Posts Tagged ‘design’

Acoustic Answers

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Since remodeling our old shop space into a gallery, showroom, meeting space and materials library, we have been contending with awful acoustics in our meeting room.

To allow the light from southern skylights to travel throughout the space, the top two feet of the inside walls are glass. This allows light in, creating a cozy space, and allows sound to bounce like crazy, creating a non-cozy echoing cave.


The solution? Look to our friends, the sheep. We found some fabulous "eco-felt" -- undyed, minimally processed wool that is felted and sold in large rolls. We ordered some, adheased it onto plywood panels, and with Andy's simple and miraculous hanging solution, fastened them to the ceiling.


Viola! A cozy, naturally fire retardant, acoustically pleasing result.


Spectacular Event + Front Page!!!

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A spectacular time was had yesterday at the Duluth Futures presentations Clyde Iron Works.

The "Design Duluth" combined Landscape Architecture and Architecture graduate design studio from the Minneapolis campus of the UMN traveled north to present their semester's work to enthusiastic reviews by Mayor Don Ness, city planners, port authority folks and local design professionals.


You can read about it in the Duluth News Tribune, and on the College of Design Blog links below:

Huge thanks to Alex Guiliani at Clyde Iron Works, the College of Design, our own Randy Larson, and the great work by the students!


Some Time to Dream

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This week we reconnected with the Duluth Graduate Design Studio, checking in to see what questions and sites the students are tackling in their final phase of the semester. The course is a combination of graduate Architect and Landscape Architect students looking at opportunities and issues that Duluth is facing now and in the next 20-50 years.


There are 17 project teams. Each team presented their preliminary thinking, choice of site/s and reason for why they are focusing on their chosen issue. Many groups cited the ideas and goals stated in presentations of Mayor Ness and other city and Port officials, making good use of the information they gathered during their survey visit in September.


Projects ranged from stormwater mitigation solutions to environmental and entrepreneurial research to trail systems in the Iron Range.


Bob Bruce came down from Duluth to give feedback to the students, and connect them with folks in Duluth with expertise on the topics and sites they are exploring in their designs. Bob is an architect who has been active in Duluth and the region for 30+ years, with experience ranging from the executive director of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College to head of planning for the City of Duluth.


Bob was excited about the opportunity to see new ideas and hear how the students were thinking about Duluth's future.


"Dealing with emergencies and the day to day is essential, but it's not the only thing. You need to take time to position for the future, and think about what you want it to be," Bob explained. "There has to be some time to dream."


The students will be presenting their design concepts at a public event at Clyde Iron Works on Wednesday, December 12 from Noon - 2:00 pm. Come on by to see and hear what the students are dreaming for Duluth.


Duisburg’s Shifting Landscape

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Famous before completion, Duisburg Nord Landscape Park (Latz+Partner, design 1990) is a stunningly successful example of the repurposing of an industrial site into a multi-functional landscape. We had a chance to tour the park between attending the IENE conference and Glasstec.

Formerly an ironworks plant in the Ruhr area of Germany, the site became a shining example of how a polluted industrial site, or "brownfield," can become home to new human use and ecological opportunities. Once-rare examples like Seattle's Gassworks Park (1975), projects to remediate and repurpose brownfield sites are now too numerous to count.


This shifting of use marks how the location and scale of our industrial processes transform, and who performs the "work" of our current industrial era. Duisburg Nord is still surrounded by active industry, but is also adjacent to freeway and retail expansion.


Minnesota is no stranger to changing industrial markets and scales. From the fur trade to white pine to iron and other minerals to wheat and corn, the landscape and culture have continually re-formed to fit viable and profitable modes of extraction and production.


Below are links to some folks who are imaging and analyzing industrial landscapes. Edward Burtynsky's photographs examine "nature transformed through industry." Landscape architect Kate Orff and photographer Richard Misrach have imaged and visually analyzed Louisiana's chemical corridor in "Petrochemical America."

How, what and where we procure and produce things will continue to evolve. Each change signals an opportunity to adjust and refocus our cultural intentions.



IENE – the Infra Eco Network Europe

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Yes, but what is an IENE, you ask???

IENE is a biennal gathering of folks interested in mitigating the deleterious effects of infrastructure on the habitats we build it in and on.

And what does that mean???

We have built infrastructure--roads, railways, power transmission lines, pipelines--in a way that creates barriers to the daily, seasonal or breeding migration of all sorts of animals, including humans. The most obvious indication of the habitat infringement and fragmentation this creates is roadkill.

In areas without measures to assist in crossing infrastructure barriers, all kinds of animals are squashed daily, and nightly, from beetles, snakes and turtles to deer, herons and bats. Less obviously, some animals stop attempting to cross these barriers, and the resulting land for daily foraging, and for seasonal mating, gets systematically diminished as we build more roads and develop more residential and industrial areas.

This year the IENE conference was held in Potsdam, Germany, and included presentations, posters and field trips. The images below are from a bus trip to view various sites that are part of an ecological network in the state of Brandenburg, including a just-completed wildlife overpass on the A9 with establishing vegetation and motion-activated video cameras powered by solar panels.


Conference attendees include biologists, highway engineers, ecologists, designers and project managers interested in creating robust ecological habitats in the midst of infrastructures that fragment the landscape. Folks came from all over Europe, as well as countries in Asia, South America, and North America, to discuss research, strategies and projects.


Cynthia presented two posters, one on the class she teaches in the Netherlands about water, ecology and infrastructure to emerging professionals, and one about an ongoing documentation of a site where a habitat corridor is planned near Almere, also in the Netherlands.


Meteek hopes to spport and participate in projects that reconnect our fragmented habitats, for other animals and for humans.

There is a complementary biennial conference in North America, ICOET, which was held in Duluth in 2009. At that conference, filmmaker Eric Bendick showed his award-winning documentary "Division Street," on how roads can fragment habitat and featuring projects that are mitigating these effects in Florida, Montana and Canada.

Here is the trailer for Division Street:


Hanging Out with Tracy Metz

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We had a thrilling weeked in Minneapolis with Tracy Metz and her husband Baptist BrayƩ. We toured architectural and cultural highlights and had engaging conversation with some UMN Landscape Architecture faculty.

At the Guthrie Theater, Mill City Museum and Minneapolis Library


Meeting with Vince deBritto and Jamuna Golden, instructors from the UMN Department of Landscape Architecture:


On Monday we sat in on second- and third-year Graduate Design studios from the Landscape Architecture and Architecture programs.

Visiting Matt Tucker's second year Graduate Design studio


and a combined Architecture and Landscape Architecture third year Graduate Design studio


Tracy's lecture Monday evening in Rapson Hall was intriguing and well-attended, with many good questions from a broad audience of students, pracitioners and general community members.


You can view Tracy's lecture here

We observed many conversations and ideas surfacing through Tracy's direct contact with faculty and students, as well as discussion about the broader issues addressed by her talk and book, Sweet&Salt. It was a pleasure to host her visit, and partner with the organizations that made her Minnesota visit possible!


Tracy Metz in Minneapolis!

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Tracy Metz is a writer, cultural critic, US-expat in Amsterdam, Harvard Loeb Fellow, world citizen, engaging and generous person, and a friend of Meteek & Co.

This Monday, October 1 at 6:00 pm in Rapson Hall on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus, Tracy Metz will give a lecture about her book, "Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch." There will be a reception and book signing afterwards.

"Sweet&Salt", co-authored with Maartje van den Huevel and published by NAi, is a combination of inspiring essays and dramatic pieces of art from the history and future of the Dutch relationship to water.Her lecture is part of the "Next Generation of Parks" series supported by the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, ASLA-MN and the Walker Art Center. These partners, along with the University of Minnesota's Landscape Architecture program and Meteek & Co., have gotten together to sponsor Tracy's lecture and visit.

Here are some pages from the book:


Go to the lecture Monday night in Minneapolis, or let someone there know about it who would be interested!


Below are a bunch of links to more information and a book review:


Design Q&A:

Book Review:

Duluth Graduate Design Studio

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How does Duluth create more resilient physical, economic and social infrastructures? What might Duluth need in the next 20, 50 or 100 years? These are a few of the complex questions a group of graduate students from the UMN Minneapolis campus will address this semsester as they use Duluth as their design focus.


We hosted the group of 36 students and three instructors from Landscape Architecture and Architecture during their three-day visit of the city and environs. They toured the landscape and structure of the city, and heard presentations from the Port Authority, city officials including Mayor Don Ness, UMD campus planning, and about the underlying geomorphology of the area.


The students have much to think about for their upcoming analysis of Duluth. This information will then be used in teams on selected projects and sites within Duluth, culminating in design presentations at the end of the semester. We are looking forward to seeing what they create!


Thanks to all the presenters and folks who assisted in organizing the visit. At the City: Mayor Don Ness, Jessica Tillman, Chris Kleist, DyAnn Andybur, Chuck Froseth, Steven Robertson, Pakou Ly. At the Port Authority, Ron Johnson and Adele Yorde. At UMD, John Rashid, John Green, Erik Brown and Christine Strom.


Office-ial Support

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We'd like to introduce our architectural designer Rachel Deatherage. She joined the Meteek team in February, and is the power behind our in-house design, architectural details and  Revit renderings. Rachel earned a BA in Architecture from the University of Minnesota.

Also, our long-time office anchor Vickie Schuler has recently exploded onto the needle-craft scene, designing an unending array of beautiful sweaters and sprinking us with gifts like a miniature Santa Claus.

A bear for Luke


Our official welcome dog Molly