Peavey Plaza, Minneapolis, MN
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City of Minneapolis to receive Stewardship Excellence Award for Rehabilitation of Peavey Plaza

Media Contact: Nord Wennerstrom | T: 202.483.0553  | M: 202.225.7076 | E:

Coen+Partners’ sensitive rehabilitation of the M. Paul Friedberg-designed “park/plaza” integrates new design elements within the character-defining features of the historic site

Washington, D.C. (October 17, 2019) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) today announced that the City of Minneapolis would receive the Foundation’s 2019 Stewardship Excellence Award for the rehabilitation of the modernist icon Peavey Plaza, originally designed by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg. The award will be given to Mayor Jacob Frey at an evening reception, 5:30-7:00PM, on Tuesday, October 22 at Target Atrium, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN. Peavey Plaza’s rehabilitation by Minneapolis-based landscape architecture firm Coen+Partners resulted in an innovative and sympathetic renewal of character-defining features of the revolutionary “park/plaza,” a term coined by its original designer, along with the introduction of new design elements, such as those needed to address accessibility. 

First conferred in 2001, the Stewardship Excellence Award is bestowed on a person, group, or agency that shares TCLF's mission of “connecting people to places.” Past recipients of the Stewardship Excellence Award include individuals, nonprofit organizations, historic property stewards, and local and state municipalities. The aim of the award is to highlight stewardship stories that will educate and inspire future generations of cultural landscape stewards. 

The process toward the happy ending for Peavey Plaza came about after a 2012 lawsuit by TCLF and Rethos (formerly the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota) resulted in a settlement that halted demolition of the plaza.  As part of the settlement, rehabilitation plans had to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. As a first step, the city hired Miller Dunwiddie Architecture and landscape architects Damon Farber to complete a Historic Structures Report documenting existing conditions. This informed the $10 million rehabilitation project, funded by $4 million from the city, $2 million of state bonds, and $4 million from private donors.

Peavey Plaza was the first work by Friedberg listed in the National Register of Historic Places, an honor that was bestowed in 2013 when the plaza was only 38 years old—qualifying it as an “exceptionally important” site, a requirement for properties younger than 50 years. An important reference for the nominationwas a HALS documentation completed earlier by thelocal members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) that documented the plaza for the Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS), introducing one of the first Modernist landscapes to this archive, housed at the Library of Congress. The advocacy effort won the first Advocacy Award of Excellence from DOCOMOMO, the non-profit dedicated to modernist buildings, sites and neighborhoods, for the “consortium of local and national organizations [that] came together to successfully communicate Peavey Plaza’s ongoing importance and prevent its demolition.” 

“The successful rehabilitation of M. Paul Friedberg’s Peavey Plaza emphatically demonstrates how sympathetic change can be managed through site-specific design solutions that insure both continuity of expression and wise stewardship,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF's President & CEO.

Green Minneapolis is the non-profit conservancy that anchored the public-private partnership that made the rehabilitation effort possible. Green Minneapolis raised $4 million from the private sector that, when paired by funding from the City of Minneapolis and State of Minnesota, enabled the project to begin. Fundraising continues to raise the $2 million needed to fund an operating reserve.Green Minneapolis now operates and programs Peavey Plaza under contract with the City of Minneapolis. 

About Green Minneapolis

Green Minneapolis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) conservancy working to transform downtown from gray to green. Our mission is to advance the vibrancy of downtown Minneapolis through parks and greening. We aim to grow a green future for downtown, with tree-lined streets and active public spaces that enrich quality of life, create a healthier environment and connect people through place.

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is a Washington, D.C.-based education and advocacy non-profit established in 1998 with a mission of “connecting people to places.” The organization educates and engages the public to make our landscape heritage more visible, identify its value, and empower its stewards. TCLF is also home to the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize.

Photo credit: Peavey Plaza, Minneapolis, MN, 2019. Photo ©Elizabeth Felicella / All rights reserved. Courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

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