Minnesota Architecture: Ralph Rapson’s Riverside Plaza

Today’s selection for our series celebrating Minnesota Architecture is a building complex that has typically drawn strong emotions, both positive and negative.


Riverside Plaza

Christian Novak nominates Riverside Plaza, the apartment buildings designed by Ralph Rapson in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Currently the complex is undergoing a $65 million renovation.

I only know a little about the design and architecture. What I love about Riverside Plaza most; it’s this “brutalist“, intriguing, colorful depiction of Le Corbusier’s ideas, providing us with an unadulterated glimpse of Minneapolis. I love the juxtaposition that it was nationally known as the TV “home” to America’s sweetheart, Mary Richards (aka Mary Tyler Moore), yet locally, the “crack stacks” as we so lovingly called them, were vital in renaming Minneapolis, Murderopolis. Now it has taken on a new role in the Twin Cities as a cultural hotspot to dozens of ethnicities, languages, and beliefs. It’s a housing development that I see everyday. I am excited to know that Ralph Rapson’s best work is being revitalized to depict the new tenants. It will be great to see the colors once again pop against the harsh poured concrete.

Thanks to Christian Novak for his nomination. Do you have a building in your town or neighborhood that you particularly admire? Send a photo along with a few lines on why you want to share it to mcombs@mpr.org, and I’ll add it to the series.

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