Donning tyvek suits, respirators, and vinyl gloves, the Locus team took on an other-worldly appearance to begin the fiberglass process earlier this week.
Layer 1 was gel-coat, tinted light red, and rolled right over the wax-soaked form (once the fiberglass is popped off of the form, this initial coat will comprise the finished, smooth surface of the gravity well).
After a 24 hour drying period breathing fresh, 70 degree air, the marshmallowy aliens were back at it. This time getting delving into the nitty gritty of the fiberglass mesh – ripping it up then coating the patches over the form with resin.
The chemical reaction between the two transformed the relatively planar sheets of mesh into semi-liquid, maleable mush that conformed seamlessly to the form’s complex curve. A bit more drying time and the funnel will be popped off!
Fear not – the window for placing your food order at Sandcastle will be much larger than portrayed in the above photo! The sheathing has battened down the hatches from today’s rain – snow mix and a few spots of fenestration are starting to appear.
Lots of reinforcing has occurred inside to straighten up the super sagging, original concession building designed by Downs & Eads in 1927. The architecture office designed several buildings throughout Minneapolis, including the Linden Hills fire station (home to The Harriet Brasserie) and its neighboring building (home to Wild Rumpus).
In case you missed it, Sandcastle is the up and coming restaurant co-created by chef Doug Flicker (from Piccolo) for the Lake Nokomis concession building. Sandcastle’s Co-owner / Project Manager, Amy Greeley, stopped by Locus last week to review samples of the building’s new material palette – brilliantly bright with colors derived from the logo. Meanwhile construction is in full swing under the guidance of The Big Room.
Check out Sandcastle’s homepage for further insight into the new restaurant and stay tuned for more updates as the building progresses.
I never imagined I’d use the word “centerfold” next to “Locus Architecture”. It just sounds dirty. Last week, Adam in our office texted me a snapshot of the Walker Art Center’s May/June magazine. In the middle of the mag, a full page glossy of our Mini Golf submission, Gopher Hole. No airbrushing necessary.
Feel free to caress it, and other art holes, this summer at the Walker Sculpture Garden!
We’ve had our hands on a lot of materials over the last 2 decades (from custom, concrete countertops to everything that goes into making a residence), but never fiberglass resin. Admittedly wandering into unchartered territory, local artist Aaron Dysart was kind enough to share his insights with us.
Assuming the forecast stays snow-free, the nearly complete, Devil’s Tower-esque base will soon be layered up with fiberglass thanks to further tips and materials from Tomas Grim at Express Composites.
Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday night to 2×2 no. 6! There were lots of great ideas on how your investment dollar can yield more than just financial return.
From socially responsible to environmentally progressive, Kelly Guncheon pointed out that there are over 200 mutual funds for responsible investing, either for general investment or for retirement plans. If you are a Hennepin County Library cardholder, you can research these funds to learn more about their holdings on the Morningstar Investment Research Center link. Use it to also investigate your current funds’ holdings. You might be surprised by what you find out.
Anna Forsberg introduced us to Kiva, a well established non-profit group that takes contributions as small as $25 and invests in entrepreneurs throughout the world (via local financial institutions). This video explains the process more thoroughly. While there is no financial return to the lender, Kiva is a great way to see your dollars in action and once the loan is repaid, you can either choose to withdraw what you invested or reinvest in another project.
Kiva recently began piloting a new program for person-to-person lending (taking out the financial institution part) called Kiva Zip. With the support of 2×2 attendees, we were able to collect $225 which will be invested in Kiva Zip start ups (and will continue to be re-invested as the loans are repaid)! There are currently Kiva Zip opportunities in Kenya and the U.S. (3 in MN with more to come soon). Stay tuned to see who the attendees choose as their borrower(s)!
Several times per year, Locus hosts a series of free talks on creativity and collaboration, titled 2×2. In an informal presentation setting, two influential locals reveal their passions and challenges in life, art and business. From organic farming to cutting edge music to life-changing dreams, a pair of presenters discuss common themes that shape their work and influence those around them.
2×2 #6: Responsible Investing pairs values-based, financial planner, Kelly Guncheon with Kiva fellow, Anna Forsberg. Mr. Guncheon is the head of the local financial firm, Guncheon Financial and will address socially and environmentally responsible investing. Mrs. Forsberg has experience working with Kiva in Africa and is currently working with the non-profit in Minnesota. She will be speaking about micro financing (worldwide as well as Minnesota-specific). Together, their presentation will offer inspiration for conscientious investment strategies – considering value beyond the bottom line. The presentation will be followed by a Question/Answer session amidst refreshments.
RSVPs are greatly appreciated as seating is limited (email: [email protected]).
The next layer of plaster is on thanks to our in-office-fabricated, curved screed board (seen above swiveling from the center of the formwork). Some cracking developed as it dried, but another round of joint compound should smooth things over…to be continued.
Smoothing things over with the second coat of Durabond’s “setting-type” joint compound. The next layer of plaster will be the more conventional, all-purpose joint compound (there’s about an 1/8th of an inch gap for the third coat to fill). The wooden screed (shown above), will then rotate about the center axis to form an even smoother surface.
Gopher hole was recently named one of about a dozen winning designs to be constructed this summer at the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden. This is the 3rd year they’ve teamed up with MNArtists.org. and this summer’s course should be epic as it coincides with the Sculpture Garden’s 25th anniversary.
The construction of Gopher Hole is well under way with the gravity well (the red funnel in the above picture) formwork nearly complete. Stay tuned for more images as the fiberglass goes on the form and the rest of the structure takes shape.
No, that’s not a UFO, replica of Devil’s Tower, or a 1980′s cable TV satellite dish… All of the “fins” are in place and getting screened over for the gravity well formwork. Stay tuned for the plaster base coat.
If you are out braving the spring-turned-winter-wonderland, stop by our office (turned construction site) and imagine warmer days ahead. Gopher Hole is well under way and will be a part of the Walker Art Center’s mini golf course opening late May … hopefully sans snow.
The first undertaking is to build a gravity well – the formwork pictured above will be coated in plaster to make a smooth mold, which will eventually be covered in fiberglass.
The first coat of plaster is on the 6 foot diameter frame! A couple fans are speed-drying it before the second coat is applied. For those following the more technical aspects, this base layer is Durabond’s “setting-type” joint compound, which is better suited for “heavy fills” (not the finish compound typically sold in 5 gallon buckets).
If you’ve ever listened to MPR’s Climate Cast on Thursday mornings, you’ve likely heard about our increasingly changing weather. Climate Refugees is a documentary that takes another look these conditions and the disastrous effects they are having on people throughout othe world.
The film will be shown at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community (4401 Upton Ave. S.) on April 25th at 6:30 p.m. A panel discussion will follow, offering solutions to climate change that Minnesotans can act upon.
The event is hosted by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society a neighboring non-profit that advocates for renewable energy and educates citizens about solar in Minnesota (they also recently co-hosted our Off Grid Presentation at REI). Join us by bike – we’ll be pedaling over around 6!
“Going off grid drove all the behavior we wanted to do anyway” said Mike Larsen in regards to living in a net zero home designed by Locus.
If you missed last night’s presentation at Midwest Mountaineering, check out this Star Tribune article for a bit of the background story.
The clients and Locus will be joined by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society to present again Wednesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. at REI Bloomington. Birchwood Cafe will be there too…with snacks!
Stay tuned for a synopsis of the presentation on the Locus website.
Do our personal financial investments have responsibilities beyond ourselves? How can we ethically integrate financial, social, and personal investment, in a more meaningful manner?
Find out at 2X2 no. 6, Saturday, April 20th. Presentation at 7:30. 708 W. 40th St.
In two hours, you’ll be better educated, inspired, buoyant, and have spent way less than you lost on your Apple stock last quarter.
Pick up the new issue of Momentum Magazine and you’ll find the latest styles in cycling gear, family-friendly riding ideas, bike share programs across the world, and the growing trend of Open Streets. On page 28, you’ll also gain insight into Locus’ love affair with two-wheel travel, which is not just about minimizing our carbon footprint or sneaking in a wee work-out before sitting in an office chair for the day.
Bicycling is something we include in our daily routine as life-style and office-style – incorporating a pedestrian friendly approach to design that includes multi-modal transit throughout the Twin Cities. Embracing the bike in our work is one of many ways we think globally, act locally and create artfully. From the scale of a religious assembly hall to this completely off-the-grid home, we believe to achieve true sustainability one must walk the walk and talk the talk in all facets of life.
Such an approach fosters healthy, city living for everyone (even if you aren’t on a bike) – something that’s better for all of our brains, bodies and businesses. We’re honored to have the likes of Birchwood, One on One, Artcrank, Full-Cycle, and Lebanon Hills Regional Park pedaling with us on this front.
To read more about these relationships, stop by Calhoun Cycle, Birchwood Cafe or One on One Bicycle Studio to grab a copy of the April/May issue.
Thanks to Stephen Irving for writing the piece and again to John Haynes for shooting the team at a Locus designed, Minneapolis residence; here’s a shot that didn’t appear in the magazine:
Want to know how to integrate rain water collection, solar energy, photovoltaic electricity, passive heating and ventilation, a masonry heater, a root cellar and a composting toilet in a year-round home on a modest budget?
Join us at Midwest Mountaineering on March 28th (7 p.m.) to learn how a Minnesota couple, collaborating with Locus Architecture, created an off-the-grid home in Winona County and strengthened their connection to the land they love.
It’s 10 degrees outside, but we’re firing up the drills, soaking up solar energy in path lights and prepping 20 foot fiber glass fronds for striking verticality this afternoon. The impetus is to document our proposal for the Creative City Challenge. Much thanks to Country Enterprises for sending the fiberglass over from Lucan, MN (the town is perhaps more famously known as the home of Brau Brothers Brewing). Stay tuned for footage of RIPPLE in action.
Over the last few years we’ve had the fortune to work with clients who enjoy biking as much as we do – ARTCRANK, Full Cycle, One on One Bicycle Studio & Go Coffee, Birchwood Cafe, and Dakota County to name a few.
Vancouver-based, Momentum magazine took note and will be publishing a spring feature on the Locus love affair with 2 wheel travel. Kudos to local photographer, John Haynes, for taking some snazzy shots of the Locus team for Momentum, though not the ones below – you’ll have to wait for the magazine’s release to see them, but in the meantime check out Lake Superior surfers and then read on to gain some insight into why we ride:
Aside from all the benefits of not burning fossil fuels, I’ve slowly learned in my 51 years that my mind works better when my body is moving. Commuting to work on bike or on foot gives me time for thinking at it’s best. The next challenge – figure out how to work without sitting down. I ride my old Bianchi Grizzly around the city – solid as a rock and not too pretty now. My favorite place to ride is the greenway which cuts through the city parallel to Lake Street. It connects work and home to the sports events my kids participate in.
When I was a kid, I lived out in the country; I didn’t have a friend within 4 miles of my parents’ house. Cycling was a necessity for a social life. When I got a driver’s license, I abandoned the bike – I thought a car gave me freedom. After high school, I lived in Berkeley and Boston where owning a car was a hassle. I rediscovered the bike (a boss’s old Mouton). When I moved to Minneapolis, I started driving again for no real reason. After a year or two, I went back to the bike a third time; I think, for good. It’s refreshing, my mood is better, I think clearer, I like the exercise, I feel more nimble, I notice more, it’s good for my kids, I talk to people on the streets, it sets a good example, it’s an easy way to shed stress, I can go most anywhere, and I can usually move just about as fast as a car for most trips. I’d much rather ride than drive on all but the worst weather days. Lately, I’ve geared up to tour on an old SR Pro. I’m looking forward to doing some vacation traveling via bike – something I’ve not done before.
Year round commuting keeps me connected to the great outdoors – every day brings a different condition that requires attention and adjustment. It’s as invigorating to crunch through the first snowfall as a bulky marshmallow as it is to sweat shirtless hell bound for a swim in Cedar Lake. I’m humbled listening to Mother Nature and if I don’t like what she says I sing out loud to her while dodging potholes and puppy dogs throughout the Grand Rounds and streets of Minneapolis. My bike version of Scott Seekins changing his suit annually from black to white (though it doesn’t garner as much attention with the local art scene) involves a beater, Bianchi Osprey single speed coming out for a few months of urban salt, sand and snow. With oversized galoshes and double layers of everything, I score zero style points, but at least this bulky marshmallow is toasty at minus 20.
Our off-the-grid clients are basking in the light of the shortest day of the year. Working with only 8 hours, 46 minutes and 9 seconds of daylight (give or take) there’s still more than enough solar energy to go ’round. Says one near Winona:
The batteries are at 100% after starting the day at 66%. Solar hot water tank almost at 110 degrees Farenheit after starting the day at 70. The hallway thermostat registers 79 with our ventilation running. Time to open a window!
Not too shabby for 21 degrees outside.
Wouldn’t it be great if our public spaces interacted with us – not our smart phones?
LOCUS Architecture is competing to design and build a temporary public space in the park opposite the Minneapolis Convention Center (Summer 2013 installation). MCC will narrow down the 16 entries to a short list using Facebook voting. Top 5 “realistic” entries will continue to the next round. We need YOU to get us to Round 2.
Vote for RIPPLE!
RIPPLE is public space as sculpture activated by weather for enticing people to create experiences in their city. Shaped to move in response to wind or the push of a passing pedestrian, visible from multiple locations, programmed with activities, and lit at night, RIPPLE stimulates the curiosity of children and the attention of adults.
Vote at work, at home, or while walking around the lake! We timed Adam here in our office, he was done in less than 20 seconds. Here’s how: Visit this website. Click on Vote. You may see a pop-up window to log into your Facebook account. If so, log in. Vote. If you like what you see, post to your wall, add a comment and tell your friends!
As the sun fades on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we are sitting at our desks feeling grateful for the people who put their dreams in our hands this year. THANK YOU to Brigitt & Scott, Grace, Daphnae & Marc, Margaret & Scott, Scott & Kristen, Jeff & Leslie, James & Mike, Rich & Martha, Jim & Jen, Mike & Linda, Dominic & Rehana, Chris, Katherine, Mary, Zenas, Sara, Curt, Dave & Julie, Andrea & Billy, Kristine, Lance, Ed, Eric, Mary & Caitlin, Keith & Jeannine, Josh & Sarah, Rich & Trish, Ruben & Sarah, John, Suzanne & Tim, and Claudia (not to mention her effective cocktails and Brazilian grill!).
Without you – we won’t name names – we might not have seen Hairball or attended La Crosse Oktoberfest – and certainly not in the same night.
To Kent, Christy, Bob, and Sam from UUCM, we appreciate your grit while staying positive! It will happen. On behalf of spelunkers of the Midwest, we all owe thanks to Eric at Crystal Cave; for those more at home on two wheels above ground, same to Bruce, Craig, and Josh at Dakota County for our joint work on the Lebanon Hills Trailhead Buildings. We’ve been blessed to work with other cyclists at One On One Bike Studio this year – we hope to keep pedaling with you. Thanks too to the exhibit design team at the Children’s Museum, we hope to collaborate again soon!
It’s been a pleasure to work with the teams at Birchwood Cafe, Eat Shop, Fitger’s & Sandcastle – we look forward to more exceptional food and beer from your kitchens and kettles next year. Thanks for trusting us with your businesses.
Finally, thanks to all of you we may have mistakenly forgotten and anybody else who is doing the hard work of making our Twin Cities community stronger (including Deanna in Dayton’s Bluff – we’re anxious to see how the neighborhood continues to benefit from your input!).
It’s almost the holidays, time to start buying nuts, chocolates, sweaters, fuel, plane tickets, architectural services, and (if you have kids) noise cancelling headphones. The idea of spending money got me thinking about Chinook Book – your neighborhood-eco-bike-riding-sustainable coupon book.
Last year, we ran a coupon for a free hour of architectural consulting. My last appointment, before our coupons expired, was with Travis, a produce manager at the Seward Coop. I ran into him a month or two after the consult at a meeting regarding the Birchwood Cafe expansion. We don’t often trumpet our consulting work but he was downright ebullient about our help so we’ll make an exception. “Your consult was the most valuable coupon I’ve ever used from the Chinook Book. ( Take that Spoonriver!) Everything turned out great. Your consultation saved me money and time and your wisdom in the matter really helped me focus.”
A little time can make a huge difference. If we can achieve that in 60 minutes, imagine the possibilities for you, your community, or your organization. Make the world a better place to experience.
In the meantime, I’m going shopping.
I heard futurist David Zach give a keynote at the AIA MN convention last week. He had a number of convincing arguments about our future – being a futurist and all – but also a warning. As people spend more time connecting through digital platforms, we give up opportunities to connect in person. In Locus’ projects and community outreach efforts (2X2, RAW), we focus on community building through design, experience, personal interaction, and stories. From what we’ve seen, people are hungry to connect with others. I offer an example from my personal life.
“You know what I’ve always wanted?” my wife Linda asked me a few years ago. Anticipating my usual sarcastic response, she answered her question, “A harvest table in the yard where we could host dinner parties with friends.”
Fast forward to summer 2012. After moving to a new house last year, we didn’t know many neighbors. Why not build that harvest table, put it in our front yard, and invite our neighbors for weekly get-togethers? We found the person with the neighborhood email list and contacted everyone on it.
Friends and neighbors:
Wynne and Linda here, new neighbors since fall. As dachshund-walkers, we’ve met many of you. We’d like to connect with more of you, so we got to wondering about a harvest table in our front yard where we meet up. Here’s the idea:
1. We build a harvest table and some benches, plop it in our front yard.
2. Every week, we send out an email letting y’all know when the table will be open.
3. If you can come, you bring family/friends and your own food and drink to the table.
4. We all meet, chat, laugh, eat, and drink.
5. When it’s all done, you take your stuff with you.
What we need:
1. Wood. Has to be salvaged. Did you take down a fence, demolish a deck, toss some pallets in the garage, or snag some lumber from a dumpster? We’ll take it. Character is a plus. Once we have enough, we’ll get to building. We’re not building a Nakashima piece, you might call it Beverly Hillbilly chic.
2. If you like, send your kids over to help – or join in. We won’t let the kids use power tools, but they can hammer and drive screws as much as they like. We’ll provide the screws and nails.
3. When finished, we’ll inaugurate with a party!
We spent nothing on it, but our time. We took scrap wood we had, more from a handful of neighbors who answered the call, and cobbled together a communal 22′ table of cast off 2X4s, lilac stumps, and a few mahogany scraps. By fall’s end, we had a tradition.
We recently announced the close of the table for winter, and started receiving emails of thanks, “we are weeping tonight,” “thanks for the leadership and initiative,” “a wonderful idea,” “a resounding success and great addition to the neighborhood,” “an amazing season,” “it’s great to have you on the street,” and “thank you SO VERY MUCH for providing the neighborhood with the incredible gift of the HARVEST TABLE. It has been extraordinary!” Most of the notes came from neighbors we’ve met in the past three months. A little effort, a large impact.
In September, I threw a surprise party for Linda – the one she had described years ago. Kids played whiffle ball in the back yard, friends came stocked with crock pots full of hearty stews and soups, salads, and cocktails. Lucky with a warm evening, we laughed and shared stories as night fell and candles were lit. Random neighbors walking their dogs were invited up the steps to join us. “This is exactly what I’ve always imagined,” Linda whispered into my ear at dessert.
We value being together, something our buildings and public spaces should aggressively reinforce. Come out to the front yard, into the public, make eye contact and interact with a stranger. Take a chance and join us at the table.