Landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg conceived the Peavey Plaza as the “living room” of downtown Minneapolis. The result was an iconic sunken plaza that balanced the tranquility of a central reflecting pool with a cascading concrete fountain and active programming that filled the plaza.
By the late 2000s, the Brutalist fountains had run dry and were slated for demolition. A consortium of local and national advocates, including M. Paul Friedberg himself, successfully convinced the city that the site was worth saving (this effort was recognized with a Docomomo US Advocacy Award of Excellence in 2014).
The renovated plaza opened during the summer of 2019. One of the biggest changes, raising the basin of the sunken plaza from 10” to ¼”, not only created a more welcoming and flexible space, it also reduced water usage by tens of thousands of gallons. Additional improvements include a new, fully accessible entry experience placed along Nicollet Mall, with select terraces converted to permeable pavers. All this was accomplished through a consensus-building process while negotiating many layers of review.
Today, the plaza stands restored to its original splendor with issues of universal access resolved and infrastructure challenges addressed while still retaining the Plaza’s character defining features.
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