Marvels of Modernism: Peavey Plaza



During the successful urban renewal projects of the 1960s, the city of Minneapolis hired landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg to design Peavey Plaza to connect with Nicollet Mall, the city’s new downtown pedestrian mall.

While the plaza was designed as a “front yard” for the Minnesota Orchestra’s new concert hall, Peavey Plaza became an urban oasis for downtown inhabitants. Waterfalls absorbed city noise and small garden “rooms,” delineated by groves of honey locusts, created a sense of human intimacy that softened the modern angular surfaces. Today, pressure to further develop downtown threatens the survival of Peavey Plaza. The public needs to understand the site’s significance, or else it will see the plaza’s original Modernist design destroyed.

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