David Serrano Named MREJ Architect of the Year
Award Winner Announced Apr 2019 (Award Finalist Announced Mar 2019)
The proverbial ball started rolling in 2016 when Mayo Clinic Square opened. Our extreme make-over of the ugliest, most dysfunctional building in downtown Minneapolis was heralded as a success. The project established David Serrano, AIA, Principal at RSP, as a smart design partner for brokers and developers desiring dramatic, yet cost effective, change. Serrano is not only a talented architect, but he gets the business side of multi-tenant buildings. He knows how to balance the desires of tenants with the ROI of owners.
The range of his work is impressive, as is his vision for each unique building. He’s capable of seeing past dilapidated structure and dark, dated floor plates. With a flair for corporate renovation projects, Serrano has developed a successful, chaptered approach to solving these niche opportunities. When asked of the synergies that have been established across his experience on multiple renovation projects, he notes “one of the things that I have learned, working on projects like these, is there are three major stages on how you approach (a renovation). The biggest problem to start with is the organizational issue. How do you make the building legible? The next thing we talk about are amenities; we have to have these things to be a player in this market. And my third step then is materializations. How do you wrap those things into the vibe and the story (of the building)?”
The approach has proven successful. In the past year, Serrano has led the repositioning efforts of nine major Twin Cities projects:
- Baker Center: a four-building reposition that re-activated the street and skyway in one of the most heavily commuted corners of downtown, while also creating one of the best rooftop patios
- Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest: revived a historic building in the heart of the Midway to serve thousands of local school kids annually
- The 15 Building: an edgy rebrand that translated the energy and attitude of the famous Bob Dylan mural on the outside, to the inside of the building
- West End Office Center: proved a suburban building can compete with the draw of downtown properties in today’s suburban-to-urban migration
- The BLOC: refreshing and re-branding a highly-visible suburban office with a focused return on multi-tenant occupancy rates
- Ridgeview Office Building: offering a clean slate to highlight potential and reimagining the user experience from arrival to workstation
- The Andrus: authentically rebranding a key corner along Nicollet Mall with a nod to the building’s founding history
- Carlson 701 Towers: a multi-million-dollar upgrade to the 30-year old office tower, opening a once private headquarters to multiple tenants
- Crown Frost: reimagining and re-branding three creative office buildings in the developing Northeast Arts District
The through line throughout his work is respect. Respect for the original structure. Respect for the relationships built with multiple stakeholders during complex projects. And respect for the individuals who work in the spaces he creates. For his respect and reinvestment in the Twin Cities skylines, we are proud of David Serrano’s recognition as the 2019 MREJ Architect of the Year.