What Goes Up When Something Comes Down?

One day I was out walking around one of the city lakes here in Minneapolis. I came upon this retaining wall and gate. Not so unusual except that the house that once stood behind this gate was no longer there.


Here’s the house that used to be on this lot. My thanks to Dorothy Childers for permission to use her photo. It was a white stucco house with a red tile roof. The design has some quirky features and there appears to be an addition (possibly two)made over time.

2358 W Lk Isles - DChilders

Here’s the new house that is going up.  I took this photo back in October, 2012. I haven’t been back to see if they’ve completed it yet.


Here’s a shot of the back side:


This new one has a lot of detailing:




I like the copper accents. I’m not sure I care for the “wavy” brick exterior. No doubt there is a name for this look; I don’t know what it is. I think house numbers with a bit more polish would be better for a home of this stature. Perhaps the owners are creative types and preferred a bit of whimsy over elegance. What do you think? Do you like this new house or the old house better?



Photo of the Day: Antique Ornate Gate

Grain Belt Brewery Gate

The former brewery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The seven structures that contribute to the listing in the National Register of Historic Places are an architectural treat and worth the trip to see.

This gate is located next to the former brewhouse (now home to RSP Architects)
and the former wagon house and shed (now home to the Pierre Bottineau
Branch of Hennepin County Library) in Northeast Minneapolis.



Is Less More or is Less a Bore?

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe vs. Robert Venturi, Jr.

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto “Less is more” in describing his aesthetic for extreme simplicity in the Modern Architecture movement. Modern Architecture is also known for its minimalism; buildings were functional and economical rather than comfortable and beautifully decorated. Starkness won out over ornamentation.

Architect Robert Venturi, Jr., by contrast, said “Less is a bore”. Venturi desired and sought to bring back ornamental and decorative elements to architecture. The decorative elements in buildings provide both needed and necessary variety.

I tend to prefer detailing in architecture. Imagine the French window. The arch. Crown molding. Wainscot. They all bring visual art to an otherwise blank canvas.

Note the details on this house exterior.

Here's a charming gate with beautiful hardware.
Detailed ironwork and lantern.


I’ve also been in modern homes where the walls were glass and the “art” was nature herself outside the windows. Nature always captures my attention and I can easily live in a home with walls of windows with beautiful views. For me, this style of less is definitely more.

Modern Home with Center Atrium in Minneapolis
Floor to ceiling windows provide expansive outdoor views.

There will likely always be a variety of homes for buyers to choose from: homes that offer great detailing and homes that offer minimal detailing. Which type do you prefer?