Coen + Partners, leading a multidisciplinary team of artists and engineers, was appointed as one of four teams to submit designs for the Weisman Art Museum’s River Bridge Plaza at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Museum asked Coen + Partners to re-envision the plaza space adjacent to their Frank Gehry-designed building as part of a large scale expansion project and a city-wide light rail initiative. A busy, central pedestrian and bike crossroads, this important public space and bridge is notable for its magnificent views of the Mississippi River and downtown Minneapolis, as well as its challenging structural condition above bridge, automobile, and rail infrastructure. More than 20,000 people pass through the space each day.
Coen + Partners’ design proposal expanded the competition’s immediate scope through the plaza space, over the Mississippi River, and across the 1000-foot two-story bridge, in drastic need of refurbishment and re-purposing. This new public space was radically re-envisioned as a 21st century take on the classic University mall. Together with their partner, electronic artist Rafael Lozano Hemmer, the firm proposed a multipurpose, contemporary public space–a series of flexible green and plaza nodes suspended above the vast gorge of the river. The design interweaves seating, shelter, participatory art, pedestrian and bicycle traffic patterns to create an iconic new campus spine that capitalized on its awe inspiring context while creating beautiful and flexible spaces in support of the program and mission of the Weisman Art Museum and the new Target Studio for Creative Collaboration.
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Collaborators: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Van Sickle, Allen & Associates
Client: Weisman Art Museum
COEN + PARTNERS WINS THE 2015 SMITHSONIAN COOPER-HEWITT NATIONAL DESIGN AWARD
Top of page