| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Design : Buzz

43 Design Articles | Page: | Show All

U of M team wins DOE challenge

“Team OptiMN,” a group of 14 undergraduate and grad students at the University of Minnesota with diverse majors (including building science, sustainable design, construction management and business), was the Grand Award Winner of The Department of Energy’s second annual "Race to Zero" Student Design Competition. The team won for its design of the OptiMN Impact Home in North Minneapolis.

Teams competing in the “Race to Zero” challenge were asked to design cost-effective zero-energy-ready homes for mainstream builders, according to a press release announcing the award, adding that, "The winning design uses high-performance features that sharply reduce energy use, and allow for most of the remaining energy use to be offset with renewable energy." The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This year, the competition involved 33 teams from 27 universities in the U.S., Canada and China. "Along with energy-efficiency, the designed homes must be comfortable and attractive as well as affordable," the release stated.

Green Homes North, one of team OptiMN's partners, plans on building 100 energy-efficient homes in North Minneapolis in the next five years. Team OptiMN made sure the home followed their guidelines. The team also partnered with Urban Homeworks to design a high performance, affordable, flexible home. Residential Science Resources was the team's energy rater partner.

Team OptiMN’s design goals centered around meeting: the DOE’s challenge to build a zero energy ready home; Urban Homework’s mission to produce equitable, dignified communities; and Green Homes North Initiative to revitalize North Minneapolis neighborhoods with affordable, sustainable and quality homes.


Peavey Plaza preservation efforts awarded

The International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement—better known as Docomomo—has initiated a new program, the Modernism in America Awards. Docomomo US is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the modernist movement. The juried awards program honors individuals and organizations dedicated to preserving and/or renovating midcentury architecture and design.

Among the award’s inaugural recipients are the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and the Minnesota Chapter of Docomomo US for the groups’ efforts to save Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis. The groups were given the Advocacy Award of Excellence.

Designed in 1975 by M. Paul Friedberg + Partners, the plaza is located adjacent to the newly renovated Orchestra Hall. The groups collaborated to “successfully communicate Peavey Plaza’s on-going importance and prevent its demolition,” states the Docomomo website. “The Board of Directors of Docomomo US is impressed by the well-coordinated collective nature of these efforts; their outreach to a wide audience including local constituents and national interests; and their use of a combination of advocacy tools including the solicitation of pro bono design concepts by the plaza’s original landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg.”

HGA wins National Award for Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum

The Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, which offices in the North Loop neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis, has earned a National AIA Honor Award. Designed by Joan M. Soranno and John Cook of HGA, the 24,500-square-foot mausoleum is buried into a hillside at the historic Minneapolis cemetery, yet was designed to maximize daylight. Clad in rough-textured gray granite and white mosaic-marble, the modernist structure's materials palette continues throughout the interior.

The entrance to the two-level mausoleum opens into a foyer and reception center with white marble floor, folded mahogany walls, and large window walls and clerestory windows. The windows provide views to the oak trees and sky, nearby Lake Calhoun, and the cemetery’s iconic chapel and monuments. Daylight through the window openings also accentuates the curves and angles of the white, sculptural ceiling.

A wide stairway processes past the foyer’s large windows and limestone wall to the lower garden level. To the west, a curved Venetian-plaster wall guides mourners to the chapel where committal ceremonies are held. The chapel's nine, deeply angled vertical windows bring in daylight. Embedded in the angled juxtaposition of the chapel's curved ceiling and wall are light slots, from which soft light emanates.
Extending east from the stairway lobby is 180-foot-long corridor connecting alternating bays or pods of six columbaria rooms (for cremated remains) and six crypt rooms (for caskets), in addition to three family crypt rooms. LED light slots every 20 feet highlight the floating ceiling planes. To the north, the chambers are inserted into the hillside. Each has a round oculus or rectangular skylight positioned in the sculptural planes of the ceiling. To the south, the crypt rooms and columbaria project into the cemetery’s landscape. Window cutouts or glass doors bring daylight in, while providing views to the historic landscape.

The mausoleum is the second National AIA Honor Award earned by Soranno and Cook. It's the fifth National AIA Honor Award for HGA.

Source: HGA


AdWeek names Fallon "top shop" in Minnesota

Advertising industry publication AdWeek recently selected one "top shop" per state, factoring in notable clients, legacy, reputation, and employee count, and Minneapolis-based Fallon got the nod for Minnesota.
In choosing the agencies, the magazine noted that each top shop is "the one you can't help but admire, or envy. The one where you'd like to work—or if you're lucky, where you do work...The one that, more often than not, just gets it right."
Contenders were limited to agencies that were actually founded in their respective states, giving homegrown shops an advantage over the satellite offices of the big networks.
First established in 1981, Fallon has been notable for high-profile campaigns, as well as for spawning several other agencies in the Twin Cities, as Fallon-trained entrepreneurs start their own firms.

Artropolis on list of country's best web design firms

Design review firm 10 Best Design recently released its ranking of the country's top web design companies, and Minneapolis-based Artropolis won a spot on the list.
Coming in at number eight, Artopolis specializes in driving visitor purchases on e-commerce websites. Featured work on the 10 Best Design site included sites for temporary staffing firm Current Temp and restaurant company Big Thrill Factory.
10 Best Design evaluated firms based on multiple variables within its proprietary analytics system. The top three agencies were The Creative Momentum in Atlanta, Kohactive in Chicago, and Vento Solutions in New York.

General Mills' Betty Crocker on Adweek list of famous frontwomen

Advertising and branding industry magazine Adweek recently singled out "Five Famous Female Frontwomen," and Minneapolis-based General Mills won a spot on the list for its iconic creation, Betty Crocker.
The persona was first created in 1921, when Gold Medal Flour wanted a personalized way of responding to customer letters. Advice from "Betty" was so popular that the company created a full-blown character in 1936.
The article notes that Betty's appearance has been updated seven times since then, transforming her from "a matronly lady to one who today embodies four brand attributes: She's resourceful, committed to family, community-minded, and likes to bake."
Other frontwomen who made the list are Progressive's Flo, Mrs. Butterworth, M&M's Ms. Brown, and the Chicken of the Sea mermaid.

Two Minnesota executives land on AdAge's "40 Under 40" list

Influential industry magazine Advertising Age recently released its annual "40 Under 40" list of top executives that haven't reached their 40th birthdays yet, and two Minnesota execs made the list.
Dustee Tucker Jenkins, vice president of public relations for Target Corporation, and Michele Vig, senior director of retail marketing for Caribou Coffee, were both named as young marketing leaders who have made a mark in the client, agency, and media realms.
Jenkins joined Target in 2010, after serving in government and consulting positions. AdAge notes that the 34-year-old has developed a political-campaign-style field team that serves local Target communities.
Caribou's Vig, age 39, joined the company in 2007, and has overseen the introduction of new products such as revamped breakfast sandwiches. Her vision has been invaluable, considering that the coffee chain will be expanding its footprint in the near future. 

Highlighting art as development tool

A recent Star Tribune story highlights art as a successful development tool in a number of St. Paul building projects.

While in the past, artists may have been viewed as “a mysterious and crazy bunch,” today they’re sought out by the city to help make development plans, the story states.

They’re seen as “innovators who can fill hard-to-adapt historic structures like the long-vacant Schmidt Brewery and turn them into vital and lively corners of the city once again,” the story reads.

Renovation plans for the Schmidt Brewery, for example, include studio, gallery, and performance space. The place is also a part of a developing Midway arts district.  

Mayor Chris Coleman says in the story, “I look at every thriving city in the country and there's a thriving arts community within it,” adding, “It helps shape investment decisions. Things are enhanced.”

Minneapolis St. Paul airport in USA Today article about traveler amenities

Airports across the country are expanding their amenities in an attempt to set themselves apart from rivals, notes USA Today in a recent article about airport perks.
The story cites a survey by Airports Council International-North America, which gathered information on 89 airports in the U.S. and Canada. The survey found that hubs are featuring services that range from pet hotels and hair salons to rocking chairs and live jazz.
Minneapolis St. Paul airport got a nod for its children's play areas, indoor walking path, and salon services. In the article, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan says, "We believe if people enjoy the airport they're more likely to make connections through [here] as opposed to Chicago or somewhere else. There's a competitive advantage to providing a good airport experience quite apart from revenues."

St. Paul design agency mentioned in New York Times article on food labeling

In an op-ed article, New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman recently attempted to create a food labeling system that would benefit consumers rather than food companies.
In developing the system, which he proposes to replace current nutrition labels on packaged foods, Bittman turned to St. Paul-based design firm Werner Design Werks. The firm helped him create a label that "can tell a story about the three key elements of any packaged food and can provide an overall traffic-light-style recommendation or warning."
Werner Design Werks' clear and straightforward label would be a large improvement over existing labeling, Bittman believes. He notes that such a shift would help to counter obesity, a problem that "all but the most cynical agree is closely related to consumption of junk food."

Sports Illustrated highlights Vikings stadium architects

The architectural firm that designed stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts will be taking on the new $975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium, noted Sports Illustrated in a news item on the magazine's website.
Dallas-based HKS Inc. won the bid for the project, with a $34 million design contract. The stadium is due to open in 2016, and drawings of the new facility could be unveiled as early as this January or February.
According to the Sports Illustrated article, HKS is considering whether a retractable roof, wall, or window can fit within the current budget. The Vikings management is hopeful that such functionality can be part of the finished design.
Some developments that are likely to make it to the finished stadium are wider concourses, more restrooms, and a "game-day plaza" that connects the facility with surrounding neighborhoods.

Local park designer recognized with national award

St. Paul parks designer Don Ganje recently joined the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects, according to Minnpost.

ASLA describes this induction as "among the highest honors the ASLA bestows on members and recognizes the contributions of these individuals to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge, and service."

ASLA goes on to say that with Ganje’s “eye for the smallest site detail and mastery of vast public open spaces, he has the ability to make places where people feel welcome and that comfort, excite, and encourage them to interact,” adding, “He further infuses his colleagues with a passion for the highest levels of design excellence.”  

NPR highlights state's iPad gambling strategy

National Public Radio (NPR) recently highlighted a technology-based gambling tactic that's being used to help fund a new NFL stadium for Minnesota.
In its "All Tech Considered" blog, NPR noted that state residents can use approved iPads to play a digital pull-tab game, and the money will go toward financing the stadium, which is estimated to cost about $975 million.The Minnesota system is the first of its kind in the United States

The iPads are available in bars, where patrons can play at their own tables. Gamblers can place bets of either $1 or $2, and boxes at the bottom of the screen keep a running tally of cash reserves. 

General Mills rolls out new content site, with help from the Huffington Post

Golden Valley-based General Mills recently took a step into the arena of "branded content," assisted by popular news site Huffington Post, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.
The site, LiveBetterAmerica, is aimed at giving visitors information on healthy living, with a focus on eating more nutritious foods, and it's built on the Huffington Post technology platform. Although the site isn't directly linked to the news source, articles from Huffington's writers will appear on LiveBetterAmerica.
The move is part of a growing shift in online content that pairs publishers like Huffington with advertisers like General Mills, creating journalistic-style articles that tie to brand awareness and online advertising.

NYTimes reports on local 'locavore' hotel

The Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis has been re-imagined as a “hotel for locavores,” according to a recent New York Times story.

Part of the hotel’s recent $25 million renovation used area manufacturers, artisans, and artists. Its new décor “pays tribute to the city’s heritage and industry,” it states.

While the hotel is internationally known, architect Mike Suomi of Stonehill & Taylor says in the story, “We also wanted to craft a narrative that is specific to the location.”

Design touches reference timber and woolen mills while an oversized map of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers is tied together with Post-Its, which the city is also known for.

43 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts