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Architecture Posts

Congdon Pumphouse highlights historic home tour

A 19th Century Duluth pump house was converted into living space by Elisabeth Congdon in 1937. The property will be open during the Duluth Preservation Alliance Historic Property Tour Sept. 16.

Duluth has dozens of spectacular waterfront properties with amazing Lake Superior views but only one home has a front porch featuring metal wave deflectors and living room windows equipped with hurricane shutters.

World’s only Frank Lloyd Wright service station

The R. W. Lindholm Service Station at 202 Cloquet Ave. in Cloquet, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956 and opened in 1958, is still in use. These photos are from late 1950s and early 1960s.

Historic home tour offers rare look into original Tweed Museum

Duluth Preservation Alliance boardmember Dennis Lamkin, left, and homeowner Leslie Broadway stand along a newly installed garden outside the Tweed House in Chester Park. The home is part of the Duluth Preservation Alliance Historic Properties Tour Sept. 17.

The largest art museum in Duluth started on the first floor of a Chester Park home but the glamorous history was hardly recognizable when Jared and Leslie Broadway purchased the property six years ago.

“It was just a room you passed through to get upstairs,” said Leslie, as she led visitors into the 103-year-old Tweed House at 2531 E. Seventh St. “Jared had his exercise equipment down here.”

Working with Duluth preservationist Dennis Lamkin and a stable of contractors, the couple transformed the dreary ground floor basement back into a place for treasured art and lively social gatherings. The public will get a rare look at the historic gallery during the 32nd annual Duluth Preservation Alliance Historic Properties Tour on Sunday, Sept. 17.

Gunnar Birkerts, Duluth Public Library architect, dead at 92

Gunnar Birkerts, a Latvian-born architect who extended the vocabulary of Modernism using unexpected angular forms, folding planes and ingenious, light-suffused interiors, died on Tuesday at his home in Needham, Mass. He was 92.

Duluth’s Ten Most Endangered Properties in 2017

Pastoret Terrace

From a hidden stairway to the original rail line servicing the city, Duluth is not “anyplace, USA,” the Duluth Preservation Alliance announced in a news release. “It is home to an abundance of historic buildings and sites.”

To bring awareness to some of the city’s most threatened properties, the DPA put out its list of “Duluth’s Ten Most Endangered Properties in 2017.”

1. Pastoret Terrace
131 E. First St.
What began as luxury townhouses in 1887 has since been divided into multiple apartments. In 2010, the Terrace experienced a devastating fire and currently sits as a fraction of its former glory. Now owned by the city, it could be razed, or it could be renovated and be a catalyst that helps revive First Street.

Duluth Architect Recommendations

In the unlikely event that you have previously hired and worked with an architect on a commercial property in Duluth, we would like to hear from you.

We are in the design phases of a new business in Lincoln Park. The entire process is new to us, and we would like to hear your stories, advice, and recommendations.

Tallest Structure in Duluth

Here’s a question to contemplate: What is the tallest standing structure within Duluth city limits?

Here’s what I was thinking for determining this: The tallest height should be relative to the starting point of the structure in the ground. So a structure that begins on a higher elevation does not have advantage. Also, “ground” can be defined as the Lake bottom, so a structure could begin on the Lake bottom, but the footings (or anything underneath the ground [or Lake bottom]) wouldn’t be part of the equation.

The Duluth Arial Lift Bridge is pretty high (177 feet), but other higher buildings and structures are clearly in view.

Ensculptic — Minnetrista, Minnesota

Ensculptic Ensculptic interior

The name of this house is “Ensculptic,” which is short for “environmental sculpture in plastic.” Most people prefer to call it the “Mushroom House,” “Flintstone House,” “Hobbit House” or simply “That Weird House in Minnetrista.”

The place is now known as “The Foam House” on Houselogic’s “7 Crazy Houses” list.