The Twin Cities are home to several remarkable architectural gems. One of them is the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum located at the University of Minnesota campus on the banks of the Mississippi River. If you haven't seen it before, please take a moment to view the images in this post. If you have, here are some quick facts about the museum that you might find interesting followed by several images I captured this summer.
Q: Why is it named after Frederick Weisman?
A: Originally from Minnesota, Mr. Weisman donated $3 million dollars as well as "additional support" to see it come to fruition. He was a successful entrepreneur who loved the arts and was a known philanthropist.
Q: Who designed it?
A: It was designed by architect Frank Gehry. He subsequently won the Progressive Architecture Design Award in 1991 for its design.
Q: When was it built?
A: The building officially opened on November 21, 1993.
Q: What is the building's exterior surface made of?
A: Stainless Steel.
Q: What was Gehry thinking when he built it?
A: He is known to come from the style of Deconstructivism and his works seems to have a common theme reflecting this. Many of them feature large sheets of metal (presumably stainless steel) in various degrees of curvature.
Q: What else has Gehry built?
A: Experience Music Project in Seattle, The Guggenheim Museum in Spain, Standing Glass Fish in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and The Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, to mention a few.
Q: Was Gehry inspired by any other artists?
A: When I look at the Weisman, I immediately think of a Picasso painting, but couldn't find any evidence to back that up.
Q: Is there a face in there?
A: According to Wikipedia there are 2 faces. Also a waterfall and a fish. Can you see them?
Of course there is more great design and art to see inside. The Weisman is home to my all-time favorite art exhibit - a re-assembled apartment building hallway from Seattle, I believe. The neat part about it is as you approach an apartment door, you can put your ear up to it and hear what is going on inside. Each apartment has different sounds coming from it. I'm not going to tell you what they are in case you can get there and hear it for yourself. It's an interesting experiment in human psychology. If you've ever lived in an apartment or stayed in a hotel, you can relate to the thin walls that allow sounds to permeate both ways. It's much harder to maintain any privacy in this kind of environment, despite the physical barriers of walls and doors. How does this affect our relationships as people? Do you treat someone differently if you know something about them that you found out indirectly? How does it change depending on whether you heard it via gossip or through the walls? Could conclusions have been jumped to? There is a lot to consider.
As always, thank you for stopping by! Here is a link to the Weisman if you would like to learn more:
Several years ago, some one published a shot of the Minneapolis skyline from under the Stone Arch Bridge. Since then, It has become somewhat of a popular photographic destination. It is only a matter of time until the city puts a "Scenic Overlook", or in this case a "Scenic Underlook" sign.
Because it has been so widely captured, it is a bit of a challenge to get a unique image that is different from all the others. Adding an element can help.
The classic shot of the city is actually from the other side of the bridge, but we crossed under to get this one. There is a staircase to help you get down there although it is a bit of a workout.
We have a lot of bridges between Minneapolis and St. Paul. They are all different and really great to photograph.
Originally published May 26, 2012
There is little doubt that many of the great structures in this world are centered around religion and in them resides some of the world’s greatest art as well. One of those buildings happens to be located in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. It is the Cathedral of St. Paul.
The Cathedral has a complicated and intricately woven history, but the current building as it stands began construction in 1907. It sits on Summit Hill, one of the highest points in St. Paul, and is situated so that it overlooks the skyline of the city. If you are interested in learning more about its historical background, here is a link:
Almost every detail, whether inside or out, has religious significance behind it. The Cathedral can seat 3,000 people and was designed so that the entire congregation would have an unobstructed view of the altar and pulpit. The building is as long as it is tall: 307 feet and is 216 feet wide. Check out the page called “Art and Architecture” at the above link for an abundance of fascinating facts.
The Church received the rare Rite of Consecration in 1958 which elevated it to one of the prestigious places to worship in the United States. It receives more than 200,000 visitors a year from around the world.
Here are a few images I made during my two hour visit there. When architecture is this well planned and thought out, it is a delight for a photographer to discover and document. It feels like exploring a hidden treasure map to me. Do you think I found any surprising architectural alignments in my images?
Also interesting is a 360 degree spherical panorama which can be seen by clicking this link (scroll to the bottom of the page). Use your mouse to move around in the image.
Have a very Happy Memorial Day weekend!
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.