Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

Acoustic Answers

Posted by

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!!!

Posted by



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

Posted by

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.


Stepping into Glasstec

Posted by

The Rheinturm reflecting on the Stadttor facade, and seen from inside the Stadttor building


Another bienneal event Meteek attended this Fall is Glasstec, the global glass tradeshow in Düsseldorf, Germany. Glasstec covers all aspects of glass, from solar installations and architecture to interior design and jewelry.


What does Meteek find so interesting about glass? Besides the glass office building facade that has become so ubiquitous, architectural glass is associated with industrial material companions, steel and fabric. And what pushes the envelope in material manufacturing and application of one of these materials often brings the other two along.

Interesting architectural uses of materials around Düsseldorf


Architectural glass has advanced the frontier of automated building systems, air exchange, active and passive solar systems, and complex fastening technologies. Glass, steel and fabric together have allowed breakthrough structural designs to emerge, and created the demand for dimensional computer modeling necessary for the structural testing and construction workflows for these designs.

One of the many displays of robotic technology for glass manufacturing and installation


Meteek is keen on innovating systems that work in our climate, and finding new material combinations, structural options and workflow technologies that align with our commitment to energy efficiency and beautiful design.

And we had a blast talking with innovators and manufacturers from all over the world, touring around Düsseldorf and catching up with friends in the glass trade.

New technologies including conductive thinfilm and printed photovoltaic laminates


With Joe, Bhavani, Kirsten and Phillip at La Donna Cannone


IENE – the Infra Eco Network Europe

Posted by

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

Posted by

We had a thrilling weeked in Minneapolis with Tracy Metz and her husband Baptist Brayé. 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!

Posted by

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

Posted by


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.


DuluthTraverse at Clyde Iron

Posted by


COGGS (Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores) hosted a great event at Clyde Iron tonight about the Duluth Traverse trail system.


The meeting was an update on the project, opened by Mayor Ness on a rousing note. COGGS chair Adam Sundberg, Environmental Scientist Kit Grayson, IMBA representative Hansi Johnson and Duluth coordinator of trees, trails, and volunteers Judy Gibbs presented some great information on the background of the project, the current state of funding, state of the environmental assessment process, and a construction schedule for next year. It was a great use of the event space at Clyde Iron, and their huge screen.


The Duluth Traverse is an awesome vison of a all-levels multi-use connecting trail ranging from Jay Cooke State Park to the Lester River. Other bike and multi-use trails will be constructed within the system, and potentially, other municipalities will link in to the system later on.

It is obvious that thousands of hours have gone into brining the project to this point. Nice work to all who have co-created this vision and are bringing it into reality! Can't wait to use it, and assist in maintaining the trail system!

We Know Choo Choo Bob’s Dad

Posted by


Really, we do--Choo Choo Bob's dad is Mitch Heyn, our long-time Crystal cabinetry rep. We have liked working with Crystal through the years because they make good stuff, and they seem to keep wanting to innovate--for the employees who build their cabinets and the customers who buy them.

One of the things Crystal offers is a full line of "green" options--FSC certified woods and all-plywood or solid wood construction. In addition, the plywood they do use has no added urea formaldehyde, and a bonding agent made from mussles and soy that is highly resistent to water.

And we like working with Mitch because he's always got a good spin on things. Which must have rubbed off on the kids--if you don't know who Choo Choo Bob is, check him out here!


And to wrap up an odd string of transportation-related affiliations, we were treated to another classy American vehicle this week when Jay Hanson from Superior Scuba stopped by for some cable and swage work with his Victory motorcycle. Swanky wheels are in style. Jay is gearing up to work with National Geographic up at Isle Royale--safe diving Jay!