Restoration? More Like Rehabilitation...

Minneapolis' Peavey Plaza, designed in the heady early 70s, is a sunken design with waterfalls. The site has not aged well, and the landscape architect tasked with fixing the situation is taking significant steps to improve it.

Landscape architect Tom Oslund is bringing much of the plaza closer to grade, and making the fountains more functional:

"Oslund's comparatively simple, shallow fountain could be drained easily to create a seating area for performance events. An outdoor stage-large enough to accommodate most of the orchestra-would flank the new fountain. The plaza will, in many ways, act as an extension of the Orchestra Hall..."

Preservationists who were also assigned to work on the project are not happy with the proposed redesign, and say the real decisions have been made behind closed doors.

Full Story: Parsing Peavey



I spent a lot of time at

I spent a lot of time at Peavey Plaza during college. After exploring the Mississippi River, it was my next favorite place to decompress and relax by myself, talk with friends, etc. The beauty of the plaza was that even though you were in the center of downtown Mpls, it was a very intimate, quiet and peaceful place. It wasn't just the fountains, but the waterfalls that created white noise to cover the din of the city and the maze of sunken areas created small, intimate areas where an individual, a couple or a small group could sit for a moment (or a long while) in a respite from the busyness of the city around them. It was a great place to be during the day or at night and a well designed place. It reminded me of a version of Minnehaha Falls in the middle of the city.

I will say that the plaza did need a larger flat space to provide enough room for a small ensemble to perform and a decent sized crowd to watch, but that doesn't require essentailly flattening the entire plaza, just some well designed modifications to a portion of the park nearest Orchestra Hall or Nicollet Mall & 11th Street . I also agree that the plaza does have a few small areas that are a bit too isolated and create some creepy/potentially unsafe areas, but again flattening the entire park is not the way to fix this. Flattening the plaza completely destroys its intimacy and character and removes the waterfalls that are an essential part of the peaceful identity of the park.

I hope the proposed plans are scraped and a scalpel, not a bulldozer, is seen as the proper fix for this great urban space.

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