Baker Center Building
Repositioning an art deco classic.
Designed in 1926 as a terminal for streetcars, Baker Center in downtown Minneapolis has, in many ways, stood the test of time. It’s original art déco décor remains distinctly unique and beautiful. But the largely untouched one-million square foot office buildings weren’t working for today’s workers. The footprints were complicated and disconnected. In-demand amenities were missing and the entire property lacked light and energy.
Knowing the location and skyway connections were critical, the owner’s set out to revitalize Baker Center to attract new tenants. The design team outlined a renovation that honored history while catering to today’s mobile worker.
Major moves include a new arrival sequence with multi-story lobby. A wall of glass welcomes natural light while providing a connection to the busy intersection. The largest media wall in the Twin Cities is visible from outside, presenting a re-branded and re-energized urban icon. Original building materials – marbled stone, terrazzo flooring, ornate laced paneling – are mixed with new metals and natural wood to celebrate classic art déco patterns. Comfortable seating lounges with lush, velvet furniture compliment the updated corridor finishes, welcoming mobile workers to plug-in or unplug. Off the main lobby is a new valet lounge, extending the design experience to the parking ramp while providing a unique amenity.
The design concept continues in the workplace. Past and future merge throughout the floor with a mix of bold color and original natural materials. Surprising, tucked away window seats provide workers interesting views to downtown. Variety, flexibility, and fun were key design guidelines.
Perhaps the crowning jewel is the rooftop deck. Uniquely situated in the heart of downtown, the outdoor room is a respite surrounded by history. Stemming off the designated amenity floor with conference centers and fitness studio, the rooftop is already an in-demand location for hosting large meetings and events.
Award: 2018 Finalist, MREJ Awards, Redevelopment/Reuse/Historic (Non-Housing) Category
For a look at our design process, view the animated tour here.