Friday, April 1, 2011

A tail of two cities

Someone once described to me the difference between Minneapolis and St Paul, the twin cities on opposite sides of the Mississippi River, as the difference between the last city in the east (St Paul) and the first city in the west (Minneapolis).

It's not quite accurate -- I would argue that Atlanta is further "west" than San Francisco -- but it does capture the different vibe in each city.

As part of Dempsey's continuing architecture tour, we've taken him to two city symbols: The St Paul central library and the Minneapolis central library.

The St Paul library is a Renaissance revival building designed by Electus Litchfield. You can guess, since parents don't name their kids "Electus" anymore, that it's an older building -- and it is, built in 1917. It's an old building, designed to look even older.

The Minneapolis library, in contrast, is much newer, built in 2006 by "starchitect" Cesar Pelli. Where St Paul's library looks back, the Minneapolis library is decidedly modern, all steel and glass, with "green" features like a rooftop garden.

In the Twin Cities, most people are either Minneapolis people or St Paul people, rarely venturing to the other city. Dempsey, however, is truly a tail of two cities, a cosmopolitan little dog who's equally comfortable in either town.

We thought Dempsey might be afraid of the creaky old elevator at the St Paul Library, or the high walkways with glass windows in the Minneapolis Library, but he was perfectly fine with both. Such a brave little boy!

No comments:

Post a Comment