Minnesota Architecture: Gold Medal Flour

Today’s nomination for the Minnesota Architecture series actually brings together two buildings in one photograph. Look closely; at first the image may appear to be an abstract painting, but it’s not.


Gold Medal Flour

Photograph by Todd Donery

Here’s photographer Todd Donery’s nomination:

This is a photograph I took last fall of the Gold Medal Flour building reflected into Jean Nouvel’s Guthrie Theater. My wife and I held our wedding at the Guthrie last July, so it is a special place to us both. The mill area of downtown Minneapolis was a mysterious playground of my youth. I felt a sadness at it’s decay through the years and now to see a revitalization in the area brings me much joy.

I love the juxtaposition of old and new in Donery’s photograph. FYI, the Gold Medal Flour sign sits atop the grain elevators of the Washburn A Mill Complex. Here’s what the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota has to say about the complex:

Built in 1878, the Washburn “A” Mill housed a thriving flour-milling business until the Great Depression. The building sat vacant along the Minneapolis riverfront for six decades until it was nearly destroyed by fire in 1991. Today it stands as a remarkable adaptive reuse as home to the Mill City Museum, which provides hands-on experiences and an interpretive center focused on the city’s milling and lumber industries. The architectural firm of Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Ltd. designed the project for the Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Center and is an office tenant in the complex. Today the neighborhood surrounding the “A” Mill is a burgeoning center for the arts and residential development.

Thanks to Todd Donery for his nomination. Do you have a beloved Minnesota building you’d like to nominate? Just send along a photo with a few lines explaining why you like it so much to mcombs@mpr.org.

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