MINNEAPOLIS–Located on the east end of the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis, Minn., a pedestrian plaza is the focus of a design competition that will completely change how pedestrians and cyclists experience the space. The design team of Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH®) is among the final four finalists who will present their designs to the public at the Weisman Art Museum (WAM) on the campus of the University of Minnesota on October 26, 2011.
The Target Studio for Creative Collaboration of the WAM is hosting the design competition to develop a new more inviting campus public space. The area already sees more than 20,000 people pass through every day. The University anticipates increased pedestrian traffic as a result of the recent completion of the University’s new Science Teaching and Student Services building and new addition to the Weisman Art Museum.
The design competition called for creative collaboration across professional disciplines with the stipulation that an artist must play a critical role on the design team. The SEH team is led by landscape architect, Bob Kost, ALSA, LEED AP. Bob has designed plazas and public art spaces across the country, including the Guthrie Theater Pedestrian Mall in Minneapolis, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the Minnesota State Capitol mall.
Thanks to the addition of “serial platform creator,” Steve Dietz, and visual artist, Christopher Baker, to the team, the SEH design integrates a variety of eye-catching new media including programmable sound and light features so that plaza users will have a unique experience each time they engage with the space.
Steve Dietz is the former Curator of New Media at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where he founded the New Media Initiatives department. He also co-founded, with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts the award-winning educational site ArtsConnectEd, and the artist community site mnartists.org with the McKnight Foundation and currently manages the non-profit new media arts organization, Northern.lights.org.
Christopher Baker is a visual artist who uses technology in public space, such as large-scale video projections, to create works that fuse existing physical spaces with digital feedback loops expressed as audio and video. His work has been exhibited across the world, including the Center for Book Art (New York, N.Y.), the Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, N.Y.), Laboral (Gijon, Spain), and Il Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina (Florence, Italy).
Architect Peter Cavaluzzi, FAIA, facilitated the work of an in-house team of five additional designers to help the SEH Team develop highly articulated 3-D design plaza design concepts. He is a principal of New-York-based EE+K Architects, a Perkins Eastman Company.
The SEH design team will present its design in an innovative presentation format known as “pecha kucha,” in which presenters spend only 20 seconds on each of 20 graphical displays, resulting in a streamlined presentation in less than seven minutes. A reception prior to the event will be held at the Weisman at 6 p.m. with public presentations to follow across the plaza from the museum in room 230 of the STSS building on U of M’s East Bank campus.
A panel discussion of the designs will follow, and then the floor will be opened up to a moderated Q&A. The winning design will be chosen based in part on the performance of the teams in this public program. All four short-listed teams’ entries have been on display at the Weisman Art Museum’s since the museum’s October 2 grand re-opening.
The SEH team developed a project blog (wamplazadesign.tumblr.com) that details their ongoing collaborations and design concepts.
Parking for the October 26th event is available at the Weisman Art Museum.
Building a Better World for All of Us™ requires a multidisciplined and collaborative approach. As a full-service professional services firm, Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH®) is comprised of 550 engineers, architects, planners, scientists, and funding specialists located in offices across the nation. SEH provides public and private clients civil, environmental, transportation, drinking water, wastewater, and structural engineering; funding acquisition; planning and landscape design; architectural design; and technology and GIS services