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Sharing is what people do. We tell stories. We swap recipes.  This is where McMonigal shares our thoughts on all things architecture and interior design related. Some of these ideas you may even feel compelled to share with your family and friends.

Hang on to Your Hat! The Plunge into Autumn.

September 10th, 2014

by Rosemary McMonigal FAIA, LEED AP, CID

It’s been nearly a year since our last entry and so many exciting things have happened here at McMonigal Architects.  But fear not, we will only share the fun stuff with you.

Susie Bjorklund of Freedom Farm has approached McMonigal Architects and Jim Krech (Krech, O’Brien, Mueller and Associates) to offer us a unique opportunity to donate our time and expertise in helping to bring their one-room schoolhouse back to life.  The end result of this special collaboration will be an addition and renovation of the already existing learning space.

Freedom Farm is a non-profit organization that enriches lives by partnering with the unique attributes of the horse to improve mobility, build confidence and encourage personal growth in children and adults with physical, mental & emotional challenges.  (http://freedomfarmmn.org/)

Last Saturday, McMonigal Architects was invited to join the Schroeder’s in their tent to view the featured polo match, hosted by Freedom Farm.  Jockeys from South America and all over the nation traveled to participate in this year’s fundraising event.  All proceeds from the Live Auction, Silent Auction, as well as Admissions helped to aid programs created by Freedom Farm.  This year’s recipients were Healing with Horses (a program for veterans), and Hope with Horses (teaching at risk teens valuable life lessons).

During half-time (after the 3rd “chukka”, named for the periods in a polo match), I (Lindsay) participated in the events Hat Contest and to my surprise, won!  What a treat!

 

2014 Freedom Farm Hat Contest

2014 Freedom Farm Hat Contest

As we take the plunge into Minnesota fall weather, we also approach the annual Homes by Architects Tour, hosted by AIA Minnesota.  We will be featuring our most recent remodel near Lake Calhoun in south Minneapolis.  This is a great opportunity to see what’s new in the architectural world and to come meet the McMonigal Architects team!  There are also an additional 15 other homes on display.  The event runs Saturday, September 20th through the 21st, 10am to 5pm.  For tickets to the event, click HERE, or for a sneak peak of the home, click HERE.

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For the Love of St Paul!

September 27th, 2013

by Rosemary McMonigal FAIA, LEED AP, CID

St Paul Tour

Oh, for the love of St. Paul!

A lively architectural tour of the City of St. Paul happened on September 14th.  Rosemary led a 17 block walk from the farmer’s market in Lowertown past 30 buildings, 25 of which are on the National Register of Historic Place.  The tour ended at the oldest commercial building still on its original site in either downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul.  Yes, that same building served as Minnesota’s arsenal from 1865-1880.  Any guess on the current building name?

The tour benefited Fundacion Comunidad www.fundacioncomunidad.org.  Comunidad runs six preschools in Peru, along with supporting 12 scholarship students, and provides approximately 350 daily school lunches.  Melanie Ebertz is one of the non-profit’s founders and the creative genius behind Art Andes www.artandes.com.  Check it out.

Did you guess right?  The building is the Original Coney Island, housed in two buildings, built in 1858 and 1884, and the smaller of the two buildings is the oldest.

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Specs – not the eyewear variety but just as eye-opening.

September 18th, 2013

by Rosemary McMonigal FAIA, LEED AP, CID

AIAMN Specs Seminar

Rosemary recently presented a seminar on Residential Specifications at AIA Minnesota with colleagues Paul Hannan, Mark Larson and Tan Nguyen.  Specifications are the technical language that architects use to communicate details on a project.

Everyone thinks that architects only do drawings, but specifications are the other part of any project.  For example, drawings show the quantity – you can count the number of doors on the drawings.  What exactly are the doors?  Specifications show the quality.  For instance, are the doors wood or metal or fiberglass, how many coats of varnish or paint, what type of hardware, the manufacturer and model number, type of glass, frame, thresholds, etc.  Specifications are the written description of the materials, products, standards and workmanship used to construct a building.  Together with the drawings, specifications form what the industry refers to as the Contract Documents for construction.

We are passionate about the vision of our designs.  We prepare carefully detailed drawings and specifications so that the construction team can turn that vision into reality.

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Architect of Distinction Award

April 18th, 2013

by Nick Dellwo

In case you hadn’t heard, Rosemary McMonigal has been honored by the American Institute of Architects Minnesota (AIA-MN) and Midwest Home Magazine with the “Architect of Distinction” award.  Once each year this award recognizes one architect for outstanding professional achievement and design excellence.  Of course, Rosemary is humbled by this honor and we as an office are all the more happy for her.  That said, I must admit that from my point of view, it was only a matter of time.

The Architect of Distinction is awarded to the best, most talented and most respected architects.  After more than 30 years in the profession, Rosemary has earned it.  I have not known another architect with so much design creativity, professional integrity and down to earth sensibility as Rosemary.  On top of that, she works harder than the Energizer Bunny.  It’s strangely refreshing to hear her admit that she’s actually a little tired at the end of a week.  Beyond all of this, her endless passion for service to the community and to the architectural profession sets her apart.

Maintaining a work-life balance is also very important to Rosemary.  It’s a big part of the reason why she is so successful.  She relates to people on their level, where they are and wherever they’re going.  Design for Rosemary is collaborating with people to create architecture that enhances their lives.  No wonder so many clients continue to be her life long friends.  If you haven’t gotten to know Rosemary yet, perhaps you should.

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Taking a ride with Recovery Bike Shop and NEIC!

March 29th, 2013

by Phil Hofstad, Associate AIA

NEIC Proposed

NEIC Existing

Northeast Investment Cooperative, (NEIC) is a new cooperative whose goal is to improve the quality of commercial and residential properties in NE Minneapolis. Its first venture is to rehabilitate and lease a large commercial property at 2506 Central Avenue NE. Recovery Bike Shop, a bike repair and resale business plans to move into the adjacent 2504 Central building later this spring. McMonigal Architects is thrilled to partner with NEIC and Recovery Bike Shop in this project.

Both existing hundred-year-old buildings have seen better days. As NEIC board member Chris Bubser says, “the buildings have nothing but potential”. Our design challenge has been to transform two bland but distinct facades- one mostly brick, the other mostly metal- into one energized, unified whole.

The existing large corrugated metal facade at 2506 Central has become a symbol for NEIC’s cost-conscious investment strategy: “How do we make an asset out of a liability?” Rather than completely remove the siding to expose a low, non-descript building, we chose to celebrate the industrial aesthetic by cutting out portions of the metal to expose the structural bracing, brick, and sky beyond.  This approach limits the amount of material to be removed and transforms the existing metal siding into an attention-grabbing billboard.

In a newly rehabbed commercial property on a busy street, the businesses will need to attract attention yet visually fit into the existing neighborhood fabric. This conceptual design does both. Along with NEIC and Recovery Bike Shop, we are eager to “get the project rolling”. Visit NEIC and hop on the journey with us!

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Universal Appeal

March 14th, 2013

by Nick Dellwo

Accessible Home

Setting our record for the most published project is  ….drumroll, please…. the Gasterland house.

Barb and Hans’ house was just published in the book “The Accessible Home” by Deborah Pierce.  Previous books that profiled their house include “Universal Design for the Home,” by Wendy A. Jordan, “The Simple Home” by Sarah Nettleton, and “Dream Homes Minnesota.”

Six other publications have also profiled their amazing story.  Barb occasionally uses a wheelchair while coping with a degenerative-joint disease and may use it more in the future.  She spent two years testing products proposed for use in the house, under her doctor’s guidance and our assistance, to determine her chemical sensitivity.

The house and site are accessible throughout, and the design allows for future adaptations as needs change.  Since Barb and Hans have a 17-inch height difference, areas throughout the home have been customized for specific use by each of them.

Barb is a master gardener and beautiful raised beds have been integrated with the architecture.  We collected and directed all of the roof water into gardens around the house.  The gardens are shared with their flock of chickens which keep an eco-balance in the yard and produce eggs on site!  View more photos

 

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Skylark Wins National Award

January 28th, 2013

by Rosemary McMonigal FAIA, LEED AP, CID

Skylark Night

American Dry Cleaner Magazine recently named Skylark Dry Cleaning the best new dry cleaning Plant-On-Premises in the United States for 2012. The magazine cited several unique aspects of Skylark’s new store, including a 24-hour locker kiosk and multiple green cleaning systems (Liquid CO2, Greenearth, and Professional Wet Cleaning).

We are very proud of this honor given the many unique challenges faced in converting a vacant, former auto parts store to a state-of-the-art dry cleaning plant and store.  The architecture creates a clean, fresh, colorful and modern environment that reflects Skylark’s process and vision.

Check out the award article on the American Dry Cleaner website.  View more photos of the Skylark facility.  Or even better, come see the real thing at 1530 – 7th Street West in St. Paul.  Skylark loves to give tours!

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