Our Work

Open Book

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    • the central “book” stair was designed in collaboration with a local artist
    • Overview

      “It is not uncommon for the arts to revitalize a neighborhood, but it is certainly unusual for old-fashioned literature and books to lead the way.
      . . . Every year since [Open Book] opened, growth has exceeded expectations.” —The New York Times

      Housing three prominent book and literary arts organizations (Minnesota Center for Book Arts, The Loft, and Milkweed Editions) under one roof, this center for reading, writing, and the book arts serves as a first-of-its-kind national model for engaging communities through the intersection between the three fields. A renovation of three conventional, historical buildings, Open Book responds fully to the client’s goals by embracing the limitations of budget, the existing conditions of the buildings, and the arts to be engaged in within the center. The design incorporates literal detailing and judicious editing in the lyrical composition and intervention of old and new.

    • pivoting entry doors/walls open the space for large events
    • the space is host to classes on paper making, book binding, and the book arts
    • old wallpaper and fragments of stairs portray past residential use
    • salvaged doors frame the writers’ studios
    • minimally finished interiors, which were a cost-saving measure, form a varied patina
    • interior offices allow for perimeter public spaces with daylight and views
    • Specifications

      Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

      Type: Adaptive reuse

      Size: 55,311 square feet

    • Awards

      AIA Minnesota Honor Award.

      Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Adaptive Reuse Achievement Award.

      Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Heritage Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse.

      Minneapolis Committee on Urban Environment (CUE) Award.

      City Pages’ 2001 Best of the Twin Cities Best Renovation.

      Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) and
      MetLife Foundation MetLife Innovative Space Award.

      NAIOP Excellence for a Renovated/Repositioned Project.

      Construction Specifications Institute Craftsmanship Award (for the Central Stair).

    • Project Contact

      Garth Rockcastle

      • Architect / Principal
      • garth@msrdesign.com
      • 301 799 3302
      • View Bio

      Traci Engel Lesneski

      • Interior Designer / Principal
      • traci@msrdesign.com
      • 612 991 7764
      • View Bio