Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Advance Thresher Newton-Emerson Implement Blog.

One of our meetings on Wednesday in Minneapolis was at the corner of 3rd Street and Park Ave., very close to the hulking outline of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which rises like a albino cupcake a couple of blocks away. Though not as big, the 3rd Street/Park Ave. building -- Thresher Square, it’s now called -- hulks in its own way, as one of those huge brick edifices that occupies every square foot up to the lot line, or seems to. While my associate was in the car attending to his Blackberry for a few minutes, I got out and took a look at this building, both from across the street, and from right next to its skin.

Interestingly, the fullest description of the structure that I can find on line is at Star-Tribune columnist James Lilek’s site, for he is fond of Minneapolis architecture (and I’m beginning to understand why). He writes: “The name is as long as the century it's survived: The Advance Thresher Newton-Emerson Implement Building. Another product of prolific and brilliant architect Frederick Kees. It looks like one building, but it's actually two -- the Advance building was constructed in 1900, its mate in 1904. The right half of the building has one more floor than the left -- something people rarely note until you point it out. It's a tribute to the building's exceptional sense of proportion -- it manages to be lopsided without looking like it.”

I’ll confess that I eyed the building without noticing the difference in floor counts. But I did see right away that the current structures is really two buildings fused into one by the process of adaptive reuse. I also noticed the marvelously ornate terra-cotta work, and remained impressed by the sturdiness of the brickwork, which I guessed was load-bearing. I was right about that.

The manufacture of farm implements at this site is long over, but a 1980s rehab turned this twin structure into handsome office space. Even better, the interior atrium sweeps up through the building, and reveals a small forest of wooden beams sprouting from the brick walls, an array so geometrically intriguing that I was reminded of an Escher print.


Post a Comment

<< Home