LOCUS principal Paul Neseth co-created RAW to change the way young architects think about their work and the world, both domestically and internationally. RAW is a collection of intensive design/build workshops held in intriguing locations around the world that present meaningful design challenges rooted in rich natural and cultural contexts. RAW is a full-on, hands-on experience. Through workshops in the U.S., Mexico, France, and Africa (so far), RAW designs and constructs beautiful and useful structures that are environmentally responsible and have clear social value.
LOCUS hosts and curates a lecture series pairing local pioneers to talk about passions, inspirations and collaboration. Topics have ranged from public art to responsible investing to parenting. Look for No.07 coming soon.
In 2009, LOCUS Architecture brought together a group of Twin Cities cyclists to make their mark and make a difference. Participants bunny-hopped, spun, skidded, and cruised over one-of-a-kind posters, recording monoprint tread signatures.
Posters were auctioned and sold at ARTCRANK, raising money for Full Cycle, a Minneapolis based outreach program that provides free and healthy transportation to homeless and at-risk youth. Full Cycle teaches youth the importance of biking and reuse;. the knowledge to build, repair, and maintain bikes; and basic business skills.
Prior to the formation of RAW, Paul and Wynne led several design build studios at the University of Minnesota’s architecture school. In 2007, they led a group of students that traveled to Biloxi, MS to design and build a pavilion in a very barren John Henry Beck Park. At that time, demolished bridges, overturned houses and empty schoolyards littered the landscape. Ghosts of that destruction are still evident.
Working with city leaders, local volunteers, relief agencies, and school children, Paul and Wynne led students to create the most coveted physical commodity in coastal Mississippi – shade. Parents can now comfortably watch their children in the playground without the need to duck under play equipment. Although the functional aspects of the pavilion are beneficial, the real success came from the hope and relationships built during the process. Students invited kids from the Boys and Girls Club to participate in the construction effort, placing their handprints in concrete pavers. The excitement of working with wet concrete was surpassed only by their delight, when they returned two weeks later, to find their prints in the finished pavilion. After three weeks of designing until 3am, pouring loads of concrete, and building wood trusses by moonlight, the students stepped out of the shade for the last time to make room for a mom and her kids.
Architecture & the Psyche Pavillion (Weisman Art Museum)
Designed as the central exhibit for the Minneapolis symposium, “Architecture and the Psyche” at the Weisman Art Museum our pavilion investigated and exaggerated architectural experience, specifically enclosure, comfort, vulnerability, and voyeurism.
At a distance of forty-six feet, the structure ceased to define space, becoming almost transparent. Upon approach, the pavilion became increasingly opaque, providing occupants defensive space from would-be intruders. In order to see inside, outsiders had to remain distant. Occupants within the pavilion, who were always close to the screen, were given a false perception of privacy.
Gopher Hole - Walker Art Center Mini Golf
LOCUS’ contribution to the Walker Art Center’s Mini Golf Course challenged golfers to combine chance, putting skill, and physical analysis. The hole began with a spirited putt up an inclined pipe into an elevated centripetal cone. As the ball spiraled around the cone, hypnotizing many a duffer, it increased in velocity before dropping into one of two subterranean gopher burrows. Pop! the ball jumped out of the gopher holes below. Golfers had to then avoid gopher holes and sand traps to try to make par. The hole was featured on the Walker’s course for two years.
While remodeling our old office at 40th & Lyndale, we uncovered reams of 1940s newspapers originally used as insulation in the ceiling. Headlines outlined the escalating war in Europe, the first Aquatennial, and home prices in the Twin Cities from days of old (cheap!). With a little research, we found the adult Richard “Dickie” Wigen, who showed up in an old photo as a (then) young batboy for the Minneapolis Millers. We brought him to the reception we hosted displaying highlights from the collection. After a little light reading, we donated the bulk of the papers to local collage artists.
Creative Kids Zone
In an on-going effort to engage with others also passionate about food, we partnered with the Fulton Farmer’s Market for the 2015 season. We established a play area for children that we called the “Creative Kid Zone" including construction toys of all types, drawing activities and, because it’s a farmer’s market, an interactive vermiculture bin (kids love gross things like worms). We love seeing the kids dive into creative play! Come visit us this summer and share your architectural dreams; we’ll work with the kids to model some quick ideas!
To learn more, visit Neighborhood Roots, the parent organization that organizes the Fulton, Kingfield, and Nokomis Farmers' Markets.
In 2009, LOCUS participated in (PARK)ing Day, taking over a parking space in front of the (at that time) new Guthrie Theater. We provided a place to chat and sit in the sun in front of the building, earning a raised eyebrow from passer-by Joe Dowling, and a “courtesy” visit from the Guthrie Theater security team.
(PARK)ing Day at the Guthrie Theater with Locus Architecture
Unbundling the Housing Crisis
We participated in The Form + Content Gallery show Unbundling the Housing Crisis co-curated by our friend Jay Isenberg. We created one of eight works by multi-disciplinary teams investigating the housing crisis of the late 2000s. Our entry, “PPoD” led to LOCUS’ SAM concept - a sustainable, attainable, and modern kit home. PPoD (“peapod”) offered a common sense alternative to typical housing and conventional lending, a flexible housing system allowing owners to buy and sell pieces of their homes over time. We were lucky to collaborate with former client Paul Guthrie of Toss Film + Design in the production of our film and exhibit.