There are certain works of art the body wholly understands before the mind kicks in with its distancing powers of disembodied detachment and analysis. In the Twin Cities, there is very little art in the public realm — in what we now call "the commons"– that does this. Most public art, strained through the cheesecloth […]

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Starchitecture

Art museums are host to two species of rats, those that skulk in the basements, gnawing on the art in storage, and, lower on the food chain, the people who handle the art. “Museum rat” is trade slang for the stagehands, the workers who hump crates of art off trucks at the loading dock, maneuver […]

Where We Live

I’ve been living in the same city for a long time. Maybe that’s why I crave the unusual. I abhor cookie-cutter architecture, which is just as prevalent in urban areas as in cul-de-sac suburbia. How many three-story brick condos with railed terraces have you seen constructed in recent years? I want buildings that curve, use […]

Cabin For the Uncommon Man

"Log cabins are a dime a dozen,” said Richard Olson, lighting up yet another Marlboro. “We looked at some of those. They were junk. They were put together by amateurs. Some of the logs had separated; you could see right through them. All these trees here, tip some of them on the side, and you’ve […]

People of the Skyway

Peter Bruce is a slight, sandy-haired, serious man who moves and speaks quickly and with purpose. Bruce loves the skyways, how when it’s raining or too hot or too cold they convey people between offices and restaurants and stores. While most people have never heard of him, anyone who’s connected with the skyways—whether in retail […]

The Prefigured House

It’s early June, and the house going up near Cedar Lake is still weeks from being completed. Already, however, its roof needs replacing. The new roof has just been dropped off at the construction site: It consists of metal-encased foam panels bundled into large, rectangular plastic-bound packages—kind of like a giant, shrink-wrapped twenty-four-pack of Kleenex […]

Public Icon, Private Property

Imagine: It’s springtime, there’s a sense of optimism in the air. Best Buy is about to open its new corporate headquarters in Richfield. Everyone’s talking about it. Some say it will usher the Twin Cities into a new era; others argue about whether or not that’s a good thing. Wanting to include the community in […]