Walker Art Center

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Press Releases Walker Art Center Design Director Andrew Blauvelt Assumes New Title of Design Director and Curator

Blauvelt Launching New Design Series and Curating Exhibition on Contemporary Prefabricated Houses

Andrew Blauvelt, the Walker Art Center’s Design Director since 1998, has been named Design Director and Curator, effective immediately, to reflect his role in curating design and architecture exhibitions and developing related public programs. In his role as Design Director, Blauvelt provides creative leadership for the Walker’s design studio—the recipient of more than 80 design awards over the past decade recognizing the institution’s graphic communications. As curator, he is organizing the exhibition Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses, on view at the Walker December 11, 2005–March 26, 2006, and coordinating a new series, Drawn Here: Contemporary Design in Conversation, focused on the local design scene, which launches in September on Target Free Thursday Nights with Minneapolis-based architect Julie Snow.

The work of the Walker’s in-house design studio has been exhibited and published worldwide. Its work was the subject of an exhibition at the Design Museum, London in 2002. The studio was nominated for the prestigious Chrysler Award for Design Innovation and a National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, in 2001. Its recent Walker without Walls identity and marketing campaign won both state and national 2005 American Institute of Graphic Arts awards and a Design Distinction Award as part of I.D. magazine’s 2005 Annual Design Review. Blauvelt was recently selected as one of the “100 most significant” graphic designers in Area, a curated international survey of contemporary graphic designers published by Phaidon Press, Ltd. (2004).

In conjunction with the Walker’s building expansion, Blauvelt oversaw the creation of Walker Expanded, an innovative new graphic identity that uses font creation technology to generate branding applications from business cards to environmental-scale graphics, and the opening campaign for the new expansion; led the experience planning team for the new Walker’s public spaces; and collaborated with Lisa Strausfeld of Pentagram, New York, on the creation of a dynamic marquee, which is projected onto a 60-foot-long portion of the building’s etched glass wall along Hennepin Avenue.

In 2000 Blauvelt curated the exhibition Ideas for Modern Living as part of The Home Show, which examined the Idea House Project and the Everyday Art Gallery, two innovative design projects initiated by the Walker Art Center in the 1940s. His traveling exhibition Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life premiered at the Walker in 2003 and has toured to several venues in the United States and Europe.

Since 1998 he has helped organize public programs on design and architecture at the Walker Art Center. Working with the American Institute of Graphic Arts Minnesota, he has organized its long-running Insights lecture series, which brings designers of international stature to the Twin Cities. He has also worked with the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department and American Institute of Architects Minnesota to host presentations by some of most innovative architects and landscape architects.

Prior to the Walker, Blauvelt taught design at several colleges and universities. He was Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the School of Design, North Carolina State University, where he helped develop its top-ranked graduate program and later served as department head. He also served as interim chair of the design department at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Blauvelt has been a visiting professor in the graduate programs of the Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota; and the University of the Americas, Puebla, Mexico.

Blauvelt was named Educator of the Year by the Graphic Design Education Association in 1995. He has served on the national board of directors of the American Center for Design.

Blauvelt holds an MFA in design from Cranbrook Academy of Art (1988) and a BFA from the Herron School of Art, Indiana University (1986).


Target Free Thursday Nights launches a new series of conversations with Minnesota-based architects and designers. Exploring the depth and breadth of the state’s acclaimed design community, Drawn Here will host some of the innovative talent and progressive thinking making the local design scene one of the most vibrant and talked about in the country. Conceived as a lively public forum for debate and discussion, this series of dialogues is intended to be an active exchange of ideas among the host, guest, and audience.

Julie Snow, Julie Snow Architects

Thursday, September 8, 7 pm
Free, but ticket is required (612.375.7600)

Blauvelt and Snow discuss her firm’s work and its relationship to both the local and national architectural scene. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Snow is known for her refined sense of materials, elegant detailing, and multidisciplinary curiosity. Her work ranges from industrial facilities and cultural institutions to private residences and even a dog collar. Fresh from the critical acclaim of the new Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, which involved an adaptive reuse of a former church on Diamond Lake Road, the firm is at work on several other projects, including a new entry commons for Breck School, a U.S. border station in Warroad, Minnesota, and a renovation strategy for the Soap Factory, an artists’ space in Southeast Minneapolis. Past projects include designs for light-rail stations in Minneapolis, the Humboldt Lofts and Park Avenue Lofts along the Mississippi riverfront, and the Koehler Residence, a double-glass box dwelling in New Brunswick, Canada. Julie Snow Architects recently named Connie Lindor and Linda Morrissey as partners in the firm and saw the publication of its eponymous monograph by Princeton Architectural Press. A book-signing follows the presentation.

James Dayton in Conversation with Thomas Fisher

Thursday, October 6, 7 pm
Free, but ticket is required (612.375.7600)
William and Nadine McGuire Theater

The recent unveiling of the new design for the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis’ Mill District as well as a new adjacent residential building are but the latest works reshaping one of the city’s fastest growing and most exciting neighborhoods. As a recipient of a 2005 Young Architects Award from the AIA Minnesota, James Dayton has earned a reputation for innovative architecture, which combines an inventive palette of industrial materials in a collage of complex forms. Returning to Minneapolis to open his own studio in 1997, after five years working in the office of Frank Gehry on projects such as the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Dayton soon received important commissions such as the Minnetonka Center for the Arts in Wayzata and a competition-winning project for the St. Paul waterfront. His office, located in the warehouse district of Minneapolis, serves as a convenient location for several other projects next door—the completed conversion of the 1916 Bookmen building into residences and the neighboring Bookmen Stacks, a new multistory tower of glass, concrete, and zinc. Join James Dayton and Thomas Fisher, Dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota, for a stimulating discussion about how one design office is reshaping the architectural language of the Twin Cities.

The ongoing Drawn Here series will be presented periodically throughout the year. The series is supported by Target.

Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses

December 11, 2005–March 26, 2006

The last few years have seen a surge of interest in prefabricated or modular architecture, spurred, in part, by innovative proposals by architects and designers. Using the latest technologies and innovations in building systems and mass customization strategies, this new era of “prefab” is changing long-held preconceptions that such houses are cheap, shoddy, and homogenous.

The exhibition Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses features approximately eight recent residential designs that have been built, turning the dream of a modern home into a reality. Decidedly contemporary in style, these new houses reflect a range of approaches, from a kit of parts for self-assembly and factory-built structures that are delivered whole to customized modules that are combined in different ways and assembled on site.

On view will be photographic murals; drawings and assembly diagrams; interactive media, animations, and video clips; material samples; and three-dimensional scale models. In addition, a full-scale house is planned.

Andrew Blauvelt

Photo courtesy Walker Art Center