Should Peavey Plaza be demolished? [POLL]

peaveynow200.jpg
Fibonacci Blue, Flickr.
A recent photo of Peavey Park during a "Reoccupy MN" rally.
A historic park and gathering place for the Occupy MN movement could soon be demolished.

The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Committee is slated to vote on a proposal next Tuesday to destroy the 37-year-old Peavey Plaza, located adjacent from Orchestra Hall. Peavey has never been officially designated as a historical landmark, but it fits the city's criteria, so it's being treated as one.

The current plaza was designed in 1974 by M. Paul Friedberg -- a renowned landscape architect who also developed plans for Loring Park -- and built the following year for $3 million.

Today, Peavey Plaza is in need of repairs. It would cost between $4.9 and $8.7 million to rehab, according to the proposal, submitted by the Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development.

The city has also drafted a proposal for a replacement plaza that would bring the park "into the 21st Century." The designs, unveiled yesterday, include two large pools that could be drained and replaced with 1,500 chairs, where the city would host outdoor concerts. Read more on the Heritage Committee's agenda.

The city is still working on a cost estimate, but the new project would likely run about $8 to $9 million, says Beth Grosen of CPED. It would look something like this:

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Screenshot from CPED proposal.

Peaveynew2-560.jpg
Screenshot from CPED proposal.

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Facebook.
A member of the resistance.
Not everyone is so high on the idea of destroying the old plaza.

A group called "Save Peavey Plaza" popped up on Facebook last November, and has been active in protesting the destruction of the park. One of its members, Trish Brock, recently penned a letter to the TC Daily Planet, criticizing the city's plan. An excerpt from the letter (in full here):

For those of you who don't know (and most of you do not know due to the secretive City process involved - they wanted to keep you in the dark), The City of Minneapolis plans to destroy Minnesota's Cultural Landscape, Peavey Plaza. What are Cultural Landscapes? According to the Cultural Landscape Foundation, "Cultural Landscapes provide a sense of place and identity; they map our relationship with the land over time; and they are part of our national heritage and each of our lives". Peavey Plaza is a narrative of Minnesota culture and an expression of regional identity.

So we pose the question to our readers:



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14 comments
Rademacher
Rademacher

Like any masterwork, Peavy Plaza embodies the finest elements of its period, the genius of its maker, and the experience of all the people who have entered into it. That combination is what makes a cultural landscape of great value -- a place worth keeping.  And worth the reinvestment that will allow it to meet contemporary needs while burnishing its character.  It can, should, and must be done.

Karen Pratt Smith
Karen Pratt Smith

I really don't know the answer to this one. I'd like to see a great deal of downtown Minneapolis razed - especially the skyway system, but then I'm a dreamer and wish that it was all street level store fronts and proper parks with grass and trees again.

Graham
Graham

Renovation with accessibility and sensitivity to the historic integrity of the design is the most compelling solution in my opinion.  The modern style is still being used by many landscape architects today and Peavy is a landmark for that movement.  Its preservation isn't an easy task perhaps but nothing worth doing is ever simple.  Yet the solutions often are if you have the right talent in place to accomplish the goal.  It may make people feel better to demolish all that "bad concrete" but in the end its lost and never to be experienced as a place again.  The success of Peavy and its impact on the Minneapolis culture is too important to dismiss and not even try to work with what we have.  Come back with a third option: Peavy Plaza Renovation/Restoration Concept.

Graham Sones

Claude Thompson67
Claude Thompson67

I first visited Minneapolis as a student in landscape architecture, primarily to visit Peavey Plaza - and I have visited the site every time I have returned to the Twin Cities area.  It is a true landmark for urban designers, which continues to inform the younger generation and inspire the older.  Modernize it to current code if you must, but keep its basic integrity.  It's loss would be felt internationally - of the same magnitude as draining and paving Boundary Waters Canoe area in order to limit the mosquitoes (the other resource that draws me back to Minneosta).

Claude Thompson

Odonnell
Odonnell

It is important to recognize that  Peavey Plaza is:

1.      The mostsignificant extant work of landscape architecture by M.

Paul Friedberg in the U.S.;

2.      Theprogenitor of the “Park Plaza” – an idea that still resonates

today, as recently illustrated with West 8’s MiamiSoundscape Symphony Park;

3.      A raresurviving post war plaza, in the Modernist tradition thatsurvives with a high degree of design integrity;

4.      A NationalRegister potentially National Historic Landmark level work of landscpae architecture; and

5.      A publicspace still loved and used by many citzens and their visitors.

 

The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) documentedthis significant landscape in 2007 and here are the drawings:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/it...

This plaza is a heritage that should not be lost.

Odonnell
Odonnell

Peavey Plaza is a modernist master work. It can be rehabilitated to suit current needs. I say no to demolition

Ultracobalt
Ultracobalt

Peavey Plaza is not a landmark. It was built in the 1970's recession using the same Soviet-inspired designs and substandard concrete aggregate as the widely reviled Multifoods Tower, the vapid K-Mart that blocks Nicollet Ave and the U of M's Health Sciences towers - affectionately referred to on campus as "the death star".  These are all prime examples of the "Brutalist" school of architecture and a 1960's "urban renewal" mindset which destroyed true Minneapolis landmarks, such as the Metropolitan building and the great Guilded Age mansions where the I-94 trench now runs. Peavey Plaza was an abomination when it was built and it remains so to this day. Any effort to make it lighter, greener, more accessible, and rebuilt it using high quality materials is long overdue.

JonnyBeGood
JonnyBeGood

Preserve it, improve it - police it.  

truckload_bear
truckload_bear

Nice of them to include a homeless bathtub in the new plans. Very considerate.

amiller92
amiller92

As I see it, the trouble with the existing design is that it's excessively vertical to make it useful.  Basically, It's a big hole in the ground that gets very little use.

What I like about the new plans is that they keep some of that sense of vertical space but hopefully not so much that people don't go down to the bottom.

Of course, the whole thing needs a reason for people to be there, so it would be great to see a food vendor (perhaps something akin to Sea Salt) or something to draw people in.

PutSomeRanchOnIt
PutSomeRanchOnIt

Peavey Plaza is a cool place, but it's not very wheelchair accessible. The new plans look like it would change the water features to be more interactive, similar to Millennium Park in Chicago. It's a worthwhile investment for downtown to have a good public plaza.

That being said, the original design is great, and seems to already do most of the things the new plan would do. They could just make it more accessible and turn the water on.

John Titor
John Titor

There are a lot of things the new plan does that the old one doesn't. E.g.: connect to Nicollet Ave in a meaningful way; use energy and water more efficiently; allow access by handicapped individuals.

I love Peavey Plaza, and it definitely is a space unique to Minneapolis. But it is seriously dated, and is falling apart. 

As for "just [making] it more accessible and [turning] the water on" - the current plumbing is in serious disrepair, which is why the fountains have been out of commission for so long.

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