Thursday, September 18, 2008

35W Bridge: It's Ready

Taken four hours before its opening. I'll never be a fan of urban freeways, but it's good to have it back.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ralph Rapson, Dead at 93

Ralph Rapson, architect of Riverside Plaza and the original Guthrie, passed away over the weekend at the age of 93.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Central Corridor is a Go!

The Central Corridor light rail line finally got the thumbs-up from the Met Council today, although the plan approved lacks niceties like a tunnel under the U of M. (That lack of tunnel may mean trains running right down the middle of, uh, Washington Avenue on the East Bank. Great work, guys.)

One paragraph in the Strib story pretty much sums up why the plan was approved as it was:
"This probably isn't the best line that we can build," said Council Member Tony Pistilli of Brooklyn Park. "But in reality it's probably the best line that can be built."
It's good the line will be getting built, of course, but it's sad that we have to compromise on the design of such a long-term asset to the Twin Cities. Utility and cost are critical, but a little inspiration would be nice, too.


If you're curious as to what the hell is the Cost Effectiveness Rating, here's your answer (warning: PDF). Not everyone likes it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More About the Bridge

With all the news going around today about the National Transportation Safety Board safety recommendation stemming from the 35W bridge collapse, it seemed to makes sense to link to the recommendation itself. At five pages, it's fairly short and to the point, and overall a remarkably easy read.

While the larger investigation is ongoing and "no determination of probable cause has been reached," the recommendation strongly suggests poorly-designed gusset plates--gusset plates surprisingly undersized for the role they played in holding the bridge together--likely played a significant role in the bridge's collapse. The recommendation also gives some somewhat discouraging explanations as to why the error wasn't caught before the bridge was built, why engineers working on subsequent modifications to the bridge didn't recognize the size of some of the gusset plates as an issue, and why regular inspections didn't bring the problem to light.

From my completely civilian understanding of this, once the bridge was going up, its design wasn't questioned. That makes sense when you think about it, especially considering the considerable resources that would be required to add regular reviews of the designs of bridges and other infrastructure to the top of the inspections and other work that's already done. It just wouldn't be practical. Still, it's kind of unsettling to think that while the 35W bridge may not have been doomed to collapse, once its designs were finalized and approved, it might as well have been.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Walker Art Center on 2007 Minnesota Architecture

Andrew Blauvelt, Design Director and Curator at the Walker, has put together his list of Minnesota Design and Architecture Highlights for 2007. He, uh, included his own home on the list.

(Via MNspeak.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Hi! I'm going to make an active effort not to ignore this space next year.