel, the Chateau Theater. Built from 1926, to 1927, at an original cost of $400,000, the Chateau Theater drew crowds by the thousands and hosted vaudeville acts, plays, concerts, silent films, and movies. Coined as having an atmospheric setting, the Chateau is constructed to depict a medieval French castle, complete with 40 foot high balconies, turrets of 20 feet, battlements, stained glass windows and iron work railings and light fixtures. In its day the hand-stuccoed walls sported trailing vines, and a machine generated clouds that drifted beneath a blue ceiling that twinkled with lit stars and constellations. In its 84-year life span the Chateau has been lost to foreclosure, saved from demolition as the city expanded around it, fallen into disrepair, and saved once more through miraculous renovation. It is currently the home of Barnes and Noble. If you go there now, look up at the original hand-painted ceilings, the original wrought iron chandelier in the shape of a pentagram that now powers LED lights. Look up at the original stained glass windows in the lobby. Look for the horse in the middle window. Note the sensitivity of Barnes and Noble to leave gaps around the ceiling, allowing you to look up the walls and glimpse the original atmosphere. It’s still there. The blue ceiling, the lit stars are still shining. Gather under the grand marquee, a stunning setting sun, with its waving rays and blinking lights. It leaves you breathless. You cannot help but wonder if there is a way to fully appreciate this landmark—or this city, for that matter.

Jodeen Wink teaches college composition and creative writing on an adjunct basis. She is also an urban gardener, farmers’ market vendor, and freelance writer located in Rochester, MN.

issue #15


Silverwood Park Frank Edgerton Martin

The Three Rivers Park District is building conservation and recreation areas that are as innovative for our time as many of H.W.S. Cleveland’s regional parks and drives were a century ago. Set in the inner-ring suburb of Columbia Heights on some of the highest ground in the Twin Cities area, Silverwood Park is a rare woodland and wetland remnant in a region that has sprawled several suburban tiers beyond. Just a few miles north of Minneapolis and just south of the beltway I-694, Silverwood would normally have been developed with post-war cul-de-sacs or apartments long ago. The Salvation Army deserves most of the credit for Silverwood’s survival as a park today. Although often associated with the Temperance Movement and Christmas bell-ringers, the Salvation Army also fought for the well-being of poor children who populated American cities in the early 20th century and in the Great Depression. Opened in the early 20th century as a “fresh air” camp for city kids, Silverwood grew up over the decades as a random collection of seasonal wood dining halls, sleeping cottages, and camp classrooms for young campers who often enjoyed several summer weeks or even months there. Malnourishment was a real threat for many American children during the Depression; and one of the most striking facts that Tom Moffatt, the park’s Supervisor, told me as we stood in the Visitor Center’s historic photo gallery, was that the typical camper gained over four pounds during the course of a summer. In an age when most Americans consume food shipped from distant sources and processed in complex ways, we generally have forgotten a time in living memory when kids growing up in cities and even farms, were under weight. As we stood by the old photos of the sleeping cabins and stone entry gates, Moffatt added the ironic observation that today, one of the missions of the Salvation Army summer camps nationwide—and park recreation in general—is to fight childhood obesity with exercise and recreation.

Silverwood Park landscape architects SRF Consulting Group, Inc. architect Miller Dunwiddie Associates 2010 Award of Excellence in Public Landscape Design


SCAPE fall/winter 2011/12

As you enter Silverwood’s gates today, there are very few traces of the summer camp that thrived here for most of the 20th century. The camp’s most visible legacy is the topography, the white oaks, and Silver Lake. They unfold before you as you travel the entry drive southward towards the visitor center. SRF Consulting Group sited new buildings, roads, and trails to minimize grading while optimizing vistas to Silver Lake. Miller Dunwiddie Architecture designed the visitor center with a café and flexible outdoor and indoor spaces to serve many kinds of events. I visited Silverwood on one of the first warm and sunny days in March. It was one of those revelatory afternoons savored by Minnesotans and generally essential to our mental health after a long winter. I visited with an architect friend who helped to provide some insight on the detailing and siting of the visitor center. With sloping, hipped roofs and broad porches, the center resembles more a tasteful and nostalgic new golf club house than a visitor center in a public park. Housing a café, great room and fireplace, ballroom and gallery, the visitor center is a kind of “palace for the people”—a country club without membership dues. Historically, our region has some precedents for such architectural grandeur

in park facilities. In the 1920s and 1930s Theodore Wirth developed year-round park pavilions in Columbia and Glenwood (now Wirth) Parks that still work very well today as romantic venues for weddings, parties, and family reunions. Silverwood’s visitor center is sheathed in dark grass-green wood siding with mossy green trim around the windows. Such colors blend into the SRF CONSULTING GROUP, INC., ALL

surrounding woods in the summer, but perhaps, more importantly, add bright character on winter and bleak fall days. My friend pointed out the well-crafted Lannon stone random ashlar base to the building that, like the chunks of limestone placed in the surrounding landscape, helps to lend building a sense of permanence and texture. Connected to the ballroom, already a popular place for weddings, there is an elegant terrace and outdoor fireplace overlooking the lake. Some of the white oaks felled for the new building provide wood for the interior, one of many issue #15


sustainable aspects of the building. Just to the north of the Visitor Center, two buildings from the old summer camp remain. It is here, for now, that much of the park’s mission of arts education is housed. Silverwood’s real innovation lies in its arts programming. From ceramics to painting and sunset yoga classes, the park stands out regionally and nationally for its effort to foster environmental appreciation through the arts. The park has six arts educators who teach all ages at all times of the year. Several courses, such as painting and photography happen mostly outside. Students from the College of Design at the University of Minnesota are also engaged here. Near the Visitor Center they recently built a rather igloo-like “Pizza Oven” presumably to be used by overnight visitors, kids groups, and cooking classes. Also recently, design students constructed an ephemeral and

colorful installation of fabric, metal and thread, called “the Cloud”. This elegant oblong structure was conceived as a learning tool for demonstrating materials and structural tensions and forces in temporary construction. Throughout the park, there are seven “art circles” where such temporary installations change over time. Because of its inner-ring suburban location, its programming, and special events such as concerts, Silverwood is a huge success. In 2010, Three Rivers projected 60,000 visitors. Moffatt told me that there were roughly 200,000 in that first year. On a typical spring weekend day, 1,000 people will show up. Many of them will walk the loop path through woods, wetlands, and prairies as my friend and I did. Late fall and winter are times when the contours of the land stand out clearly in the oak woods. Still largely covered by snow, Silverwood’s bluestem prairie grasses poked up here and there in the foreground from the path. In the background, brown leaves still clung to the white oaks. Cleared of understory invasives, these woods seemed particularly open and architectural in sunny late winter. Their canopies spread laces of shadows over the snow. Looking outward from the path, the lines of trees accentuated the topography of the rolling site. Following the path north near the entry drive, human interventions become more obvious as you approach a decaying old Scotch Pine windbreak and


SCAPE fall/winter 2011/12

places where almost all the older trees are gone. Perhaps these were old building sites from the camp days, or dumps, or former parking areas. There is a sense of mystery here along with the feeling that it will take many decades and careful management to encourage ecological diversity. But, one senses that nature is already coming back. By selling the 68-acre Silverwood site to Three Rivers Park District, the Salvation Army was able to build a new fresh air sleepover camp in northern Minnesota. No doubt, this new facility has more land, more recreational opportunities, and better facilities to connect kids with nature. Tom Moffatt explained that they did not take the highest bid for the site, which was from private development interests. Indeed, the final offer from Three Rivers was below two or three other bids. But the Salvation Army realized that part of their mission was not just to provide a camp for kids, but also to leave a legacy of urban nature to be managed by other public groups and enjoyed by new kinds of visitors. It was a noble choice to give Three Rivers a price lower than the market could support, especially during the boom years of a decade ago. But, as a landscape historian, part of me wonders what was lost in tearing down the old Silverwood and burying just about every vestige of its built form. Tom Moffatt explained that if you venture off the path (and I doubt they encourage this), you can sometimes stumble upon old foundations. On the day of our snowy visit, we didn’t find any. But, I wonder if there might be some way, beyond the photo gallery, to interpret the cultural landscape and generations of human memories that unfolded here. Silverwood’s distinctive mission today is to develop programs in the fine arts to help people gain a strong appreciation of natural beauty and ecological systems. Beyond native ecology, might there be some way for Silverwood’s art classes, walking tours, graphic interpretation and youth courses to interpret the layers of time in this cultural landscape? How could such preservation “treatments” as restoring the old stone gates now languishing in ruins on a northern corner of the site, help to tell a more layered story? An informal association of Silverwood Camp alumni still exists. Could these people offer new tours and reunions? Perhaps even the remnant foundations could be revealed and interpreted as part of the story. This place should not be treated as a site of “Nature Forever Wild”—because it has not been for generations. To try to restore an illusion of pre-settlement ecology might be less honest and educational than to interpret its resilience in a suburban context. Like the stories of the former camp, Silverwood’s sustainable landscape architecture, building, and site strategies remain mostly hidden from visitors. Stories of the past and today’s environmental stewardship are ripe for interpretation through discreet illustrated signage, podcast tours, and old-fashioned illustrated guides. At specific sites, they can point out how permeable paving and rain gardens cleanse storm water runoff to reduce pollution of nearby lakes and wetlands. Visitors could learn how geothermal wells installed under parking lots provide heating and cooling for the visitor center and a 5,000-gallon cistern collects rain runoff from the building’s roof for reuse in irrigation.

issue #15


Silverwood Park, Gale Woods, and other regional nature centers offer learning programs that offer badly needed opportunities for new emotional connections and intellectual appreciation of nature, food production, and wildlife. Our growing regional park network, with all of its many management entities, is a powerful update to the planning vision of Cleveland and the recreation and communitybuilding efforts of Wirth. But our region today is exponentially broader and more sprawled than the Twin Cities were at the time of Wirth’s retirement. Innovative as places like Silverwood are, they lack a physical connection to other parks, schools, transit, and population centers. All of the permeable paving and LEED-certiďŹ ed park buildings that we can build will continue to make little difference if their users still must drive long distances to get there. Horace Cleveland showed how landscape planning can connect natural areas and entire regions. Theodore Wirth taught us how parks could connect people to recreation and learning close to home. With the Twin Cities’ burgeoning bike trail and path system, I left Silverwood wondering how we might build future connections to housing and learning. Such rare natural remnants, like the Grand Rounds park system, can become a social and geographic focus for future dense and mixed-use development. Landscape architects have known for over a century that a cohesive green infrastructure of hydrology, vegetation, habitat corridors, and movement is one of the strongest tools for preserving and renewing the city itself. Silverwood is located relatively close to downtown Minneapolis and the Mississippi River neighborhoods north of it (now under study for long-term investment). Perhaps it can be connected to the River while also becoming a new kind of Central Park of learning and nature in a post-war suburb that is already historic itself.

Frank Edgerton Martin is a landscape historian, writer, and preservation planner who divides his time between Minnesota, Upstate New York, and New York City. He can be reached at femartin@visi.com


SCAPE fall/winter 2011/12

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Target Plaza Sam Newberg One of my first experiences at Target Plaza was not on a game day. Indeed, the Kirby Puckett statue was not yet installed, although I believe the season had already begun, as it was a lovely spring day. It was lunchtime, and dozens of people were out. Some were wandering the plaza, admiring the Golden Glove and the topiary baseball bats. Others were purchasing tickets for the next Twins homestand. One guy was tending to the landscaping. What was striking to me was the number of people simply sitting, eating their lunch, and enjoying the day. I thought to myself, by God, we’ve created a downtown park without trying! “That wasn’t entirely accidental,” explains Tadd Kreun, FASLA, a landscape architect at Oslund.and.Assoc., designers of Target Plaza. “We wanted to create an attractive place not just for game days, but for year-round enjoyment.” But it almost was not to be. The original plan for what is now Target Plaza would have been significantly more spartan and required fans to climb steps in order to gain access to the stadium. The primary entrance to Target Field, which opened in 2010, is from downtown along 6th Street. 60% of fans use this route, entering the stadium at Gate 34 (a nod to Kirby Puckett’s jersey number). To get from 1st Avenue in downtown to Gate 34, one must follow 6th Street along the hulking edge of the Target Center basketball arena for one block, cross 2nd Avenue, a freeway off ramp, Interstate 394 itself, all the while following the edge of the massive Ramp B parking structure. The original plan was to have fans follow 6th Street, at grade, down to 2nd Avenue, cross it, then climb steps to a mostly barren plaza that bridged the freeway. Luckily (and I cannot emphasize that word any more), the Target Corporation, Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority contributed an additional $7 million to provide an at-grade, seamless connection from 1st Avenue on the east to Gate 34 on the west. It may be the best $7 million spent on any facet of the stadium, although it is located outside the stadium gates. Target Plaza manages to create an at-grade entrance to the stadium, to not just bridge but cover a freeway, to obscure a mammoth parking structure, and to liven up a dead edge of another sports facility altogether, all the while creating a grand entrance. From the moment you leave 1st Avenue, the transition to your seat in the stadium is seamless. The sidewalk along 6th street splits at 1st Avenue, with a small section of sidewalk leading down the street towards 2nd Avenue. But your Target Plaza landscape architects oslund.and.assoc. 2011 Honor Award in Public Landscape Design


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eye is drawn to the wider and nearly level entrance to the plaza, running alongside the Target Center basketball arena and new Hubert’s Sports Bar & Grill. You hardly notice that you are passing over 2nd Avenue, located down below. Then the plaza widens, and you are greeted by the first statue, of Harmon Killebrew swinging for the fences. Gazing at the statue, located 520 feet from home plate (the distance of his longest home run), you can sense the power in his swing, and realize it is no wonder why he hit the longest home run in Twins history. Pass under the skyway that connects the I-394 parking structures to the Target Center and the rest of downtown, and the entire plaza unfolds before you. There is the Kirby Puckett statue, rounding second base in game six of the 1991 World Series, fist held up triumphantly after hitting a home run that sent the series to the legendary game seven.

Connections are important in a maze of infrastructure, and here indeed they are well-done. You can access Target Plaza from 6th Street, 7th Street, 2nd Avenue, and from the skyway level as well. This functionality is tremendously important when 40,000 people attend each game, arriving from a variety of directions, particularly when 60% of those pass through Gate 34. The main area of Target Plaza is a large, fetching gathering space. There are concession stands and dozens of places to sit. There is the giant bronze Golden OSLUND.AND.ASSOC., ALL

Glove, cast from an old-timey mitt (some say Joe DiMaggio’s), and made of nearly forty pieces of cast bronze welded together. It is large enough to sit in, which generates long lines of baseball fans posing for pictures on game day. “It exceeded expectations,” Kreun chuckles when describing that, even though they knew it would be popular, nobody expected cordoning would be required to control the issue #15


masses waiting to have their picture taken sitting in the glove. “It is our spoon and cherry,” proclaims Kreun, referring to the reigning most notable sculpture in the Twin Cities, located in the nearby Sculpture Garden. Ned Kahn’s “The Wave” is a stunning piece of public art, as good as anything I’ve ever seen affixed to a parking structure, and more mesmerizing. Anodized aluminum plates the size of baseball cards are strung from stainless steel cables but can swing freely in the wind. Intended to evoke waves on the water, the contrast between dark and light also suggests the sky on a partly cloudy day. This masking of the façade of Ramp B is impressive, and helps the plaza attain the feel of an outdoor room. “The ramp was the elephant in the room,” explains Kreun. The design team considered a couple LED displays, but chose a kinetic piece of art instead. “It makes the space inviting and not static.” The design of the plaza makes it easy to forget you are standing atop an interstate freeway, the spur of I-394 that terminates downtown. For those who don’t know it, they’d never guess. The edge of the plaza is lined with a buffer of trellises for shade, benches, and a landscaped area with grass and plantings that obscure but don’t totally block the view of the freeway below. Along a second edge of the plaza is the Tradition Wall, with decorative fencing interspersed with images and information about past Twins players and other related personnel.

Nine 40-foot tall topiaries, shaped like baseball bats, are aligned down the center of the plaza. They are planted with hops, a nod to the beer sold inside the stadium, but also a provider of natural shade. The bats light up, one per inning played, and lights pulse when the home team hits a home run. Gate 34, the primary entrance to Target Field, is located in such a way that those without a ticket can’t quite see the field of play. It is also a very subtle transition to a secured area. The location of the gate feels somewhat arbitrary, and other than having your ticket scanned, you hardly notice when you actually enter the stadium. Kreun notes that the gate was pushed about 40 feet towards the field halfway through the design phase, providing valuable additional space on the


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plaza. Indeed, those visiting the outdoor balcony of the Metropolitan Club during a game actually gaze down on the plaza area outside the gate. And the plaza remains hopping during a game, as the occasional home run to right field actually makes it out that far (it’s not quite like floating in San Francisco Bay waiting for a Giant home run, but it will do). It is also angled somewhat to soften the transition from outside to inside. It is important to get our buildings right. Certainly the architects HOK and HGA did so with Target Field. But it is perhaps more important to get our public realm right—the spaces between buildings that we all pass through in our daily comings and goings. Target Plaza does just that in a city that all too often neglects those public spaces and connections. Target Plaza is well-calibrated. Whether coming from a pregame drink at Gluek’s or Kieran’s, or coming straight from elsewhere in downtown, the moment you step on to the curb west of 1st Avenue, you are pulled towards the stadium like passing through a portal. You can choose to linger on the plaza to meet people or simply people watch, but nothing slows you from heading directly to your seat in the stadium. And any day of the year, you can grab your lunch and go hang out at Target Plaza—our accidental downtown park.

Sam Newberg is a Minneapolis-based urbanist, writer and real estate consultant. He can be found at www.joe-urban.com.

issue #15



Minnesota Landscape Architecture Awards


SCAPE fall/winter 2011/12



Public Landscape Design Honor



Hennepin Energy


Recovery Center

Public Landscape Design Honor

Target Plaza


Public Landscape Design Honor

US Land Port of Entry

Coen + Partners

Public Landscape Design Merit

Residential Design


Maple Grove Town

Damon Farber

Green Bandshell


Three Ponds Residence

Treeline and Shelter Architecture

Residential Design


Lake Calhoun Residence

Coen + Partners

Residential Design


Wayzata Home

Windsor Companies

Amery Regional

Emmons & Olivier

Medical Center


Waverly Gardens

Savanna Designs

Private Landscape Design Honor

Private Landscape Design Merit

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Honor Award - Public Landscape Design

Hennepin Energy Recovery Center Minneapolis, Minnesota

HGA The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) converts trash into energy at the edge of downtown Minneapolis. Recent developments to neighboring parcels - namely the opening of a new Minnesota Twins ballpark - situate the HERC in a growing pedestrian corridor. The landscape architect developed a strategy to convert the former industrial backyard to a narrative garden that recalls the site’s rich natural and industrial history. A bosque of swamp white oaks set in a contained mesic prairie were sited over the footprint of an historic marsh. Rows of birch and juniper trees contained in gabion planters signify the site’s past use as a lumber yard and its connection to the Minnesota’s north woods. A variety of plant species remediate both the physical and experiential elements of the industrial landscape. Deep-rooted plants were selected to fix nitrogen and remove toxins in the soil, while others were integrated in order to

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

amend the sensory elements of the facility.


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2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture


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Honor Award - Public Landscape Design

Target Plaza Target Field Minneapolis, MN

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture



SCAPE fall/winter 2011/12

Creating an elevated connective plaza over an interstate highway corridor required working within the complex infrastructure of three bridges. It also limited the design and placement of design elements. Essential to the concept of the plaza is its role as the connective tissue for the ballpark, the city, and its inhabitants. It has become an iconic public space for all people to enjoy. While walking through the main entry plaza, fans pass by custom-designed sculptures of Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, and Kirby Puckett. Vendor carts line the edges of the space, adjacent to extensive bench seating under metal shade canopies. Lining the main axis into Target Field is a row of nine 40-foot topiaries that recall baseball bats planted with hops – a nod to the cold frosty brew that is forever linked with an afternoon at the park.


2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

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Honor Award - Public Landscape Design

US Land Port of Entry Warroad, Minnesota

Coen + Partners

The Warroad Land Port of Entry landscape design utilizes beautiful and economic materials to reflect the northern Minnesota vernacular and the dignity of the United States Government.

The site is characterized by horizontal

landscape interventions designed in response to the expansive horizon of the site and region. The project

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

created a distinctive landscape that complements the

architecture in a thoughtful and contextual manner, while addressing issues of sustainability and serving the Port’s security and operational needs. Monolithic areas of slate flagging encompass the Port buildings while defining the non-occupiable areas of the site. The planting design incorporates native plant material into the site design.


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2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture


issue #15

Merit Award - Public Landscape Design

Maple Grove Town Green Bandshell Maple Grove, Minnesota

Damon Farber Associates Conceived as an iconic destination for the City of Maple Grove, the Town Green and Bandshell demonstrates the ability for landscape architecture to foster social interaction and improve the human condition. A study in restraint and the purity of form, the Town Green in Maple Grove creates a powerful spatial framework that has transformed an unstructured, underutilized open space into a center for performing arts and community activity in a civic campus. The materials, particularly sand and gravel were chosen to harmonize the natural environment with the character of the built form and to reinforce Town Green’s identity with the underlying geology of

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

Maple Grove as a distinctive place.


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2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture


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Honor Award - Residential Design

Three Ponds Residence Plymouth, Minnesota

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

Treeline and Shelter Architecture


SCAPE fall/winter 2011/12

Suburban ponds and sloughs, once merely low spots on the prairie, are now being asked to handle runoff from streets, roofs, and yards. This has a profound effect on water quality—as seen near one Twin Cities home by differences in algae growth in ponds with different abutting uses. The homeowners liked being surrounded by these wetlands (except for the summer green-up), but they also wanted a clear division between their backyard spaces and the wild areas just beyond. The design highlights that boundary—and also makes a local statement about sustainability—by tracing it with a linear stormwater treatment facility called the Greenline. The landscape as a whole is an aesthetic and functional complement to a new addition and provides formal outdoor spaces for entertaining, dining, and play. Inside the Greenline is a contemporary composition of sunken fire circle, concrete patio, stone circle highlighting the preserved-in-place “mountain rock,” wooden seating/light boxes, and lawn.

issue #15


2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

Outside is the wetland.

Merit Award - Residential Design

Lake Calhoun Residence Minneapolis, Minnesota

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

Coen + Partners

This landscape is a comprehensive site design for a new, modernist home on a prominent urban lake in Minneapolis. The project is award worthy because the designed series of private and linked site interventions is responsive to the architecture and embraces the modernist ethos in a manner that is beautiful, functional, and reactive to 21st century needs and environmental sensibilities. A series of walls deďŹ ne the private landscape spaces within; their roughened ďŹ nishing and dark color selected to emphasize material texture and encourage recession into the surroundings. Regionally sourced limestone and granite surfacing was used in all of the outdoor spaces.


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2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture


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Merit Award - Residential Design

Wayzata Home Wayzata, Minnesota

Windsor Companies This historic Wayzata home was completely remodeled and re-landscaped in keeping with the history of the home. The goal was to improve and modernize the property while making it look as though it had always been there. One important feature is the innovative permeable driveway, which has layers of drainage rock and overow pipes underneath the old street pavers and cobbles. The entry columns, door landing, walls and terraces are designed to blend seamlessly with the home. Simple plantings are used to delineate spaces and soften

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

the garden architecture.


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2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture


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Honor Award - Private Landscape Design

Amery Regional Medical Center Amery, Wisconsin

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc.


SCAPE fall/winter 2011/12

Reflecting the client’s mission “to provide … quality healthcare and to promote the health and wellness of our community”, this project incorporated low-impact development principles and sustainable stormwater management for a rural, regional medical facility. Located adjacent to the Apple River and as a listed ‘Area of Special Natural Resource Interest’ by WisDNR, the site required stricter setbacks, erosion control, and stormwater management. The project’s integrated approach created an ecologically enhanced environment that met the client’s mission, increased community environmental awareness and holistic health, and provided a regional precedence for the adoption of sustainable site design and landscape architecture.

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

issue #15


Merit Award - Private Landscape Design

Waverly Gardens North Oaks, Minnesota

Savannah Designs The vision for this large, senior housing campus was to develop “Gardens” as a theme and focus for the entire property. The developer’s goal was to include a variety of garden types for seniors and their families to experience and enjoy. The final plan includes eighteen distinctly different themed gardens in addition to the lush, diverse plantings in the parking lots, boulevards and around the buildings. Recognizing that familiarity and intense sensuality (vivid color and fragrance) are important to seniors, this diverse landscape provides interest and

2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture

connection to the surrounding landscape.


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2011 ASLA-MN Awards for Landscape Architecture


issue #15


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The Three Ponds Residence in Plymouth, MN, was designed by Treeline and Shelter Architecture. It LV RQH RI QLQH ODQGVFDSH DUFKLWHFWXUH DZDUG ZLQQHUV SUR¿OHG LQ WKLV LVVXH EHJLQQLQJ RQ SDJH Photograph by Brandon Stengel, Farm Kid Studios.

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